The form-factor-agnostic Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) combines Cisco UCS C-Series Rack Servers and B-Series Blade Servers with networking and storage access in a single converged system that simplifies management and delivers greater cost efficiency and agility with increased visibility and control. The latest expansion of the Cisco UCS portfolio includes the new Cisco UCS C240 M3 Rack Server (two rack units [2RU]) and Cisco UCS C220 M3 Rack Server (1RU) and the Cisco UCS B200 M3 Blade Server. These three new servers increase compute density through more cores and cache balanced with more memory capacity and disk drives and faster I/O. Together these server improvements and complementary Cisco UCS advancements deliver the combination of features and cost efficiency required to support IT’s diverse server needs.
The Cisco UCS C240 M3 Rack Server (Figure 1) is designed for both performance and expandability over a wide range of storage-intensive infrastructure workloads, from big data to collaboration. Building on the success of the Cisco UCS C210 M2 Rack Server, the enterprise-class Cisco UCS C240 M3 server further extends the capabilities of the Cisco UCS portfolio in a 2RU form factor with the addition of the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 and E5-2600 v2 product families, which deliver an outstanding combination of performance, flexibility, and efficiency gains. The Cisco UCS C240 M3 offers up to two Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 or E5-2600 v2 processors, 24 DIMM slots, 24 disk drives, and four 1Gigabit Ethernet LAN-on-motherboard (LOM) ports to provide exceptional levels of internal memory and storage expandability and exceptional performance.
The Cisco UCS C240 M3 interfaces with Cisco UCS using another Cisco innovation, the Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Card. The Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Card is a virtualization-optimized Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) PCI Express (PCIe) 2.0 x8 10-Gbps adapter designed for use with Cisco UCS C‑Series Rack Servers. The VIC is a dual-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet PCIe adapter that can support up to 256 PCIe standards-compliant virtual interfaces, which can be dynamically configured so that both their interface type (network interface card [NIC] or host bus adapter [HBA]) and identity (MAC address and worldwide name [WWN]) are established using just-in-time provisioning. In addition, the Cisco UCS VIC 1225 can support network interface virtualization and Cisco Data Center Virtual Machine Fabric Extender (VM-FEX) technology.
Not all storage-intensive workloads are alike, and the Cisco UCS C240 M3 server’s disk configuration delivers balanced performance and expandability to best meet individual workload requirements. With up to 12 LFF (Large Form Factor) or 24 SFF (Small Form Factor) internal drives, the Cisco UCS C240 M3 optionally offers 10,000-RPM and 15,000-RPM SAS drives to deliver a high number of I/O operations per second for transactional workloads such as database management systems. Inaddition, high-capacity SATA drives provide an economical, large-capacity solution. Superfast SSDs are a third option for workloads that demand extremely fast access to smaller amounts of data. A choice of RAID controller options also helps increase disk performance and reliability.
The Cisco UCS C240 M3 further increases performance and customer choice over many types of storage‑intensive applications such as:
- Small and medium-sized business (SMB) databases
- Big data infrastructure
- Virtualization and consolidation
- Storage servers
- High-performance appliances
Cisco UCS Servers Change the Economics of the Data Center
IT infrastructure matters now more than ever, as organizations seek to achieve the full potential of infrastructure as a service (IaaS), bare metal, virtualized servers, and cloud computing. Cisco continues to lead in data center innovation with the introduction of new building blocks for Cisco Unified Computing System that extend its exceptional simplicity, agility, and efficiency (Figure 2) - Innovations such as the Cisco UCS C240 M3 rack server.
Cisco innovations, such as Cisco UCS Manager, allows administrators to create a software definition for a desired server (using Cisco service profiles and templates) and then instantiate that server and its I/O connectivity by associating a service profile with physical resources. This approach contrasts with the traditional method of configuring each system resource manually, one at a time, through individual element managers. Unlike with the products of other vendors, Cisco service profiles can be moved from rack server to rack or blade server, or between blade or rack servers in different chassis. In other words, Cisco UCS Manager and service profiles are form-factor agnostic.
Other Cisco UCS building blocks include enhanced server I/O options and expanded Cisco UCS fabric interconnects that extend scalability and management simplicity for both blade and rack systems across bare‑metal, virtualized, and cloud-computing environments. Cisco helps ensure that nearly all parts of Cisco UCS offer investment protection and are backward compatible. For example, fabric extenders can be upgraded using the same fabric interconnects and same Cisco UCS VIC 1225. Fabric interconnect hardware can be upgraded independently of fabric extenders and blade chassis. Cisco continues to innovate in all these areas, helping ensure that both now and in the future, more powerful, rack servers with larger, faster memory have adequate I/O bandwidth and computing power. Cisco completes this vision through continuous innovation in VIC, ASIC, fabric extender, fabric interconnect, blade server, blade chassis, rack server technologies and form-factor-agnostic Cisco UCS Manager software that ties all these ever-advancing hardware pieces together.
The Cisco UCS C240 M3 is also part of a large family of rack servers: the Cisco C-Series Rack Servers. Designed to operate both in standalone environments and as part of Cisco UCS, the Cisco UCS C-Series servers employ Cisco technology to help customers handle the most challenging workloads. The Cisco UCS C-Series complements a standards-based unified network fabric, Cisco Data Center VM-FEX virtualization support, Cisco UCS Manager Software, Cisco fabric extender and fabric interconnect architectures, and Cisco Extended Memory Technology. Again, Cisco is innovating across all these technologies. With Cisco UCS architectural advantages, software advances, continuous innovation, and unique blade server and chassis designs, Cisco UCS is the first truly unified data center platform. In addition, Cisco UCS can transform IT departments through policy-based automation and deep integration with familiar systems management and orchestration tools.