Cisco Systems officials in a Webcast seek to highlight the innovations behind the Cisco Unified Computing System initiative as a way of separating Cisco's unified data center platform from those of competitors such as Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard. The Webcast also addresses criticism from Sun and HP that the UCS doesn't scale, is expensive, and is a closed and proprietary system. The event comes just days after Sun introduced its own Open Network Systems initiative, and while HP is looking to broaden its Adaptive Infrastructure offering.
With competition rapidly increasing in the unified data center space, Cisco
officials are trying to separate Cisco's offerings from those of its rivals
and answer criticisms about Cisco's Unified Computing System platform.
During an hour-long Webcast April 16, two Cisco executives outlined the
innovation and cost savings that have gone into the UCS
Soni Jiandani, vice president of marketing for Cisco's Server
Access and Virtualization Group, and David Lawler, product marketing manager for
the same business unit, pushed aside rivals' assertions that the Cisco plan is
too expensive, doesn't scale and requires a drastic overhaul of the data
"The system does scale," Lawler said at one point during the
event. "That was the way this was architected from Day One."
Earlier in the day, Cisco announced that it was partnering with NetApp
offer solutions based on the UCS and NetApp's Unified Storage Architecture.
Top technology vendors, including Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and Sun
designed to unify the disparate server, storage and
networking tiers in traditional data centers as businesses look for greater
agility and cost efficiency from their computing facilities. Fueling much of
the trend is the increased use of virtualization technology, which can help cut
some costs but also adds complexity to the data center environment.
Cisco March 16 rolled out its UCS plan, which centered around its own
branded blade servers powered by Intel's new Xeon 5500 series chips, aka "Nehalem
EP," innovations that the company has introduced, and partnerships with
the likes of VMware, EMC, Intel and QLogic.
Jiandani said Cisco's ideas for UCS were driven in large part by the demands
of customers, who were looking for ways to improve data center
performance-including the ability to scale-while reducing expenses.
"We wanted to embrace innovation while driving down costs," she
Key to the Cisco innovations was the creation of the Cisco Memory Extension
technology, which works with the new Intel "Nehalem" architecture to
optimize memory capabilities within blade servers, which is important in
virtualized environments, Lawler said. A problem was that while the CPUs were
increasing in power, memory was not keeping up, which limited performance
"Customers were telling us they were running out of memory before they
were running out of CPU [capacity]," he said. "They were
underutilizing the CPU. Intel had gone from a single core to quad-cores in four
years, but the memory was not keeping up."