Monday, April 5, 2010

Cisco Unveils Second Generation Unified Computing System

Cisco announced several additions to its Data Center 3.0 portfolio, including its second-generation Unified Computing System aimed at accelerating the promise of virtualization while uniting compute, network, storage access, and virtualization resources in a single energy-efficient system. The enhancements are aimed at helping data centers to transition to 10 Gigabit architectures, virtualization, unified fabric solutions, cloud computing and green operations.

Cisco's new two-socket and four-socket server additions offer up to 50 percent more processor cores, 300 percent greater application performance, and four times the standard memory footprint compared to first-generation Cisco Unified Computing System servers. The new servers enable up to four times the bandwidth capacity. The two-socket servers are based on the Intel Xeon 5600 Processor Series, while the four-socket servers will incorporate new Intel Xeon 7500 Processor Series.

Significantly, Cisco's unified design seeks to reduce the management headache of separate computing, storage and networking systems. The company calculates that a Unified architecture requires up to 92 percent fewer points of management than legacy networks.

The company also expanded the Cisco Nexus portfolio with the Nexus 2248 and Nexus 2232 fabric extenders, which feature 10-Gigabit Ethernet capabilities. Cisco is partnering with BMC, CA, HP, Microsoft and VMware to provide integrated solutions with Cisco UCS Manager.

One of the innovations is a new Cisco FEX-link architecture, incorporated into both Cisco Nexus and Cisco Unified Computing System Fabric Extenders, that serves as an open, flexible server access layer supporting any fabric, with 100Mb, 1Gb and 10Gb Ethernet, native Fibre Channel as well as Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE.), InfiniBand over Ethernet, iSCSI and NAS. Cisco FEX-link simplifies management and is currently supported on the Cisco Unified Computing System and Cisco Nexus 5000 Series, with availability soon on the Nexus 7000 Series switches. In addition, FEX-link architecture will enable the Cisco Unified Computing System to offer up to 160Gb of bandwidth per blade in the coming year.

Cisco noted that over 400 enterprise and service provider customers have adopted its Unified Computing System since it began shipping in July 2009.

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