Cisco unveils big overhaul of UCS server line

|About: Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO)|By:, SA News Editor

In what the company is calling the biggest refresh for its UCS server line since its '09 introduction, Cisco (CSCO -0.4%) has added two new product lines, refreshed its existing lines, and launched new tools for handling big data/analytics deployments.

The new UCS M-Series modular server line is getting the most attention: It supports up to 8 computing cartridges (each containing 2 Intel Xeon CPUs) in a small 2U chassis, all of which share the same storage and networking resources.

UCS chief Todd Brannon: "To upgrade the server, just replace the cartridge ... This really kind of fundamentally breaks apart what a server is." Cisco has already worked to differentiate the UCS line through integrated networking features that improve virtualization performance. Intel, H-P, and Facebook have their own modular server efforts.

Also launched: 1) The UCS Mini, an integrated server/storage/networking system meant for remote/branch offices and SMBs. Cisco/EMC's VCE JV offers more powerful integrated hardware. 2) UCS Director Express, software that automates Hadoop big data project deployments on UCS servers. 3) A partnership with Red Hat (RHT -0.3%) to create integrated hardware/software offerings for OpenStack cloud infrastructure deployments.

UCS has been a bright spot for Cisco as it contends with soft carrier and emerging markets switch/router sales: IDC estimates Cisco's server revenue rose 35% Y/Y in Q2, leading its share to rise 140 bps to 5.8%. John Chambers recently mentioned UCS is now on a $3B/year run rate.