I have been in Milford MA with my friend and colleague Steve Duplessie of the Enterprise Strategy Group this week working with Steve and his team around a number of key announcements from Cisco on their entry into the Data Center Server market.
There is a lot of information to take in but here is my pennyworth:
Cisco have collapsed the network that usually consist of an edge ethernet and SAN switch in each Blade Module and all storage and network I/O traffic is converged through the Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect. While this technology depends upon Cisco’s proprietary Data Center Ethernet (DCE), it does eliminate the need for a separate Fibre Channel infrastructure. To enhance the virtual server environment, Cisco replaces the VMware virtual switch with its VN-Link—a softswitch of its own. By doing this, Cisco gains visibility to virtual switching within the hypervisors and can thus unify networking policy and management between physical and virtual systems.
Cisco have also understood that most Virtualization solutions are limited by the amount of RAM available and here they have delivered a huge 348 GB of system memory per blade. Brilliant.
Here’s what they haven’t done. Recognized that Virtualization is also limited by disk bandwidth and looked at providing SSD solutions like HP have with their adoption of the Fusion-io product in their blade lineup.
Here is the full text of the Enterprise Strategy Group take on the announcement.