Cisco Systems entered the data center systems business eight years ago when it added the UCS (unified computing system) line of servers and storage to go with its frontline networking, telephony and telepresence products.
It’s fair to say that the UCS has been a highly successful example of the pre-configured, pre-tested server genre, because it’s now in its fifth generation and has sold more than 60,000 systems worldwide.
On July 11, Cisco unveiled the latest lineup with the Cisco UCS M5 series.
The M5s are built on Intel’s new Xeon Scalable processors and capable of doubling the memory capacity of previous systems, the company said. Cisco’s lab testing revealed that UCS M5 servers deliver up to 86 percent higher performance over the previous generation of UCS–a good thing for businesses with data-intensive workloads, such as real-time analytics and in-memory computing.
The M5 generation servers include:
- B200 M5 Blade Server: This is a fundamental data center workhorse in a half-width blade form factor, the B200 delivers performance, versatility and density for traditional multi-tier or distributed applications. It leads the industry in GPU density on general purpose half-width blade servers with support for up to two GPUs, Cisco said.
- B480 M5 Blade Server: This is aimed at workloads ranging from memory-intensive, mission-critical enterprise applications to distributed database virtualized workloads.
- C220 M5 Rack Server: This is among the most versatile general-purpose enterprise infrastructure and application servers in the industry, Cisco claims. This high-density 2-socket rack server works for a wide range of workloads, including virtualization, collaboration and bare-metal applications.
- C240 M5 Rack Server: This is a storage and I/O optimized enterprise-class rack server for big data analytics, software-defined storage and bare metal applications.
- C480 M5 Rack Server: This features an innovative modular architecture for flexible technology refreshes, the C480 delivers scale-up extensibility for in-memory databases, big data analytics, virtualization, VDI and bare metal applications. GPU support has tripled—with up to six supported—as has disk capacity, which now supports 32 drives.
Additions to Cisco’s Enterprise Cloud Suite
Cisco on July 11 also released some software to go with the UCS systems. With UCS Director 6.5 and the addition of Cisco Workload Optimization Manager, customers can deploy a multi-cloud strategy while driving more efficiency in on-premises IT.
- UCS Director 6.5 allows data center professionals to complete 80% of operational tasks from a single console. This release extends automation capabilities beyond infrastructure by automating native PowerShell functions, virtual machine mobility across vCenter data centers and support for VMware VMRC console. It also includes automation improvements for FlexPod, Cisco HyperFlex™, and added support for the UCS M5 series and UCS S-Series servers.
- Workload Optimization Manager uses intent-based analytics to continuously match workload demand to infrastructure supply across on premise and multi-cloud environments. The deep integration with Cisco UCS chassis, blades, IO modules and fabric interconnect enables customers to lower costs by recovering idle or stranded resources while optimizing their compute resources for virtualized and cloud environments.
The latest release of Cisco UCS Director 6.5 also includes integration with Workload Optimization Manager, which enables the automatic creation of a new virtual machine or configuration of a physical server by UCS Director. Workload Optimization Manager then reallocates resources to ensure application performance and cost efficiency.
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