Cisco's UCS: The industry reacts

March 24, 2009 -- The IT world has had about a week to digest, mull and question the ins-and-outs of Cisco's newly announced "game-changer," the Unified Computing System. And the industry certainly has questions for Cisco.

Several competitors are questioning whether Cisco's UCS – the platform that combines compute, network, storage access, and virtualization resources in a single system based on a new line of blade servers developed by Cisco – features a truly open architecture.

Brocade's CEO Mike Klayko made his opinion known yesterday in a video posted to the Brocade YouTube Channel.

Klayko does not believe large enterprise customers will put mission critical applications on a version one product, referring to Cisco's new blade servers.

Brocade has also issued an official statement to the media in response to Cisco's UCS launch. It reads:

"A dynamic and virtualized data center holds the promise of many compelling benefits for end-users including increased server utilization, decrease in power footprint and more efficient operations in general. However, achieving this goal is a complex challenge that can be best tackled by a broad ecosystem of industry partners and not based on a proprietary, singular architecture of one company.

In contrast, Brocade is already helping customers address these challenges by integrating our networking solutions with a range of mature computing, management and storage technologies from some of the strongest companies in the world. These partnerships are leveraging open interfaces/standards, co-developed technology, and products that are available today, which will lower costs and maximize return on investment for customers."

BLADE Network Technologies president and CEO Vikram Mehta also took aim at Cisco in a recent blog entry where he lists 10 reasons why Cisco's Unified Computing strategy is nothing more than a way to lock customers into a proprietary world while locking out vendors like HP and IBM.

Cisco begs to differ. Rob Lloyd, executive vice president designate, Worldwide Operations for Cisco, explained that Cisco has "built an open ecosystem of industry leaders" in support of the UCS even going as far as to refer to UCS supporters as a "dream team of capable partners."

Cisco is collaborating with a wide range of hardware and software vendors to develop systems and applications that work with the platform. Specifically, Cisco is teaming up with technology partners BMC Software, EMC, Emulex, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp, Novell, Oracle, QLogic, Red Hat, and VMware and has expanded strategic relationships with Accenture, CSC, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), and Wipro.

Noticeably absent from the partner list are the server vendors. However, Lloyd told media and analysts in last week's UCS conference call that Cisco does not view the UCS as a blade server.

"The UCS will be shipped and configured as a system. That's why we don't think we're competing on a blade platform, but on a new system form factor," he said.

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posted by: Kevin Komiega

Kevin Komiega, Senior Editor
by Kevin Komiega
Senior Editor

Kevin Komiega has been the Senior Editor of InfoStor since 2005. He was previously a senior news writer with SearchStorage.com and held a position as a public relations account executive with Porter Novelli, Boston. Kevin also spent four years running tape backup operations at the University of Rhode Island's Academic Computer Center. He can be contacted at kkomiega@quinstreet.com.

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