I frequently meet with customers who are trying to “unstore” more of their data, use it in real time, and unlock the latent value that’s contained there. In many ways this is the heart of digital transformation…but it’s also something that’s historically been a challenge to do in an economical and manageable way as data sets grow ever larger. It is for these customers that we’ve developed an exciting new addition to the UCS product portfolio: Cisco UCS S-Series.
Across verticals, our customers are realizing the power of data, which is increasing demands on compute and capacity from infrastructure. For example, in this success story at the University of College Zealand, the university’s IT staff can now back up student files 4x faster than previous platform and the reliability of the S3260 means that students can rely on having access to their files 24/7. Likewise, in sports, digital video is evolving from a capacity challenge to a compute intensive problem. Real time player tracking, combined with historical correlations and predictions, are changing the fan experience and coaching tactics. On the life-saving front is this bit of good news that hospitals are finally starting to use real-time data processing in concert with predictive analytics tools to enable highly advanced, forward-looking and customized treatment plans for patients. There are examples across every vertical and the pace is only accelerating.
While innovation of this sort is primarily a data management challenge, it’s also a data center technology challenge – because active data requires agile infrastructure built for a world of continuous insight, innovation, and delivery. And here’s what that looks like:
A Modular Platform Approach
Fundamentally, the need for the UCS S-Series is rooted in the realization that conventional rack server designs can’t meet the requirements of these workloads in terms of operational speed, scale and efficiency. It’s one thing to bend sheet metal around a bunch of disk, it’s another to create the modern data fabric foundation customers need in this space. The UCS S-Series is a completely modular platform approach (check out the video!) One that’s optimized for active data by coupling dense storage capacity with servers, allowing large amounts of data to reside closer to compute. Much like our B-Series blades are optimized for compute density, S-Series is a similar – modular – approach, optimized for storage density. S-Series modularity, combined with the fabric-centric nature of UCS and advanced management, is unique in the industry and delivers several key advantages:
- Rapid scaling of storage capacity, to hundreds of petabytes, through the unrivaled capabilities of UCS for policy based automation and integration with IT and developer toolsets. And scale not just of infrastructure but the ability of IT staff to manage across large and complex environments in a simplified way.
- New levels of efficiency, allowing our customers to right size the infrastructure to the workload, eliminating stranded resources and islands of infrastructure and ultimately driving down TCO to less than half the cost of public cloud storage.
- Unmatched investment protection and operational flexibility, by decoupling the refresh cycles of compute, IO and storage media, each of which evolve on different industry timelines. Each of these can be upgraded and scaled independently but are connected and composed automatically using Cisco SystemLink
Let’s unpack that second point a bit, because this is key to how this platform spans a wide variety of use cases: big data, software-defined storage, object storage, data protection, and video analytics. By choosing among 1 or 2 server nodes, I/O and disk expander modules and specific components we can reach very different design points that emphasize capacity, cores, acceleration and I/O in varying ratios depending on the needs of the application. Here are some examples:
UCS: One Platform, Many Architectures
One important thing to remember is how our customers benefit over time from the architecture of UCS. With a fabric-centric architecture and centralized management, we can add new form factors and capabilities to UCS as the industry evolves and customer needs change – without creating new islands of infrastructure or requiring forklift upgrades for new architectures. This long-term persistence and consistency of management and operations is the hallmark of UCS. S-Series is another plug-and-play element right alongside B-Series Blade Servers, C-Series Rack Servers, HyperFlex and our UCS Integrated Infrastructure Solutions.
UCS S-Series also carries the benefits of our platform approach in terms of supporting a wide range of ISV solutions. We continue to invest heavily in joint validation with a robust partner ecosystem to offer a range of data protection, software-defined storage and Big Data solutions. We’ll hear more from our partners this week at our World Wide Partner Summit in San Francisco, so please look for that here on the blog.
To learn more about S-Series, including a discussion with customer and analyst guests, please join us on our November 10th webcast, where we will go deeper on the news. In the meantime, please join the discussion on social media with #CiscoUCS and @CiscoDC