Cisco updates UCS servers in Data Center 3.0 refresh

The new servers use Intel's Xeon 5600 and 7500 processors and are part of Cisco's Unified Computing System
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Cisco has introduced the second generation of Unified Computing System servers, in an upgrade to its Data Center 3.0 lineup.

Unveiled on Tuesday, the two-socket and four-socket servers have up to four times the computing and bandwidth capacity of their predecessors, Cisco said. The two-socket servers are already shipping, while the four-socket servers will become available towards the end of the year.

The Unified Computing System (UCS) M2 B-Series and C-Series two-socket servers use Intel's Xeon 5600 processor series, giving them 50 percent more processor cores and cache than the first generation, according to the company.

"Cisco Unified Computing System innovations, such as memory expansion and the Virtualized Network Interface Card, combined with the power of the Intel Xeon 5600 Processor Series, have made Cisco Unified Computing System the leading platform for running the most important business applications," the company's head of server access and virtualisation technology, Soni Jiandani, said in a statement.

With UCS, Cisco aims to provide a cohesive datacentre architecture that links computing, networking, virtualisation, storage access and management. The launch of the initiative in March 2009 marked the networking specialist's move into making server hardware, with the introduction of a set of blade systems. The first rack-mount servers followed in June the same year.

The new UCS B-Series and C-Series four-socket servers will use Xeon 7500 processors — according to Cisco, this will provide three times the performance of traditional four-socket systems, "with double the memory capability and a nine times increase in memory bandwidth".

As part of its Data Center 3.0 upgrades, Cisco also announced two new Nexus fabric extenders — the 2248 and 2232 — which are designed to provide 10Gb Ethernet connectivity between the servers and the fabric interconnect. The models use the company's new FEX-link architecture, which Cisco says will enable UCS to offer up to 160Gb of bandwidth per blade "in the coming year".

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