Cisco UCS Five Years Later: Partners Still Seeing 'Tremendous Growth'

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Five years after the launch of Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS), Cisco and its partners say the growth they see around the converged infrastructure system is showing no signs of slowing down.

"The growth around UCS has really been tremendous," said Waheed Choudhry, president and chief operating offer of Nexus IS, a Valencia, Calif.-based Cisco Gold partner. "The appetite of customers for that unified architecture, and how UCS fits into that architecture, is really great."

Choudhry, who participated in a Cisco UCS partner panel on Monday at the 2014 Cisco Partner Summit in Las Vegas, said the growth Nexus has seen around UCS has been "phenomenal," with sales in 2013 having shot up 60 percent year over year.

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The panel, which also included executives from Cisco partners ECCOM, World Wide Technology and Logicalis, was held in celebration of the five-year anniversary of UCS, which made its debut in March 2009. Cisco also marked UCS' five-year anniversary with the launch of a new line of Nexus data center switches, including the Nexus 9504, Nexus 9516 and Nexus 3164Q for cloud providers.

At the initial launch of UCS, some industry-watchers and Cisco rivals were skeptical of Cisco's ability to compete in the blade server market, where it was a new-comer going head-to-head with incumbents like Hewlett-Packard, Dell and IBM.

"There was Cisco, March, 2009, not just announcing a new router or new switch or a new communications product, but really announcing compute and server in a whole new market space that had very crowded competitors and companies that had been in the compute business for 30, 40 years when you talk about the HPs and IBMs in the world," said Frank Palumbo, senior vice president of data center sales at Cisco.

But, fast forward five years, and Cisco says it's proved it can hold its own. There are currently 30,000 UCS customers around the world, according to San Jose-based networking giant, with more than 75 percent of the Fortune 500 companies having invested in the product. Cisco's UCS business over the past five years has grown to $2.2 billion, and its data center business, in general, grew 10 percent year-over-year in its most recent fiscal quarter.

Market analyst firm IDC also reported last year that Cisco now claims the No. 2 in the x86 blade server market, second only to market leader HP.

NEXT: UCS Growth For Partners

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