Cisco, with their release of Unified
Computing System, today took a big step that could change the datacenter
playing field forever. In one stroke, they got the top level management in
companies like HP, IBM and Dell scratching their heads about what hit them big
this morning. Well, the previous sentence may appear like an hyperbole but if
you take a look at their offering, it is easy to understand why I am excited.
This new offering, which they tout as Data Center 3.0 vision, unifies network,
compute, storage and virtualization under a single fabric with an unified
Cisco Unified Computing System greatly enhances agility and productivity
while drastically reducing the TCO. In one stroke CISCO has raised the bar for
competition by several notches and its impact will be felt by the business
customers in the coming years with the release of competing technologies by
other players in the field like HP, Dell, etc..
Cisco Unified Computing blade servers consists of next generation, energy
efficient x86 processors, 10-Gbps Cisco Data Center Ethernet and FCoE
interconnect switches, an unified fabric and a centralized management system
that acts like a brain for Unified Computing System. They are scalable upto 320
discrete servers and thousands of virtual servers. This also supports both
virtual and non-virtual environments.
They call it an Open
Partner ecosystem with partners like EMC, Intel, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle,
Redhat, VMWare, etc.. They expect that their partners will help them in pushing
the Unified Computing System to widespread market adoption. They also take pains
to emphasize that they have worked hard to avoid any proprietary lock-in with a
greater emphasis to openness. Even the APIs used in the management and
provisioning are supposed to be based on open interfaces and extensible
With this release, Cisco has changed the datacenter landscape for good. This
has the potential to lure more and more enterprises to adapt a cloud like
architecture at a much lower cost. It will be interesting to see how Cisco’s
competitors react to this.