Cisco attacks the data center with new servers, services

Cisco Systems has unleashed its long anticipated campaign into the server space, unveiling a new data center architecture, server hardware and an open ecosystem for supporting it. Companies onboard for the release include Accenture, BMC Software, EMC, Intel, Microsoft and VMware. 

The centerpiece of today's announcements and media tour de force is the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) - a single box that puts together computing, network, storage access, and virtualization into a scalable, modular architecture that is managed as a single system. Benefits being touted include energy efficiency to reduce IT infrastructure costs and complexity while improving IT productivity and business agility. It also scales easily, from one to 320 servers.

Under the hood, the UCS incorporates a new series of blades based on Intel's Nehalem processor with patented extended memory technology to support apps with big data sets and allow "significantly more" virtual machines per server, says Cisco. Network-wise, UCS has support for a unified fabric over a low-latency, loss-less 10 GigE foundation consolidating LAN, SAN and high-performance computing networks. Virtualization also gets front-and-center attention as Cisco security, policy enforcement, and diagnostics features are now extended into dynamic virtualized environments to better support changing business and IT requirements. Storage access consolidation means that UCS can access storage over Ethernet, Fibre Channel or iSCSI.

General availability for the UCS and a bunch of associated services for planning and implementation of the new gear falls in the second quarter of 2009.

Cisco also announced it is working with BMC Software, EMC, Emulex, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp, Novell, Oracle, QLogic, Red Hat and VMware as technology partners to deliver a "holistic approach" to data center virtualization.

For more:
- Cisco's big release.

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