Cisco UCS: A Let Down; All eyes on Big Blue

Today Cisco launched the third piece to their datacenter 3.0 strategy by unveiling Unified Computing System (UCS). UCS is a essentially a fancy name for a blade server built upon Intel’s new Nedhalem processor platform. Cisco believes by wrapping the datacenter in a web of UCS, Unified Fabric, and good old fashioned networking all managed by the UCS manager will redefine scalability, flexibility, and TCO within a a datacenter and beyond.

Perhaps the innovator’s dilemma has finally caught up with Cisco because I expected more from them then simply launching a blade system with the Cisco badge on the bezel. Why not truly unify switching, routing, server, and storage under a single chassis? Why not unify the backplane for speed and efficiency while offering breath-taking performance and value on a per square foot basis?

Instead it looks as if the old one-stop-shopping theory of purchasing is in full effect. Of course, you’ll be able to manage everything from the UCS Manager. If that was the case, why is BMC in the picture? As Cisco doesn’t have a great track record of software, is this any different?

Cisco is an amazing company with an extremely talented executive management and engineering teams. They are in a truly unique position to change the world as networking, storage, servers, applications, and transport all become one. However, the challenge is how to make this transformation without opening the door for their competitors as they move from the Catalyst to the Nexus. This announcement and product launch is too cautious for the risk taking Chambers we’ve all come to love or hate.

Now, let’s wait and see what IBM’s got up their sleeve to combat his new entrant to the blade market. Do they have another SNA up their sleeve?


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