Tick Tock Goes the Server Clock
Ivy Bridge comes to UCS!
As Paul Perez reminds us in his evolutionary metaphor for our industry, time marches on, and today brings another tick of the clock. Many of you may be familiar with the development cadence that Intel maintains to carry forward the exponential burden of Moore’s law. By way of explanation for the uninitiated: the “tock” of the clock brings a new microarchitecture, the “tick” brings a new process technology, often referred to as a “die shrink,” which wrings out more efficiency and computing density from the platform. When we launched UCS M1 series servers back in 2009 we picked up with the “tock” of Nehalem processors. Over the past four years we “ticked” into Westmere, then a “tock” into Sandy Bridge, and now today, a “tick” into Ivy Bridge on our M3 systems. Ivy Bridge is the program name for the Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2600 v2 product family, which ushers in an unfathomable 22 nanometer process (three dimensional transistors!) and as many as 12 cores per processor for workstations and mainstream servers. This week Cisco is introducing support for these new processors as options on our existing B200, C240 and C220 M3 servers and as upgrade kits for systems already in the field.
Cisco’s implementation of this technology is superior. There is ample evidence to support this assertion: this weeks news includes 7 record-breaking application benchmark wins for UCS, and we’ve seen 81 of those since the introduction of UCS just four years ago. Taking a look at the results posted today for the v2 family, Cisco is dominant, with more #1 results than any other server vendor. Why is the system so fast? It’s partly an outcome of the mechanical design advantages in compute density and airflow that come with a Unified server architecture. Further advantage comes from high performance physical and virtual I/O found in the ASIC-level innovation of Cisco SingleConnect Technology. Don’t settle for imitations.
We like to say that Cisco and Intel are “Joined at the Chip,” because the innovation each company brings is incredibly complimentary. Cisco’s innovation in the data center is an extension of the company’s historic focus: connecting things. Cisco Unified Data Center and products like UCS are the outcomes of our drive to connect the pieces. When we join forces with Intel’s leadership at the computing core, customers see an unbeatable combination.
There are immediate gains with this new processor family and the way it is implemented in UCS, both in terms of performance (as much as 48% faster) and efficiency (35% improvement.) These are crucial elements in reducing operating costs and supporting the new computing models that rely on powerful virtualization, encryption and security technology. But this foundation is just the beginning of the story.
The operational elements of IT are where customers face their biggest challenges. This is where the majority of innovation in UCS is focused. If record-breaking application performance is the icing, operational innovation for IT is the cake: with UCS customers reporting an 84% reduction in provisioning times and 61% reduction of ongoing administrative/management costs.
Introduction of this latest Intel technology on UCS also supports Cisco’s advancement of integrated infrastructure solutions with ecosystem partners: most recently, two new Cisco Validated Designs for high performance server virtualization for EMC VSPEX with Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere, which incorporate next generation EMC VNX storage
Taken altogether, customer demand for UCS is changing the shape of the industry: Cisco is ranked #2 world-wide in x86 blade server revenue market share, with 33.9% share in the US, and a top 5 ranking among server vendors overall.
And as we’ve seen in other news today, UCS technology is very much on fast forward, along with Intel’s, so don’t let the tick tock from traditional server OEM’s lull you to sleep.