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Cisco is adding to the speculation that it is preparing to unveil a new smaller version of its Cisco UCS server architecture with the quiet release of a new server interconnect technology aimed at making it easier to offer smaller configurations than in the past.
With the introduction of the Cisco UCS 6324 Fabric Interconnect, Cisco is reigniting the discussion about the pending release of the Cisco "Mini UCS." As first reported by CRN in June, the Cisco Mini UCS could help the vendor move into the SMB part of the server business for the first time while giving it a base on which to develop its own hyper-converged infrastructure to compete with the likes of Nutanix and SimpliVity.
The Cisco UCS 6324 Fabric Interconnect, which was quietly unveiled online rather than via the typical press fanfare, is a small device that plugs into the back of a Cisco UCS 5108 blade chassis. It provides network connectivity for up to eight Cisco UCS blade servers and seven direct-connect rack servers, giving it a total domain of up to 15 Cisco servers.
This differs from Cisco's current UCS platform, which uses a 4-port or 8-port Cisco UCS 2200 series Fabric Extender, or "FEX" in Cisco's terminology, to provide blade servers in the 5100-series blade chassis with 10-Gbit Ethernet connectivity to the UCS 6100 or UCS 6200 series Fabric Interconnects. Such a solution allows the deployment of multiple servers without the need for additional top-of-rack switches, with a single UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnect supporting up to 160 servers.
The existence of the UCS 6324 was first noticed by bloggers including Justin Paul.
The new Cisco UCS 6324 Fabric Interconnect eliminates the need for separate Fabric Interconnects and FEXs for deployments where a maximum of 15 servers are needed.
That limit of eight blade servers and seven rack-mount servers is the leading reason to dub the Cisco UCS 6324 the "Mini UCS," which is also known as the "UCS Mini."
Cisco, which declined to comment on the Cisco UCS 6324 or on the possibility of a smaller version of its UCS, does not use either term in any of its literature.
NEXT: The UCS 6324 Fabric Interconnect And The Cisco Mini UCS