On June 2nd, the Cisco UCS team was excited to introduce the world to the brand-new Cisco UCS X-Series Modular System powered by Intersight. With UCS X-Series, we intend to simplify data center environments by enabling the deployment of standardized, common hybrid cloud infrastructure that can shape pools of resources to the diverse needs of modern applications.

Cisco UCS X-Series Modular SystemOur tag line is “Un/Box the future”, UCS X-Series is a system that visually looks like a chassis or a box but once explained makes you rethink what a server can and should be, a new kind of system shaped by software. Neither on-prem or cloud, but all hybrid. Built to be both available and adaptable. Modular and ready for any application.

Why did we build it? We believe our role is to understand evolving technology and market dynamics, understand where there is complexity and inefficiencies, and create innovate hybrid cloud infrastructure and management solutions that simplify IT for our customers. Read below to learn more about UCS X- Series and how we arrived at building a versatile, future-ready modular system.

It’s a hybrid cloud world

The rapid digitization of our world is resulting in a massive growth in applications. These modern applications are very diverse – traditional apps, cloud native apps, data-intensive, GPU accelerated, etc. They are also hyper-distributed in nature and have forced a whole new way of thinking about IT. These apps no longer live in any single location. It’s not on prem vs. cloud. It’s both. These apps exist as code, microservices, and data across a hybrid cloud environment requiring a radical shift in how we think about infrastructure and operations. Everything is now hybrid, connected, managed, and optimized across a distributed IT landscape.

Orchestration and automation capabilities continue to evolve and drive simplicity and agility when it comes to deploying, maintaining, and optimizing apps and infrastructure. We believe emerging, modern fabrics will enable the disaggregation of technologies and the custom reassembly of those resources into systems to best serve applications. Our goal is to simplify the intersection where orchestration capabilities meet the disaggregation of technologies, enabling hybrid cloud infrastructure to be shaped to the needs of modern applications. We also think new systems should evolve with new technologies without requiring any forklift upgrades and enable the adoption of technology in increments or all at once, whichever model suites the organizations apps and operational needs. New systems should then be combined with an operational model that can scale to provide visibility, optimization, and orchestration across a growing hybrid cloud landscape.

Meet the Cisco UCS X-Series Modular System

Our strategy has always been to focus on inflection points in the industry to understand what may be coming next and how to remove complexity at every layer to make it as easy as possible for our customers to deploy, scale, operate, and optimize infrastructure. A little over ten years ago we set out to simplify computing for the era of virtualization by unifying fabrics, abstracting management from the system, and creating a stateless architecture that could be defined through policy-based software templates. This enabled us to build a system that has lasted for more than 12 years (and still going), reducing TCO while deploying and scaling infrastructure faster than ever had been done in the past.

Our approach with UCS X-Series was to create a single system that is flexible enough to run almost any workload, modular in design to adapt to future technologies, and provide a consistent operational model for hybrid cloud environments. This would enable IT teams to standardize on a common system and operating model to better enable automation, increase agility, and improve operational efficiency.

Intersight Operated: We designed UCS X-Series from the ground up to be operated by Intersight, leveraging our policy-based software template approach to automate configuration and provisioning of every aspect of the system. We can manage any UCS-based form factors in a unified way with Intersight. However, modern applications are notoriously more dynamic, requiring different resource needs and constant monitoring and resource adjustment to keep them operating within response-time requirements. Intersight brings all the benefits of SaaS delivery and full lifecycle management to UCS X-Series by offering intelligent visualization, optimization, and orchestration of applications and infrastructure.

Adaptable Infrastructure: We engineered a versatile system that blends the storage capacity of rack servers with the efficiencies of a modular design to run the majority of workloads in the data center. This is a true modular, midplane-less design with no fixed decisions or tradeoffs. We’ve introduced UCS X-Fabric Technology, a revolutionary high-speed, PCIe-based fabric that enables compute node connectivity to future accelerator nodes, drive nodes, and memory nodes, enabling the assembly of modular components into systems to address the diverse needs of modern applications.

Future-Ready: We wanted to deliver long term investment protection by delivering an open, modular design that allows for the adoption of new technologies without any forklift upgrades. As new interconnects emerge (e.g., PCIe gen. 5, PCIe gen. 6 and CXL), it’s as simple as installing a new module. We have also engineered the packaging and power and cooling systems to enable larger nodes for more memory and drives and support for future higher power processors and accelerators.  We believe our new design will last for many years to come.  As these new innovations come to fruition and are incorporated into UCS X-Series, they don’t bring increased complexity, they are supported by a constant stream of software-as-a-service improvements from Cisco Intersight.

Solutions with technology partners

It was clear from the start that Cisco UCS X-Series would need to support workloads that include enterprise applications, VDI, AI/ML, virtualization farms, and containers. With a single system supporting a broader range of workloads you have fewer types of systems to manage, reducing cost and complexity. An example of UCS X-Series blurring the lines between racks and blades is our partnership with Cohesity where we are accelerating enterprise data management with a UCS X-Series Modular System coupled with Cohesity’s multicloud data platform software to deliver a high-performance, easy to scale solution.

Cisco already has the most comprehensive set of converged infrastructure partnerships in the industry with FlexPod, FlashStack and VxBlock. We’ll bring UCS X-Series to these solutions to help establish Converged Infrastructure as the new foundation for Hybrid Cloud. FlexPod and FlashStack customers will be able to manage both compute and storage through Cisco Intersight and thereby streamline operation of their converged infrastructure stacks. We’ll also extend the portfolio of Intersight services to bring hybrid cloud operations and cloud native services to those solutions.

Computing for the next decade

We’re in the midst of the biggest refresh and transformation of our UCS, HyperFlex, and Intersight portfolio in our history. As you have seen from us over the last several months, the innovation engine at Cisco is moving at warp speed. Every single part of the portfolio is getting better. We’re leveraging our ecosystem of partners and Cisco CX services to help accelerate UCS X-Series adoption. Lastly, with Cisco Plus, we couldn’t be more excited to bring as-a-service to the table, providing customers flexible consumption models to simplify the buying and operational experience.

We believe IT must free itself from the burden of managing massive complexity in order to keep up. It means being poised to support the future while supporting today’s modern applications. Un/Box that future with Cisco UCS X-Series Modular System powered by Intersight and embrace an adaptable, future-ready system engineered to simplify IT and innovate at the speed of software.

Keep watching this space for more insights as we take a closer look as different aspects of the new UCS X-Series over the coming months.  In the meantime, here are a few places to check out for more information.

Learn more at: www.cisco.com/go/ucsx

Watch the UCS X-Series webinar



Siva Sivakumar

Senior Director

Computing System Platforms Group