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A mass of data center cables is soooo last season. [Cisco]

Servers, Storage and Networking | Posted on November 2, 2011 by Anthony Rossi

Meet the unified infrastructure behind the new virtual reality.

While virtualization may sound like the uber-buzzword du jour, the fact is there are real reasons for all the buzz – enterprises are relying on the proven benefits of virtualization to make the implementation of on demand desktops, applications and a whole host of cloud-based technologies work securely, quickly, flexibly, all without breaking the bank.

The challenge – an perhaps irony – is that making a cloud-based virtual world work still depends more than anything on the nuts and bolts of an efficient and very real data center environment.

Right now, though, IT administrators spend too much time manually accomplishing basic integration tasks related to their data center’s individual components and rigid, inflexible platforms rather than focusing on the more strategic, proactive initiatives they ought to.

That’s where the Cisco Unified Computing System™ comes in. UCS is a next-generation data center platform that unites compute, network, storage access and (yes) virtualization into a flexible, integrated cohesive system designed to reduce total cost of ownership and increase IT efficiency and business agility.

What does that mean?

Managed as a single system – whether it has one server or hundreds with thousands of virtual machines – UCS decouples scale from complexity, accelerating the delivery of new services simply, reliably and securely and solving key challenges in the data center. The results can’t help but grab your attention:

  • 20% lower cost for compute and network infrastructure
  • 60% greater virtual desktop density – with no effect on performance
  • Simple operation – start in minutes, scale in seconds
  • Massive scalability
  • Extended memory and I/O avoiding desktop virtualization bottlenecks.

How does UCS do it?

UCS is made up of a rich set of technical innovations that stand it apart from competitive products including advances two in particular:

  1. Cisco UCS Manager: An embedded system management is uniquely integrated into all components of the system, enabling the entire solution to be managed in one place. UCS Manager provides an intuitive GUI, a command-line interface and a robust API to manage all system configuration and operations. With UCS Manager, IT managers – whether they’re experts in storage, networking or servers – can collaborate easily on defining service profiles for applications.
  2. Unified Fabric: They say if you ever popped your head into a restaurant’s kitchen, you’d never want to eat there. The same might be said for the jumble of adapters, cables and switches for LANs, SANs and high performance computing networks in the data center. Even when structured, the fabric is still complicated and costly. Cisco’s unified fabric technology is a game changer. Fabric extenders pass all network traffic to parent fabric interconnects, where it can be processed and managed centrally, improving performance and reducing points of management. The unified fabric is a low-latency lossless 10-Gbps Ethernet backbone that enables a “wire-once” deployment model in which changing I/O configurations no longer means installing adapters and recabling racks and switches.

UCS momentum in the virtual world is fueled by real innovations that are helping IT organizations make the move to virtualization and enabling them to increase responsiveness, performance, business agility and availability of critical business applications.

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