‘Game-Changing’ Cisco UCS X-Series Revealed As Vendor Targets Hybrid Cloud

‘[Cisco UCS X-Series] has orchestration capabilities, it has monitoring capabilities, it has AI and [machine-learning] functionalities built in, which do some predictive analysis. … Overall, this is a game-changer,’ one Cisco partner tells CRN about the latest addition to the popular data center product line.


Cisco Systems wants to help customers transform their data center operations as they move more resources to the cloud, according to executives and partners.

The tech giant revealed a major update to its Unified Computing System (UCS) for data centers at its Future Cloud virtual event Wednesday, as well as integration with its cloud operations platform, Cisco Intersight.

The new Cisco UCS X-Series has been designed with hybrid data center operations in mind, including across multiple public cloud environments. The new rack and blade systems are ready for the next decade of industry innovation in processors, accelerators and computing interconnects, said Todd Nightingale, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Enterprise Networking and Cloud Business.

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Nightingale told press and analysts that the UCS X-Series marks the first chassis that Cisco has launched in the UCS line in nearly a decade. “We’re really excited because of the integration with Intersight,” he added.

[Related: Cisco Plus Offers ‘Turnkey’ As-A-Service Solutions, Not Pieces, Say Execs]

“Cisco X-Series is actually completely changing the way Cisco architected the chassis itself,” said Sudheesh Subhash, vice president of innovation and emerging technologies for Herndon, Va.-based Cisco partner ePlus.

The X-Series is integrated with Cisco Intersight Cloud Orchestrator, a low-code, automation framework that can simplify complex workflows for IT teams and channel partners so IT operations can easily orchestrate infrastructure and workloads and accelerate delivery of services. It’s also integrated with the Intersight Workload Engine for SaaS management and is built on an open-source Kubernetes and kernel-based virtual machine foundation, according to San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco.

The most exciting thing is the way the management has changed on the UCS architecture, Subhash said. The previous generation of UCS relied on UCS Manager, but now partners and end customers will use Intersight.

“It has orchestration capabilities, it has monitoring capabilities, it has AI and [machine-learning] functionalities built in, which do some predictive analysis. And it does have integration with other tools like ServiceNow,” Subhash said. “Overall, this is a game-changer because the management plane is completely abstracted from the hardware.”

AHEAD, a Chicago-based solution provider and Cisco Gold partner, has been employing the Cisco UCS platform as its go-to primary premises-based data center solution for many of its enterprise customers. The new UCS-X line is a great upgrade option for customers that are focusing on transforming and future-proofing their environments while continuing to invest in the “proven” platform, said Stephen Ayoub, co-founder and president of AHEAD.

“It will certainly provide years of investment protection for our customers, as well as a new technology path to utilize cloud capabilities,” Ayoub said. “With this new announcement, customers and partners can have confidence in the longevity of the road map.”

Cisco also said at its Future Cloud event that Cisco Cloud ACI is now available on Google Cloud Platform, joining Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, with general availability in fall 2021.

Cisco UCS is used in data centers by more than 50,000 customers worldwide today, according to the company.