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June 22, 2012updated 19 Aug 2016 9:28am

Is Cisco the sleeping giant of the server market?

Firm gears up for another server push

By Jason Stamper Blog

You don’t automatically think of servers when you hear the name Cisco, but that could be about to change: the firm is set to make more noise in the market as it sees an opportunity to sell servers in greater numbers as part of its Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS).

To that end it recently announced a new partnership with Fusion-io, a next generation storage platform for data centres. Fusion-io becomes a Cisco original equipment manufacturer (OEM), with its Fusion ioMemory to be architected into the Cisco UCS – the companies said this will enhance in-server performance in all UCS B-series blade servers.

"The next wave of enterprise IT will be driven by productivity," said Paul Perez, chief technology officer, Data Center Group at Cisco. "In addition to demanding lower IT costs, customers also require elevated performance and flexibility. Cisco UCS is meeting these customer requirements through an innovative approach to computing systems. We are developing the next generation of fabric computing and customers recognise Fusion-io as a market leader in flash technology for the enterprise."

Cisco says its UCS brings compute, network, storage access, and virtualisation into a cohesive system designed to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) and increase business agility. But with the addition of the ultra low latency ioMemory architected into UCS blade servers, storage performance can be decoupled from capacity thereby accelerating applications.

"Enterprises trust Cisco to provide extremely reliable, innovative solutions that meet their current computing needs while anticipating future growth," said David Flynn, Fusion-io CEO and chairman. "Cisco’s outstanding engineering team will not accept any performance compromises for its blade server customers. Whether information technology professionals need to support enterprise applications or virtualisation, we’re proud to help Cisco deliver on customer expectations of nothing but exceptional technology."

The Fusion-io technology is set to come to market for Cisco UCS some time later this year. But Cisco already has a range of offerings under the UCS banner, including blade servers and their chassis, rack servers and racks, a UCS Express bundle for branch offices and of course a UCS Manager product to monitor, configure and control all of the different elements.

Cisco worked closely with Intel on its servers – on the same day that Intel announced its Xeon processor E5 family, Cisco was able to announce eight new world records on industry benchmarks, taking its total world records for the Cisco UCS to 63. For example, the Cisco UCS C220 M3 Rack Server scored 1,584,567 business operations per second for the SPECjbb2005 benchmark, and the Cisco UCS B200 M3 Blade Server scored 828,729 employees per hour on an Oracle E-business Suite Extra Large Payroll test.

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Cisco UCS is also a component of the firm’s recently-announced Cisco Cloud Connected Solution, which is said to combine cloud-enabled routing and wide area network (WAN) optimisation platforms, along with Cloud Connector software and services, to enable users to securely connect to cloud services.

Praveen Akkiraju, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco Services Routing Technology Group, said at the time of the announcement earlier this month: "As businesses are driving the rapid adoption of cloud based services, routing platforms and the WAN have become a strategic control point to provide an optimal user experience across the cloud. The Cisco Cloud Connected Solution redefines the WAN architecture with key innovations that leverage the network intelligence as a critical link in cloud deployments by putting more functionality into traditional enterprise routing, allowing customers to connect to the cloud with an optimal user experience."

Some of the Cisco UCS line-up:

Cisco UCS


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