Cisco launches UCS rack servers, CNAs

By Kevin Komiega

-- Cisco is diving deeper into the data center with the additions of rack-mount servers, memory extension technology, and a new line of converged network adapters (CNAs) to its Unified Computing System (UCS).

The UCS, announced last March, combines compute, network, storage access, and virtualization resources in a single system based on a line of blade servers developed by Cisco.

Today, Cisco is making the UCS technology available in rack-mount form factors. The new servers, all of which are based on Intel's Xeon 5500 Series multi-core processors, are available in three models – the UCS C250 M1, UCS C210 M1 and UCS C200 M1.

The UCS C250 M1 is a high-performance, memory-intensive, two-socket, 2RU server designed for virtual environments and large workloads. It supports up to 384GB of DDR3 main memory with 48 dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs) and up to eight internal small form factor (SFF) SAS or SATA drives for 4TB of total storage capacity.

The UCS C210 M1 is a general-purpose, two-socket, 2RU server built for storage-intensive workloads such as network file servers and appliances, storage servers, database servers, and content-delivery servers. The C210 M1 has up to 96GB of DDR3 memory with support for 16 internal SFF SAS or SATA drives for a total capacity of up to 8TB.

The UCS C200 M1 is a high-density, two-socket, 1RU server built for production-level network infrastructure, web services, and mainstream data center, branch, and remote-office applications. It features up to 96GB of DDR3 memory and up to four internal SAS or SATA drives for a maximum of 2TB of capacity.

Paul Durzan, director of product management for Cisco's Unified Computing business, says blade servers are gaining in popularity, but there are a significant number of customers that require rack-mount servers in their data centers.

"Blade servers are growing rapidly and account for about 20% of the server market, but rack-mount servers represent a large piece of the market. Customers want the UCS technology, but some want it in a rack-mount form factor," says Durzan.

In addition to the new UCS rack-mount servers, Cisco announced the Virtual Interface Card for UCS B-Series Blade Servers, a homegrown CNA for the UCS platform.

Each Virtual Interface Card can provide up to 128 Ethernet or Fibre Channel virtual Network Interface Card (vNIC) connections in both single-OS and VM-based deployments.

Available in December, the Virtual Interface Cards are priced at $799 each.

There is also a new memory blade available for the UCS platform. The UCS Memory Extension Blade uses Cisco's memory extension technology to more than double the addressable memory of currently available two-socket rack-mount platforms. According to Durzan, additional memory allows for support of more virtual machines per server and the scalability to run large memory applications

The UCS Memory Extension Blade supports up to 384GB of DDR3 memory and costs $7,300.

Related articles:
Cisco enters server fray with Unified Computing System
Cisco's UCS: The industry reacts

This article was originally published on October 09, 2009