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March 16, 2009



I look forward to seeing one of these systems up and running, but unfortunately it looks like it'll be several years before something like this becomes available to companies with less than $1 million per year IT budgets.

Indeed, I wonder if it will ever be deployed by anyone outside the super-large enterprises - will everyone else go directly to the Amazon style cloud environments?

Mark Cathcart

Ewan, then I suspect you'll see something before you think, only it won't be coming from Cisco and will be based on real industry standard parts. 10gb ethernet is much more than just Cisco, and while the press loves a battle, technologists really like solving problems, and there are plenty of people and companies out there solving problems that work with and without Cisco.

Chuck Hollis

Hi Mark (of Dell?)

No argument -- really.

First, it's not just about 10Gb enet -- there's far more to this picture if you go look closelet.

Second, you're right, there are a few "secret sauce" parts in this architecture, but I see them as "pre-standard" rather than the basis of the business model.

Someone's gotta innovate out there to get the party started -- and that's what I see from the Cisco UCS announcement.

Thanks for writing!

Mark Cathcart

Yes Chuck, agreed, 10gb ethernet is the entry technology that enables this though, the low latency and no packet drop, are the start point for some very interesting changes in direction. However there are other issues that need to be solved.

For example, at 40gb ethernet, why put memory in servers where it is isolated and can't be shared, but still sucks power? Why not make memory a "server" on its own? Sure you'll always need high speed memory in the core or close by, but a 40gb, close is relative. Rather than think flash drive inside the server, think shared memory cache on the data center network, and on. Time to rethink the server?

Theres much more to the future than just the fact that Cisco are moving into the server, and much more to be lost in the industry if we silo the technology. So, like you, I can only hope these are pre-standard.

And yes, I used my work email address, read back through recent blog posts, you'll get the picture!

Chuck Hollis

Server memory as a global shared resource? Moving beyond classic SMP? Now that's worth considering ...

Although -- regardless of the technology and the economics -- convincing people that processor and memory are better off seperated, well, there's some serious evangelism work to consider.

Kind of the same evangelism work EMC and I did back in the mid 1990s to convince people that servers and storage should be separated :-)

-- Chuck

Jerry Thornton

I agree with you Chuck; we're seeing "open" system computing finally catching up to the mainframe world, at least in hardware terms. Now, if open systems would just get their processes nailed down and in place, then they'd really have something...

Dominic Rivera

Datacenter ethernet is available through a number of vendors, and plugging that into a backplane like HP's VirtualConnect or Flex-10 modules is essentially the same thing. Having virtualized ethernet and storage adapters is very cool, but not unique to Cisco.

It also remains unclear if Cisco is positioned well to be a tier 1 server vendor. Cisco has really been hyping California as something new and revolutionary, but it seems like it's just an entry point into the blade market for them with some new(ish) technology.

Maybe the devil is in the details... would be nice to see some.

Chuck Hollis

Hi Dominic -- I don't think that Cisco was able to provide full detail with the announcment today. Many of us at EMC have a better view of the bigger picture, so I'd encourage you to wait a bit until some of the other pieces fall into place ...

Jaipuk Sedarak

Cisco might be looking to buy a storage vendor next! ;)

Paul Stamp

Couldn't agree more about RSA stuff too, Chuck. We're pretty excited too, and think it has a big impact in the security world



Cisco's offering looks still like FrankenComputingSystem to me...

Chuck Hollis

Everyone's welcome to their opinion, which is good.

To me, it's the single most elegant large-scale computing architecture I've seen in more than a decade.

We'll see what people think in a year or so, no?

Alexander R. Povolotsky

Does Cisco's "Unified Computing System " -
mean that Cisco feels that routing (and telecomm in general) products market got saturated and there is only way to expand further - is to go into applications/computing ?

Would it be the same market saturation soon for data storage applications ;-) ?

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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