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Cisco UCS.

IT Agility Delivered: Cisco Unified Computing System

Introduction

The Cisco Unified Computing System is IT agility delivered. Its Intel Xeon processor–powered servers deliver performance without compromise to workloads running in bare-metal, virtualised and cloud-computing environments.

The Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS™) changes the way organizations do business through policy-based automation and standardisation of IT processes. The industry’s first unified datacentre platform, Cisco UCS combines industry-standard x86- architecture blade and rack servers, networking and enterprise-class management into a single system.

  • Single, unified system: Cisco UCS goes beyond convergence by providing a massively scalable, distributed virtual blade chassis with a single integrated point of connectivity and management.
  • Intelligent infrastructure: Every aspect of the system’s configuration is programmable through an intuitive GUI, third-party management tools, or an open-standard XML API, bringing automation to sever configuration.
  • Integrated, model-based management: The system’s model-based management amplifies the knowledge of subject-matter experts by enabling consistent, error-free alignment of policy, server personality, and workloads.
  • Unified fabric: The system’s high-speed, low-latency unified fabric brings the data and management planes, Ethernet, and FCoE to each blade server, reducing the number of components needed and delivers uniform connectivity to each server.
  • Cisco FEX Technology: This design condenses three layers of networking into one, providing scalability with less cost and no additional complexity and it brings visibility and control to virtualized environments

The First Unified System Available, Anywhere
Cisco UCS goes beyond convergence to bring the benefits of centralised computing to the scale-out nature of many of today’s applications: simplified management, greater deployment flexibility and easier scalability. A self-integrating, self-aware system, Cisco UCS consists of a single management domain interconnected by a unified I/O infrastructure. The system is designed as a single virtual blade chassis that incorporates and scales across multiple blade chassis, rack servers and racks.

Radically Simplified Architecture
The system implements a radically simplified architecture that eliminates the multiple redundant devices that populate traditional blade server chassis and result in layers of complexity: Ethernet switches, Fibre Channel switches and chassis management modules. Cisco UCS consists of a redundant pair of Cisco 6200 Series Fabric Interconnects that provide a single point of management, and a single point of control, for all I/O traffic.

Lower Cost of Scale
Cisco UCS scales with less cost and less complexity. Instead of expanding the system by adding layers of switching in racks, blade servers and hypervisors, Cisco UCS uses low-cost, low-energy-consuming fabric extenders to connect the data and management planes directly to blade and rack servers. Cisco fabric extenders bring up to 160Gbps of network, storage and management bandwidth to each chassis and multiple 10Gbps connections to each rack-mount server. This significant reduction in components enables a lower-cost, more graceful scaling model in which the per-server infrastructure cost, including the cost of blade chassis and switching, is as little as half that of HP blade servers.
Industry-Standard x86-Architecture Servers

Cisco UCS servers are industry-standard, x86-architecture blade and rack systems that are powered exclusively by Intel® Xeon® processors. These industry-standard servers deliver world-record performance to power mission-critical workloads. Cisco servers, combined with a simplified, unified architecture, promote increased IT productivity and a superior price-to-performance ratio for lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

Solutions

Intelligent Infrastructure

Cisco UCS does for physical infrastructure what hypervisors do for virtual machines: it allows physical infrastructure to be built and configured automatically through software rather than through the tedious, manual, error-prone configuration of individual components using separate element managers.

Model-Based Management

Cisco UCS uses integrated, model-based management to provision servers automatically. Simply by associating a model with system resources, IT organizations can consistently align policy, server personality, and workloads. The result is increased IT staff productivity, improved compliance, increased availability, and reduced risk of failures due to inconsistent configurations.

Unified Fabric

Cisco UCS is designed with a unified fabric that condenses three network types—IP, storage and management—into one. This “wire-once” philosophy means that the system is wired only once, when it is installed, with bandwidth allocations and I/O configurations managed dynamically through the system’s embedded management features.

Since all servers are physically wired with the same 10 Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) network, they can all host the same workloads simply by changing configurations through software. This “zero-touch” approach increases business agility because connectivity is uniform and hardware configurations no longer limit the applications that can be supported. The use of a single network technology reduces rack-level infrastructure costs by up to two-thirds by eliminating discrete Fibre Channel, inter-process communication and management networks.

Fabric Extender Technology (FEX)

Traditional blade servers replicate all of a typical rack’s components inside each chassis, escalating customer costs. These chassis host six devices: two Ethernet and two Fibre Channel switches plus two management modules. In Cisco UCS, a single pair of fabric extenders brings the management and data plane of the fabric interconnects to the blade chassis or server rack, condensing up to three network layers into one.

The entire system becomes a distributed, virtual blade chassis that incorporates a full range of blade and rack server products able to handle any workload. The integrated system efficiently and consistently manages all network traffic at a single point. Cisco FEX Technology decouples complexity from capacity, enabling Cisco UCS to scale more gracefully and at lower cost.

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