Cisco Readies Rack-mounted Servers For UCS


Cisco’s entry to the blade server market back in March raised a few eyebrows from traditional server providers, but the networking giant has now unveiled some new additions and pricing details for its rack-mounted servers.

Cisco’s move into the blade server arena earlier this year with its Unified Computing System (UCS) may have been questioned by established server makers, but the company has clearly signalled its intent after revealing some new additions and pricing details for its rack-mounted systems.

Cisco first announced its rack servers back in June as an alternative to its blade systems, as it sought to ramp up its attack on the data centre systems business. The networking giant has been ramping up its R&D and product development ever since.

The heart of Cisco’s data centre initiative is its Unified Computing System, which consists of a new data centre architecture, new servers, plenty of dense storage, and a new set of management software and services. Cisco partners are providing all the hardware and software that isn’t in the networking realm – except the main servers, which Cisco itself is making for the first time.

Since the UCS launch back in March, Cisco has provided network-oriented C-Series blade servers for this system. And now the company has announced some new/old form factors for them, as well as a few other additions to the unified computing system.

By rebuilding the servers into a standard rack-mount form, Cisco hopes to attract more new customers who prefer to deploy that type of a machine.

“The three new rack-mounts are the C200, C210 and C250,” said Cisco’s Director of Hardware Platform Marketing, Paul Durzan. “The C200 and C210 are your basic all-purpose servers for this new system. The C200 is a 1U server with 12 DIMMs [dual inline memory module], C210 is a 2U with 12 DIMMs and 16 disk drives.”

The C200 is designed for high-density, high-transaction applications, and the C210 is aimed more at users who needs lots of storage, Durzan said.

“The cool thing about the C250 for tech people is that most 2U, two-socket servers have 18 DIMMs and they are 28 to 29 inches deep; we’ve managed to get 48 DIMMs in a 2U, 28-inch-deep form factor,” Durzan said.

That’s a lot more memory power in the bank, to be sure. “It’s very amazing, very dense – up to 384GB of memory in a 2U server,” Durzan said.

Most two-socket servers from other providers have 144GB of memory, and they cost around $30,000 (£18,800), Durzan said.

“In fact, our 144GB machines run about $8,000 (£5,022), and our 192GB units cost about $11,000 (£6,905), so we’re pretty serious about bringing the pricing down,” Durzan said.

The new C200 High-Density rack-mount server will be ready for general distribution in November, and pricing starts $2,589 (£1,625). The C210 M1 General-Purpose Rack-Mount also becomes available in November at a starting price of $3,039 (£1,907), and the C250 M1 Extended Memory Rack-Mount becomes available in December at a starting price of $10,339 (£6,490), Durzan said.

The high-end 384GB C250, with all that extra memory for high-transaction applications, will cost about $60,000 (£37,670), Durzan said.

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