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Cisco servers? They said UCS would never succeed…

May 24, 2011 - 1 Comment

Two years ago, we started something that many in the industry said was crazy.  We delivered a new system that united compute, network, storage access and virtualization into one cohesive system.  There was rampant speculation that Cisco had taken a crazy path to doom and destruction.

Yet, today I’m proud to share that in just two years, sales of the Unified Computing System are outpacing market growth for x86 blades, and Cisco has become the #3 player worldwide in x86 blade server factory revenue. *

Blades are forecast to be the fastest growing segment of the x86 server market** and market data illustrates the impact of UCS innovation:   businesses worldwide shifted over 10% of the x86 blade market to UCS, and in the U.S. nearly 20%.  Cisco’s rapid growth underscores our leadership in the industry transition to fabric computing and converged infrastructure.  On our most recent earnings call, Cisco reported 5,400 UCS customers and an annualized order run rate of $900M for UCS product orders.

As we began our design efforts, we knew we couldn’t set out to design simply another server.  We heard from our customers that power, management, and server administration costs were sapping their budgets, leaving few resources for innovation.  So we included customers in R&D sessions to help us design from the ground up an evolutionary new system that integrated networking and management:  flexible and scalable enough to handle any workload.  We aimed to create the ideal, programmable, platform for virtualized and cloud environments, and to help solve many of the very real challenges they faced.

Today’s market share news demonstrates our approach is taking hold.  But this is just the beginning:  we are committed to evolving UCS and delivering continued technology innovation.  Thanks for joining us on this journey – we have leagues more innovation ahead of us. ***

* IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, May 2011

** IDC Q4 CY10 Server Forecaster

*** If you’d like to learn more, below you’ll find additional information on UCS milestones, product awards and customer comments

A few key milestones

As we near the 2nd year anniversary – July 20, 2009- when we first shipped the Cisco Unified Computing System, it seems like the perfect time to look back on what we’ve accomplished so far.

  • July 2009: Cisco begins shipping the UCS B-Series blade server
  • October 2009:  Cisco delivers to market the UCS patented Memory Extension Blade
  • Nov. 2009: Cisco ships the UCS C-Series rack mount server
  • December 2009:  Cisco delivers the Virtual Interface Card for adapter consolidation and virtualization optimization; enables each virtualized adapter to define up to 128 Ethernet or Fibre Channel connections.
  • April 2010:  Cisco delivers next generation servers based on Intel Xeon processor 5600 series and Intel Xeon processor 7500 series;  adds 4-socket servers to the UCS portfolio
  • April 2011:  Cisco now offers 9 systems in UCS portfolio; wins nine new industry benchmark world records
  • May 2011:  Cisco captures #3 spot in worldwide x86 blade server market  **

From the awards, product reviews, and customer comments below, I think it’s clear why UCS is  succeeding in the market.

40 Industry Benchmark World Records since 2009.  On April 5, 2011:  Cisco announced the results for nine new world record industry benchmarks, highlighting the Unified Computing System’s outstanding performance and productivity across data center workloads.

InfoWorld Test Center Review: “Cisco UCS wows

“Revolutionary. Cutting edge. State of the art. The truth is that truly revolutionary products are few and far between…That said, Cisco’s Unified Computing System fits the bill.”

eWEEK Labs Names the 2009 Enterprise IT Products of the Year

“From the creation and management of resource pools to the centralized control of change management throughout its high-performance hardware and software components, Cisco UCS exudes excellence based on Cisco’s vast experience in the data center.”

InfoWorld’s 2010 Technology of the Year Awards

“Cisco UCS is an extremely good idea, implemented extremely well, especially for a version 1.0 hardware platform. If Cisco can spread the good word about UCS next year, it should really take off. It’s a paradigm shift in datacenter infrastructure whose time has come.”

UCS wins Microsoft Best of Tech•Ed 2011

UCS wins 2011 Citrix Ready Business Solution of the Year

At 5,400 strong and growing, more than 30% of UCS customers have placed repeat orders, with an average of 4 repeat buys each.  Customers from across all industry segments: Enterprise, Commercial, Service Provider and Public Sector, have invested in UCS solutions throughout the globe.  Here are just a few of their comments.

Vince Stephens, vice president of network operations, TASER Virtual Systems:

“We realized we couldn’t build the data center of the future with yesterday’s technology. With its scalable processing, huge memory capacity, and tight integration with VMware, the Cisco UCS was ideal to meet our needs out to the foreseeable future.”

Robert Butler, global chief information officer, Hay Group

“With a private cloud based on Cisco UCS, we can bring up web portals for our clients almost immediately compared to weeks using stand-alone servers.”

Philip Yarrow, Director of Electronic Trading, Winterflood Securities, UK

“Cisco UCS provides us with tremendous flexibility. Our IT team can provision a new service overnight, so it is ready to go live in time for next-day trading. It’s also great news for our customers who are looking for increased choice and best execution services.”

James McGibney, data center lead, global construction company Tutor Perini Corp.,

“Nothing else came close in terms of management simplicity, energy efficiency, application availability and cost reduction, all of which have made it possible for us to hit our initial ROI targets and deploy an architecture that can scale with us over the coming years.”

Simon Mills, networks manager at Deakin University, Australia

“The deployment of the Cisco Unified Computing System will allow the department to be so much more responsive and efficient. It will enable us to maximize resources and give us the opportunity to shift our focus from IT maintenance to technology innovation.”

Michael Heil, manager of technology infrastructure, Moses Cone Health System

“We have tremendous flexibility in our architecture now, enabling us to move workloads and add capacity quickly as needed, with much faster provisioning for new business applications.  … the advantages were so compelling that we’ve expanded the architecture extensively and will standardize on the Cisco platform going forward.”

When we announced UCS in March 2009, Liam McGlynn, senior analyst for systems management at Enterprise Management Associates said:  “Call it what you want, it’s still going to shake up the blade market.  They’re going to drastically reduce the amount of cabling, they’re going to simplify the network, and make it easier to provision virtual images.” – Unified Computing Will Shake Up Channel

Please stay tuned – we’ve just begun!

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  1. Fantastic! Really paying off. Can you name the top five customers? Majority of UCS sold in Portal or enterprise data center environments?