Last week Cisco significantly expanded its Unified Computing System (UCS) converged infrastructure portfolio in a launch event in New York City on Thursday, which as press noted several times, marks “the most significant technology announcement from Cisco this year.”

Feedback from press was extremely positive, and UCS GM Paul Perez said it all during his interview with TheStreet.com: “Momentum is accelerating at UCS. This is the biggest Cisco announcement to make all year from a tech perspective and the biggest since UCS’ inception since 2009.”

Perez also commented to TheStreet.com, “We are expanding the UCS portfolio; we are addressing more of the total available market in unified computing.” And to Don Clark of the Wall Street Journal, “Our goal is to be No. 1 in computing worldwide.”

And IDC analyst Matt Eastwood says that’s not hype. He told Light Reading, “They’re making a play for the bigger part of the market,” he says. The first generation of UCS was targeted to enterprises and service providers moving to virtualization. “They’re recognizing today that not all workload is virtualized.”

Some reporters even commented on the influence this UCS announcement had on Cisco’s overall business.

Quentin Hardy of the New York Times called the new UCS infrastructure “impressive new products” and in the process, commented that Cisco “may be trying to change the conversation about itself.” Paul Perez also told Hardy, “We always think of ourselves as being in the computing market. I like to think of U.C.S. as the substrate on which the rest of Cisco is built.”

Investors Business Data referenced recent comments by John Chambers in Cisco’s most recent earnings call, and cited data showing “UCS is a major driver of Cisco’s data center revenue, one of its fastest-growing businesses. The company’s UCS revenue jumped 30% in fiscal Q4 ended July 26 vs. the year-earlier quarter, Cisco CEO John Chambers said in the company’s Aug. 13 earnings conference call with analysts. Its overall revenue was flat, at $12.4 billion. The company’s UCS business now has an annual revenue run rate of more than $3 billion, Chambers said during the call.”

eWeek also echoed comments made by Chambers during that call that foreshadowed the UCS launch to come: “The innovation pipeline is very strong, and you should expect to see announcements in the fall that we’ll continue to accelerate our momentum with UCS and add to our competitive advantage.”

The products announced last week were simplified by Hardy in the Times: “the new products included U.C.S. machines for cloud service providers and big companies that want to deploy lots of applications; servers with lots of data storage for analytics or delivering media. The list also included a combination server, storage and networking box for running a computing system in a remote location while managing it from a central point, and powerful computers for data analysis and heavy workloads.”

Bloomberg Businessweek also reported on how UCS “unveiled two categories of machines used to run corporate networks: a server aimed at Internet and telecommunications companies and other price-conscious cloud-computing operators and an all-in-one version for small businesses, branch offices and retailers.”

Paul Perez told Peter Burrows at Bloomberg Businessweek, “The competition is going to freak out, because they’re not expecting all of this from us.”

For background, since its inception in 2009, Datacenter Dynamics notes, “Cisco’s Unified Computing System has been a storming success, boosting Cisco from nowhere to number three in the highly competitive blade server market, with $3 billion a year in revenues. The next step is to diversify – and recent UCS announcements are hitting on the hottest parts of the market.”

Or as Jeff Burt from eWeek put it, “Cisco Systems has been aggressive in remaking itself from a maker of networking boxes to an enterprise IT solutions and services vendor that touches essentially every area of the data center.”

Regarding the new products, Kristin Bent from CRN wrote, “the M-Series, according to Cisco, is a redefinition of server architectures that “leapfrogs” anything in the market today and brings everything Cisco does from a management and policy perspective to the density space. ‘This really kind of fundamentally breaks apart what a server is and recombines it in a better way for scale-out computing,’ UCS marketing director Todd Brannon said.”

Mike Vizard from IT Business Edge continued on the new additions to the UCS portfolio: The Cisco UCS Mini, meanwhile, is an extension of the existing Cisco UCS architecture that is optimized to run in remote offices or to process workloads associated with Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Rather than constantly shipping data back over the network to be processed in a data center, Brannon says the Cisco Mini is designed allow organizations to build a distributed framework for processing data based on a common Cisco UCS server architecture.

Mitch Wagner from Light Reading also chimed in on the new UCS Mini: “Cisco’s new UCS Mini blade server is designed to put compute power out near the network edge. Where traditional rack servers are optimized for enterprise scale, with hundreds of servers, the Mini is optimized for installations of about 15 servers or less. ‘For IT, it’s a small package of enterprise-grade computing they can put in remote sites,’ Brannon says. IT can manage the server remotely, as if it were located in the data center. In addition to edge-scale computing, the Mini is also designed for midmarket customers. ‘In any environment where the customer only has a handful of servers, what the customer wants is simplicity,’ Brannon says.”

Channel partners weighed in as well on the announcement. CRN’s Kristin Bent wrote, “Jerry McIntosh, senior vice president of advanced technology sales at ePlus, a Herndon, Va.-based solution provider and Cisco Gold partner, said the major advantage of Cisco’s M-Series is that it allows customers to scale out applications without the ’headache” or cost of having to invest in additional infrastructure. ‘It gives customers the flexibility to scale out applications with a more efficient infrastructure approach,’ McIntosh told CRN. ‘It means they’ve got less network and cabling headaches to deal with inside the data center in order to scale out. Cisco has built strong synergies into the way the platform leverages their existing fabric within the data center.”

More positive commentary came from the likes of ZDNet: “Todd Brannon, director of UCS product management, said Cisco is launching its ‘biggest tranche of new technology’ since the server line first launched. Brannon said UCS is setting itself up for the computing requirements needed for the Internet of things, sensors, smart devices, mobility, big data and the democratization of high performance computing. ‘We’re confident we’re becoming the No. 1 systems vendor with UCS,’ said Brannon.”

To summarize you can’t get any better than the description by industry pundit, Steve Wexler, who called the announcement “ a watershed moment for UCS, which makes it a watershed moment for Cisco:” “Cisco Serves Notice: No More Mr. Nice Guy!”


Ben Stricker

Senior Public Relations Manager

Cisco UCS