New Cisco servers embrace hybrid cloud

Cisco UCS X-Series servers have a new architecture that supports blade- and rack-server features to simplify data centers and come loaded with management software to unify hybrid cloud environments.

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Cisco has added a new class of servers to its Unified Computing System that are more flexible and outfitted with management software geared to hybrid cloud.

The UCS X-Series is the first major redisign since UCS hit the market in 2009. The company says the modular hardware architecture is future-proofed because it can accomodate new generations of processors, storage, nonvolatile memory, accelerators, and interconnects as they come along. Prior UCS chassis were either blade systems for power efficiency or rack systems for expandability, but the UCS X-Series combines both in the same chassis.

This means the single server type is able to support a broader range of tasks, from virtualized workloads, traditional enterprise applications, and databases to private cloud and cloud-native applications. The individual modules are interconnected into a fabric that can support IP networking, Fibre Channel SAN, and management connectivity.

Cisco says it moved the UCS X-Series management from the network into the cloud, and offers intelligent visualization, optimization, and orchestration applications and infrastructure. It also integrates third-party devices including storage from NetApp, Pure Storage, and Hitachi.

Intersight Cloud Orcestrator

The X-Series isn’t just hardware. It comes with a suite of new software, starting with Cisco Intersight Cloud Orchestrator, a low-code, automation framework that can simplify complex workflows.

There is also the Intersight Cloud Orchestrator workflow designer that can create and automate workflows through a drag-and-drop interface.

Intersight Workload Engine provides a layer of abstraction on top of Cisco’s hardware, allowing for virtualized, containerized, and bare-metal workloads. It supports Kubernetes and Kernel-based virtual machine (KVM) foundation using container-native virtualization.

Finally, there is Cisco Service Mesh Manager, an extension to the Intersight Kubernetes Service that can install and manage Kubernetes across hybrid-cloud environments that span on-prem and in the cloud.

Cisco also announced Cloud ACI for AWS, Azure and Google Cloud, with general availability in the fall of 2021. The Cloud ACI common policy and operating model is meant to reduce the cost and complexity of managing hybrid and multicloud deployments.

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