Cisco Designs UCS X-Series and Intersight Servers for Hybrid Cloud

Cisco’s next-generation UCS servers and Intersight software are designed for hybrid and multi-cloud environments. The company also laid the groundwork for eventually supporting the pooling of disaggregated compute, storage, and memory resources, an approach similar to HPE’s composable infrastructure.

Cisco’s new UCS X-Series servers, announced Wednesday, will ship with Intersight, which IT can use to manage both private data centers and public cloud resources. Hybrid cloud management software is no longer optional as modern applications run in multiple types of environments, DD Dasgupta, Cisco vice president of product management for cloud and compute, told DCK. .

“We’re not just going to build the biggest, worst server on the market,” he said. “It needs to be integrated into a customer’s cloud strategy from day one, which is why we’ve made Intersight mandatory, so on-premise server equipment doesn’t stay on an island. “

The new Cisco UCS X-Series architecture supports distributed applications and combines the advantages of rack and blade servers, the company said.

Disaggregated resource pools

Going forward, the X-Series framework combined with Intersight will allow users to pool compute resources, such as CPUs or GPUs, memory, or storage across multiple server nodes. This will allow them to provide the mix of resources that every application needs, Dasgupta said.

The Cisco UCS X-Series architecture will allow the company to enter the emerging market for composable disaggregated infrastructure, said Ashish Nadkarni, vice president of IDC’s infrastructure systems, platforms and technologies group.

“Basically what Cisco is doing is creating a composable infrastructure. They are laying the groundwork for disintegration to occur in hardware, ”Nadkarni told DCK.

Composable infrastructure breaks up hardware into fluid pools of compute, storage, and networking resources. It allows businesses to provision on-premises infrastructure resources as if they were using a public cloud service. It is said to save money and improve efficiency through better use of resources.

Composable disaggregated infrastructure is the next step in the evolution of converged and hyperconverged systems, Nadkarni said.

While hyperconverged infrastructure only works on hypervisors, composable infrastructure allows organizations to run on hypervisors, containers on bare metal, and any application on bare metal without any restrictions, he said.

Established players and startups are tackling the emerging composable infrastructure market, which IDC estimates will reach $ 4.7 billion in revenue by 2023.

Dell and HPE introduced composable infrastructure products several years ago, while startup Fungible launched its own composable data center equipment in March. VMware also recognized the market opportunity by pursuing its own composable disaggregated infrastructure through its Project Monterey initiative.

Cisco UCS X-Series designed to support “all workloads”

Cisco UCS X-Series servers will support two future arrays that will enable hardware disaggregation: CXL and Gen-Z. These high bandwidth, ultra-low latency interconnects will connect processors, GPUs or other accelerators and memory, Nadkarni said.

The chassis is designed without a midplane, which removes limitations on scalability and future interconnect technology, the company said.

The result: Cisco UCS X-Series servers eliminate the old dilemma of whether businesses should buy rack servers or blade servers for specific application needs, Dasgupta said.

For example, some applications, such as big data, machine learning, or archiving, perform better on rack servers because they may require more storage or memory, while other applications perform better on blade servers. , forcing companies to manage a mixed environment. The new UCS X-Series servers support all workloads with the best possible performance, Dasgupta said.

“We take the guesswork out of it. We have a uniform architecture that can support all workloads.

The Cisco UCS X-Series servers can be ordered now and will ship in July, the company said.

New Intersight software, integration with ThousandEyes

Cisco’s software announcements on Wednesday include three new offerings within its SaaS Intersight family of tools:

  • Intersight Cloud Orchestrator. A workflow designer, available now, that allows IT administrators to create and automate workflows through a drag-and-drop interface.
  • Intersight Workload Engine. This provides an abstraction layer on top of Cisco’s hardware, enabling virtualized, containerized, and bare metal workloads, and in the future, serverless workloads, Dasgupta said. It serves as the Cisco operating system for Hyperflex, providing consistent SaaS management, the company said.
  • Cisco Service Mesh Manager. This is a new extension of the Intersight Kubernetes service, which allows businesses to easily install and manage Kubernetes in a hybrid cloud environment. Cisco Service Mesh Engineer enables the management of microservices, such as applying policies between them, Dasgupta said.

Cisco also announced that it will integrate its ThousandEyes network monitoring tool with Cisco Nexus 9000 data center switches and the Cisco Catalyst 8000 Edge series for SD-WAN devices. Cisco acquired the ThousandEyes startup last year.

Cisco also said that Nexus Dashboard Orchestrator and Cisco Cloud ACI will support Google Cloud this fall.

Cisco Services Mesh Manager and ThousandEyes integration with SD-WAN equipment will be available in Q3 2021. Cisco Intersight Workload Engine and ThousandEyes integration with Nexus switches will be available in Q4.

Stay cloud neutral and innovate in hardware

Dasgupta said there were two key messages in Cisco’s announcements on Wednesday. First of all, Cisco is cloud neutral. The company’s strategy is to enable customers to use on-premises hardware, access public clouds, and manage hybrid cloud environments with software that offers full observability, automation and security, has t -he declares.

“The second thing is that when it comes to hybrid cloud, innovation cannot be limited to software. You have to keep innovating on the physical infrastructure, that’s where you see UCS X-Series, ”he says. “This is the best server built for the hybrid cloud era. “

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