Feeds

Cisco pitches new world server order

The California School of Economics

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

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.

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Attack of the clones: Oracle's latest Red Hat Linux lookalike arrives
Oracle's Linux boss says Larry's Linux isn't just for Oracle apps anymore
THUD! WD plonks down SIX TERABYTE 'consumer NAS' fatboy
Now that's a LOT of porn or pirated movies. Or, you know, other consumer stuff
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
FLAPE – the next BIG THING in storage
Find cold data with flash, transmit it from tape
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.