More Blades, More Boost: Cisco Unveils UCS Offerings


Cisco Systems Tuesday made a number of product and services additions to its Unified Computing System data center portfolio, including a new blade server and a suite of services aimed at better management of virtual computing environments.

The big one is Unified Network Services (UNS), a suite of data center services designed to run in physical or virtual form factors. The first two releases under the UNS banner are the Virtual Security Gateway (VSG), a virtual appliance deployed on the Nexus 1000V and intended for assigning security policy across virtual LANs, and Virtual Wide Area Application Services (vWAAS), a virtual instance of Cisco's WAN optimization offering that runs on VMware ESX/ESXi hypervisors and Cisco's Unified Computing System, or UCS.

Both will be available in the fourth quarter and, according to Cisco, extend the networking titan's vision of making data center architecture as flexible as possible.

"What's unique about our approach to the data center is that you can take all this infrastructure and turn it on a dime," said Omar Sultan, senior solution manager for Cisco's Data Center Solutions Team. "We continue to have this opposable infrastructure that we can manipulate purely through software."

Elsewhere in the bolstered data center portfolio are new Nexus products: the Nexus 5548, which is a 1 RU, 48-port switch; the Nexus Fabric Extender 2224TP, which combines with the Nexus 5000 or Nexus 7000 to vary the options for connectivity; and the Catalyst 6513-E chassis, which includes over 2 Terabit switching capacity; and Cisco's EnergyWise 2.0 and TrustSec baked into its Catalyst 4900 software. Availability is October, according to Cisco.

"Some of our competitors are still working on the first generation of their converged platform," said Kash Shaikh, senior manager, market management for data center switching, at Cisco. "We're already introducing the next generation of the series."

Next is a new blade server, the UCS B230 M1 Blade. It's an Intel Xeon 6500/7500-based system, and it brings the number of server offerings in Cisco's UCS and data center portfolio, including B-series and C-series servers, to eight.

"We fulfilled our promise to have a fully articulated variety of form factors," said Todd Brannon, senior manager of data center product marketing at Cisco.

Cisco has seen increasing interest in UCS development through the partners in its Cisco Developer Network, including some 40 ISVs that have embraced the UCS platform within the past year, Brannon said.

Among newer initiatives from the UCS team, Brannon noted, is a "developers sandbox," which can stage a UCS test environment for developers to use, allowing them to essentially trial-and-error their application development on a "test" UCS.

Finally, Cisco has added a number of new professional and technical services, including Cisco Desktop Virtualization Services, to go hand-in-hand with the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) platform it announced with Citrix earlier this month, and the expansion of Unified Compute Services to include more application performance and validation testing.

 

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