Cisco Unified Computing System: Jumping into the server game

Cisco's Unified Computing System cloud computing vision landed the networking vendor squarely in the middle of the data center market with blade servers and a unified fabric designed to integrate storage, with a focus on virtualization.

Cisco made a big spash with the Cisco Unified Computing System, complete with data center servers and unified fabric.

Cisco's motto seems to be, "Leave no adjacent market unturned." And 2009 saw further proof of that when the router king pushed its way into the data center with a new blade server.

As usual, Cisco had more in mind than pushing hardware (let's face it, those margins are sinking like the Titanic), so the company is selling a "data center vision": the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS). UCS includes Cisco blade servers and a unified fabric.

Cisco UCS is the company's cloud computing play, and thus Cisco has aligned itself with VMware, EMC, Microsoft, NetApp, Accenture and Intel -- not just for technology but to forge selling relationships.

Still, Cisco UCS received its share of criticism. For one, UCS is a one-vendor, lock-in proposition -- read "rip and replace." And for Cisco's channel partners, UCS didn't become widely available right away, delaying support from the company's toughest audience.

2010 will be a proving ground for Cisco UCS.

NEXT: The final blow ...

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This was first published in December 2009
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