Cisco serves up Unified Computing push

The networking giant unveils a new effort to streamline data center operations and as part of the package is offering up its own blade servers.

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As was widely expected, Cisco Systems on Monday unveiled its Unified Computing effort, including the company's move to offer its own server hardware.

The networking titan's Unified Computing System targets data centers, facilities where enterprises locate a hefty number of servers that host and run the technology side of their operations. It is designed to unify networking, computing, storage, and virtualization resources in order to streamline a company's resources, to reduce its total cost of ownership, and to "radically reduce" the number of devices requiring management, power/cooling, and other labor and financial expenditures.

Cisco Systems

Among the hardware components of the system:

• Cisco UCS 6100 Series Fabric Interconnects, a family of line-rate, low-latency, lossless, 10Gbps Cisco Data Center Ethernet and FCoE interconnect switches

• Cisco UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis, which supports up to eight blade servers and up to two fabric extenders.

• Cisco UCS 2100 Series Fabric Extenders, which provide up to four 10Gbps connections each between blade servers and the fabric interconnect.

• Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers, based on Intel Xeon processors

• Cisco UCS Network Adapters.

The Unified Computing System also includes the Cisco UCS Manager embedded software.

Partnering with Cisco in Monday's announcement were companies including Microsoft, VMware, BMC Software, and Accenture.

Update 10:45 a.m. PDT: According to Micrososft, Cisco will prepackage, resell and support the Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V technology, and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 software.

VMware, meanwhile, says the Unified Computing System will be integrated with its vCenter suite for managing virtual network policies and resources.