Cisco Adds Entry-Level UCS Server To Portfolio

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Cisco releases a new UCS server for smaller businesses that don’t need to scale to hundreds of blades

Networking giant Cisco Systems has with little fanfare added a new bit of kit to its Unified Computing System (UCS) portfolio of data centre servers.

The new bit of kit, aimed at smaller busineses, is called the “UCS Mini”, and was uncovered by virtualisation consultant Justin Paul in a blog posting.

`Cisco UCS mini SMB serverEntry-Level Server

Cisco first introduced UCS in March 2009, a move that surprised its rivals at the time as it signalled Cisco’s intention to expand beyond its networking heritage and into the world of data centre servers and hardware.

And that decision proved to be a winner, as it enabled Cisco to join the ranks of the world’s leading server vendors as one of the fastest growing server vendors.

And now with very little fanfare, Justin Paul revealed that Cisco has expanded its UCS portfolio to include a server geared towards smaller businesses.

Cisco UCSAccording to Paul, the UCS Mini is pretty much the same as other UCS servers, in that it features the same blades, the same chassis, and the same UCS Manager software (version 3.0). But the units have a more compact design.

A traditional UCS design is based around a head unit or switch called the Fabric Interconnect. Each server chassis has two I/O modules which connect it to the Fabric Interconnect.There’s lots of room for expansion and, Paul says, a lot of noise.

UCS Mini collapses this, using a smaller Interconnect called the 6324,which can handle up to 15 servers (eight of them as blades, and seven as rackmounts.  “So instead of inserting IO Modules into the chassis you insert the Fabric Interconnects into it and tada… UCS Mini,” says Paul.

Cisco’s reasoning here is that some customers just don’t need to be able to scale to hundreds of blades, but they do want UCS profiles and unified connectivity. Essentially, think of the UCS Mini as an entry-level version of Cisco’s UCS server line for smaller businesses.

Silent Launches

Cisco has a habit of quietly releasing new kit.

Back in February this year, it quietly launched its Unified Computing Systems (UCS) Invicta portfolio of solid-state drive (SSD) systems based on technology inherited through its $415 million (£250m) acquisition of Whiptail in September 2013.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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