Cisco Systems Unified Computing Servers

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Cisco Systems
Unified Computing Servers

Brady Hicks

Docid: 00021125

Publication Date: 2102

Report Type: PRODUCT


Cisco’s Unified Computing Server (UCS) lineup is designed to provide a streamlined architecture for the converged data
center, in addition to unifying servers, storage access, networks, and
virtualization technology. This family includes hardware such as UCS servers
(rack, storage, and blade), UCS management software, fabric interconnects and
extenders, and other products. This report looks at Cisco’s Unified Computing
Servers in
greater detail.

Report Contents:


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Cisco’s Unified Computing Servers (UCS), which was first unveiled in 2009, offers a streamlined
architecture for the converged data center that unifies servers, storage
access, networks, and virtualization technology to better manage data center

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Cisco Systems Company Profile

The data center server platform supports the
"Internet of Everything" – or "IoE" – and offers computing capacity that is designed to

  • Address business acceleration
  • Improve IT innovation
  • Tune an environment
    to support application needs
  • Power server workloads

Cisco’s UCS allows users to reduce the number of
on-premise systems that must be purchased, cabled, configured, powered, cooled,
secured, and managed. In general, they can help streamline data center
resources; scale service delivery; and reduce the number of devices that require
setup, management, power and cooling, and cabling.


Name: Cisco Systems, Inc.
170 West Tasman Drive
San Jose, CA 95134
Phone: (408) 526-4000
Toll-Free: 800-553-6387
Type of Vendor: Data Networking & Server Vendor
Founded: 1984
Service Areas: Worldwide

Its integrated system can be configured through
unified, model-based management to help streamline the deployment of
enterprise-class applications and services that run in bare-metal, virtualized,
or cloud-based computing environments. Some of Cisco’s UCS’ benefits include:

  • Streamlined Server Connectivity – Connecting and managing data center computing. Includes SingleConnect, which unifies LAN, SAN, and systems management into one
    simplified link for rack servers, blade servers, and virtual systems.
  • Programmable Infrastructure – Uses an open XML API to manage the
    personality, configuration, and connectivity of server and I/O resources.
  • Unified, Model-Based Management – Configuring server and
    I/O resources to automate the administrative process.
  • Port Extender Technology – Condensing
    three network layers into one to eliminate blade chassis
    and hypervisor-based switches, bringing all traffic to a single point.
  • Graphics-Intensive App Support – Via desktop virtualization.
  • SAP HANA Migration Acceleration – For modernization and migration

Unified Computing Servers

Cisco’s lineup of Unified Computing Servers include B-Series (blade servers), C-Series
(rack servers),
S-Series (storage servers), and E-Series (blade servers for ISR routers), as listed in Table

Table 1. Basic UCS Server Comparison
  Type Maximum Memory

B-Series Blade
  • UCS B200 M5
  • UCS B480 M5
  • UCS Mini
  • UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis



C-Series Rack
  • UCS C125 M5
  • UCS C220 M5
  • UCS C240 M5
  • UCS C240 SD M5
  • UCS C480 M5
  • UCS C480 ML M5
  • UCS C4200 Series Rack Server Chassis



S-Series Rack
  • S3260 M5 Storage Server



E-Series Blade
  • UCS M2
  • UCS M3
  • UCS E-Series Network Compute Engine

Blade for ISR routers


Figure 1 shows some of Cisco’s B-Series blade servers.

Figure 1. B-Series Blade Servers

Figure 1. B-Series Blade Servers

Source: Cisco Systems

Figure 2 shows a selection of C-Series rack servers.

Figure 2. C-Series Rack Servers

Figure 2. C-Series Rack Servers

Source: Cisco Systems

Figure 3 shows Cisco’s S-Series storage server.

Figure 3. S-Series Storage Server

Figure 3. S-Series Storage Server

Source: Cisco Systems

UCS Software

Cisco offers UCS Systems-Management software to help manage Cisco and
third-party servers, networks, storage, and converged, hyper-converged,
and composable infrastructure. These applications are described
in Table 2.

Table 2. UCS Management Software
Software Description
Cisco Intersight
  • Cloud-based systems management.
  • Analytics and machine learning functionality.
  • Connected, proactive support.
Workload Optimization Manager
  • Scales resources based on demand.
  • Drives utilization and workload density.
  • Sizes and forecasts future capacity.
  • Works to extend performance across on-premise and public cloud-based
  • Scales up to 10,000 servers to manage UCS server
    domains across data centers and geographies.
  • Improves productivity with centralized resource
    inventory and automated, policy-based server, and network firmware
  • Provides a centralized fault summary for faster
    problem resolution and improved reliability.
  • Can be integrated with a range of partner products.
  • Automates and treats infrastructure as code to
    improve agility.
  • Provides unified management for Cisco UCS blade and
    rack servers, UCS Mini, and M-Series.
  • Open API and integrations with third-party
    monitoring, analytics, deployment, configuration, and orchestration
  • Streamlines daily operations and reduces risk with
    policy-driven, model-based architecture.
  • Manages and orchestrates across Cisco and third-party
    servers, networks, and storage, as well as converged, hyper-converged,
    and composable infrastructure.
  • Provides the foundation for IaaS
    (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), including a self-service portal for end
  • Supported by independent hardware and software
    vendors through open REST and XML APIs.
Integrated Management Controller Supervisor
  • Offers inventory and health status with Smart Call Home feature.
  • Includes remote management and virtual Keyboard-Video-Mouse with
    recorder and chat, administration, and power management.
  • Streamlines server setup and configuration with policy-based
    configuration templates.
  • Supports scriptwriting and third-party management tool integration
    via REST/XML API.
  • Offers role-based access control.

UCS Fabric Interconnects and Fabric Extenders

Cisco’s lineup of fabric interconnects and extenders are designed to help
create a highly-available management domain that supports all-attached UCS
chassis, blade servers, and rack servers.

  • UCS 6400 Series Fabric Interconnects – 3.82Tbps switching
    capacity and 200Gbps bandwidth.
  • UCS 6300 Series Fabric Interconnects – 40GB for B-Series blades and
    C-Series rack servers.
  • UCS 6200 Series Fabric Interconnects – Line-rate, lossless 10GbE
    and FCoE, with native FC SAN connectivity.
  • Fabric Extender Technology – Extensible, scalable fabric that
    allows the switching fabric access layer to extend and expand to the server
    hypervisor, while also offering a single point of management and policy

Other Products

Cisco also offers virtual interface cards, B-Series "mezzanine" adapters,
C-Series Rack Server PCIe adapters, PCI-e-NVMe storage, and GPUs.


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Potential application areas for Cisco’s UCS portfolio include
data centers of varying sizes and importance, including mission-critical data
centers and those with blade or rack server environments; virtualization, Web,
and cloud-based infrastructure; complex storage and network environments; and branch

Table 3 lists Potential Cisco UCS applications by specific product.

Table 3. UCS Applications
UCS Series Application

B-Series Blade Servers

Virtualized and non-virtualized data center

C-Series Rack Servers

Production-level virtualization, Web-based
infrastructure, and heavy data center workloads.

S-Series Storage Servers

Environments with data-intensive workloads.

E-Series Blade Servers

Converged compute, network, and virtualization-ready platform environments


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Cisco’s UCS products are designed to operate in enterprise data
centers and integrate with infrastructure from third-party vendors such as Dell EMC
and NetApp, as well as software from companies such as CA, Dell EMC, Microsoft,
Oracle, IBM/Red Hat, SAP, VMware, Citrix, Hitachi Vantara, and NetApp, among others. Platform
support is extended to Microsoft Windows, VMware vSphere, RHEL, SUSE Linux,
Oracle Linux, Citrix XenServer, Solaris, and Ubuntu.


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Cisco offers UCS customers multiple
support options, among them release and other general information resources,
install and upgrade options, configuration guides, troubleshooting alerts,
software downloads, and community forums. Cisco also offers Technical Sales Help
for those who call (866) 425-5351 (US and Canada only, M-F 8AM-8PM EST). Other
UCS support services include:

  • Tools – Subscription required.
  • Smart Services – Smart Net Total Care Portal; Warranty Information; Buy or Renew Support Services.
  • Support Resources – Support Community Forums; Security Advisories; Cisco Notification Service; and Cisco DocWiki.


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Cisco does not release pricing information for UCS due to configuration
dependency. Customers can
request a quote


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Cisco UCS competes in a large,
well-established server field in North America. Top competitors include HPE’s BladeSystem; Dell PowerEdge;
servers from IBM; and Fujitsu Primergy;

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About the Author

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Brady Hicks is an
editor with Faulkner Information Services. He writes about computer and
networking hardware, software, communications networks and equipment, and the

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