Cisco Systems Rolls Out New Rack-Mount Servers for UCS

Since the UCS launch last March, Cisco has provided network-oriented C-Series blade servers for the system. On Oct. 9, the company announced some new form factors for them -- plus a few other additions to the unified computing system.

Cisco Systems went into the data center systems business full time on March 16, 2009, and has been ramping up its R&D and product development ever since. This is all new business for the world's largest Internet-plumbing hardware and software provider.

Cisco has at the center of this initiative its Unified Computing System, which consists of a new data center architecture, new servers, plenty of dense storage, and a new set of management software and services based on Intel's quad-core Nehalem Xeon processors. Cisco partners are providing all hardware and software that isn't in the networking realm-except the main servers, which Cisco itself is making for the first time.

eWEEK Labs does exclusive hands-on tests on Cisco's UCS. See the results here.

Since the UCS launch, Cisco has provided network-oriented C-Series blade servers for this system. On Oct. 9, the company announced some new/old form factors for them-plus 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 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 modules]; 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 need a lot 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, Durzan said.

"In fact, our 144GB machines run about $8,000, and our 192GB units cost about $11,000, 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. The C210 M1 General-Purpose Rack-Mount also becomes available in November at a starting price of $3,039, and the C250 M1 Extended Memory Rack-Mount becomes available in December at a starting price of $10,339, Durzan said.

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

In other Cisco news Oct. 9, the company announced the availability of a new memory extension for UCS blade servers. Cisco said that the extension yields more than twice the addressable memory of currently available two-socket rack-mount platforms, thus providing the ability to support many more virtual machines per server. These become available later in October for $7,300, the company said.

Cisco also introduced a new Virtual Interface Card for UCS B-Series blade servers, which provides adapter consolidation and virtualization optimization capabilities by enabling each virtualized adapter to define up to 128 Ethernet or Fibre Channel connections.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 10 years and more than 3,500 stories at eWEEK, he has distinguished...