Feeds

Cisco pitches new world server order

The California School of Economics

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

If you had to sum up the sales pitch that Cisco Systems is polishing up as it prepares to deliver its "California" Unified Computer System, it would look something like this: California will save you money, even if we charge a premium for server capacity.

Cisco, of course, has not admitted that it will in fact charge a premium for its B Series server blades, but it is hard to imagine that they will not be expensive considering the amount of stuff Cisco has packed onto them and the fact that Cisco will be a low-volume provider of blade servers (at least for a couple of years).

Like some other venerable systems - I am thinking here of IBM's AS/400 minicomputer, the touchstone of integration - Cisco appears to be pitching the total cost of ownership (TCO) benefits of an integrated system as a means to get people to pay a premium. But because this is 2009 and not 1988, there is also a consolidation factor at play that actually will save customers money, according to Cisco's own analysis.

The consolidation of networks is, as you would expect, a big piece of the California system story. Here's the basic idea, graphically, from Cisco:

Cisco California Economics 1

You basically put the server and network management out right where you'd expect Cisco to put it, in the top-of-the-rack in the UCS 6100 fabric interconnect switch. This is a variant of Cisco's Nexus 5000 switch, which combines Ethernet network traffic with Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) to link out to storage. Add in some optimized virtualization (and the Nexus 1000V virtual switch, which is called VN-Link sometimes), and then you rip out a whole bunch of cables, switches, adapters, and server management co-processors. Cisco says this means there is half as much support infrastructure to support blade servers the way that current generations of blades require.

The money adds up pretty fast according to Cisco. In a presentation that the company is sharing with prospects, Cisco put together some numbers on a 320-blade setup, which is the maximum size that a single California system spans with a 40-port fabric interconnect (that's 40 chassis with a maximum of eight half-width blades). Take a gander:

Cisco California Economics 2

Using a "legacy" blade server, the setup cost $21m, including servers, chassis, switches, and so forth, (No storage, apparently, except possibly local storage on the blades). That blade server setup required 31 racks and 3,520 cables to get the blades connected to switches and storage, and it burned $800,000 on power and cooling over the course of three years.

Cisco says it can deliver a similar 320-server California system for $12m - a 43 per cent reduction on capital expenditures - and cut the power and cooling bill over three years by 19 per cent to $650,000. The California system takes up only 12 racks of space and uses only 480 cables. That is a huge reduction in cabling, more than the reduction that commercial blade server makers say they can bring compared to rack servers and their external switches.

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast
USB-usiness in the front, micro-USB party in the back
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
BOFH: Oh DO tell us what you think. *CLICK*
$%%&amp Oh dear, we've been cut *CLICK* Well hello *CLICK* You're breaking up...
AMD's 'Seattle' 64-bit ARM server chips now sampling, set to launch in late 2014
But they won't appear in SeaMicro Fabric Compute Systems anytime soon
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Microsoft builds teleporter weapon to send VMware into Azure
Updated Virtual Machine Converter now converts Linux VMs too
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.