I recently wrote a blog titled Blade Server TCO and Architecture – You Cannot Separate Them and thought a little more on the architecture side would be a good thing.
With so much misinformation (dis-information?) about UCS running around in the ether, I thought the straight forward comparison offered here would be valuable. It is important to dispel myths and analyze reality before making the important decisions around server and networking refreshes / upgrades, which by necessity affect long term data center architecture. I hope you will find this presentation – Cisco UCS, HP and IBM – A Blade Architecture Comparison, useful in your decision making process.
For me, there are three primary drivers that differentiate the Cisco UCS architecture from everyone else’s designs and they can be divided into the buckets below:
You could, and probably should, ask what is left out? That’s pretty easy. I did not specifically call out Performance and TCO, for a good reason. If you can execute on the three bullets above like Cisco UCS does, Performance and TCO are the natural derivatives. You shouldn’t have to target them separately. It’s kind of a “If you build it, they will come” scenario. That’s why I made the statements in the TCO and Architecture blog that “…Server cost is irrelevant (to OpEx) because: changing its contribution to total TCO has a vanishingly small impact….” and “…It [architecture] is the single most important component of OpEx…” For more on this and how server cost and TCO intersect, please check out this blog – Blade Server TCO and Architecture – You Cannot Separate Them. It takes a look at the OpEx and CapEx components of TCO, and how altering either of them effects the actual total 3-year TCO. You may be surprised.
Cisco is providing trade-in credits for customers’ old generation servers and blade chassis, helping ease the transition and upgrade to a new UCS blade architecture. The UCS Advantage presentation below has more details on this fantastic program that can further enhance the already compelling TCO benefit of upgrading to Cisco UCS.
Special note: For more on the benefit that Cisco UCS delivers for I/O and throughput, I suggest a great blog by Amit Jain – How to get more SAN mileage out of UCS FI. Amit does an excellent compare / contrast of FC and FCoE technologies (“…8 Gb FC yields 6.8 Gb throughput while 10 Gb FCoE yields close to 10 Gb throughput…”).