Cisco is claiming its new Unified Computing architecture will save IT departments 20% cheaper on their hardware costs and 30% on IT running costs, compared with traditional systems.Launched today, the Unified Computing System unites computing, network, storage access, and virtualisation resources in a single energy efficient system, the company said. This puts it into direct competition with IBM, HP and other hardware vendors for the first time.
Based on industry standards such as Intel Nehalem servers and VMware control software, the new system includes systems management and offers "wire once" environment.
It promises to optimise virtualisation, reduce data centre costs, and allow dynamic resource provisioning for increased business agility, Cisco said.
Cisco claimed new management software allowed CIOs to provision applications in minutes instead of days. This shifts the focus of IT departments from IT maintenance to IT innovation, it said.
The design increases scalability without adding complexity because everything is managed as a single system, whether it has one or 320 servers with thousands of virtual machines, Cisco said.
It also provided a single point of entry to storage area networks (SANs) and to network attached storage (NAS). This bridged information and system "silos" in the data centre and cut power consumption, it said.
This cut the total cost of ownership by up to 20% in capital costs and up to 30% in operational costs, Cisco claimed.
Cisco outlined a blade processor system driven by Nehalen, Intel's next generation Xeon processors that were connected over a low-latency, lossless, 10Gbps Ethernet network that combined links between local area networks (LANs), storage area networks (SANs) and high performance computing networks. This lowered costs by reducing the number of network adapters, switches, and cables and by decreasing power and cooling requirements, Cisco said.
The entire system was to be managed as a single entity through the Cisco UCS Manager which provided an intuitive graphical user interface, a command line interface, and a robust application programming interface to manage all system configuration and operations. This speeded up provisioning of data assets and resources, it said.
Cisco said it would work with "an open ecosystem" of industry leaders to help stimulate technology innovation, augment service delivery, and accelerate market adoption of Unified Computing.