Cisco reports progress with UCS

Weeks after first customer shipment, an update with a customer

Cisco hosted a Cisco TV session this week to provide a glimpse into the progress it is making with its Unified Computing System, which began shipping in June. A few more users have emerged for the system: Resorts World in Singapore, Taser Virtual Systems in Santa Barbara, CA, and construction management company Tutor Perini Corp.

Tutor Perini participated in the Cisco TV session and provided a progress report on its UCS deployment and rationale for choosing it. Tutor is looking to consolidate five data centers into one within an eight month period. The company is also looking to reduce IT costs in the new data center, maximize virtualization to optimize resources and simplify management, among other needs.

Cisco UCS apparently met these needs by reducing the costs associated with power, cabling, switches and adapters, and by optimizing Tutor Perini's VMware environment, officials from the construction company said. Tutor officials did acknowledge, however, some concern in acquiring a blade server system from a networking company. But those concerns were rectified by the fact that Cisco is an established player entering a new market -- not a start-up.

Tutor to date has implemented four UCS chassis and 22 blades in the new data center, and migrated one of the older data centers. The company says it is realizing 90% utilization of its server processors, reducing footprint by 60%, power consumption by 38% and supporting a 4X increase in virtual machines per VMware ESX host. Tutor expects ROI in three years.

A compelling example indeed. Still, there are some UCS detractors. This post by Anders Bylund at TheStreet.com says Cisco's made a "bone-headed decision" in developing and marketing UCS as a competitive product to those from channel partners IBM and HP, which together account -- or accounted -- for roughly $2 billion in revenue annually for Cisco.

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