Cisco Canada Blog

What you need to know about Cisco’s Unified Computing System

January 19, 2012

We’re thrilled that over 10,000 Cisco customers worldwide have now deployed a data centre solution based on Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS). With customers across all vertical markets and industries, we are thrilled that momentum is clearly building for UCS amongst our customer and partner communities on a global scale. Since UCS was launched in 2009 it has also been met with great enthusiasm within Canada where we now boast well over 350 customers, including Sheridan College, Symcor Inc., University of Montreal and The Brick.

Richard Hannah, senior vice-president of Information Services and CIO of The Brick Group, shared his thoughts on the benefits of UCS and makes it an effective solution for Canadian businesses within a variety of different industries, including retail:

“The Cisco Unified Computing System has allowed us to remain competitive in the challenging retail industry by providing us with the necessary high-availability and centralized business tools to consistently deliver exceptional customer service. We are now able to run our contact center and communications systems effortlessly. UCS also serves as the ideal foundation for our data center virtualization initiatives by consolidating our server infrastructure, reducing the number of physical servers, increasing our agility and speed for provisioning new compute/network/virtualization services as well as lowering facility and operations costs. In addition, the scalability and flexibility of the solution allows us to bring new services on board quickly, efficiently and reliably as we continue to evolve our retail strategy to meet new customer demands.”

So why is UCS one of the most exciting Cisco offerings currently on the market? UCS offers many advantages over the traditional data centre architecture, but the key benefit is what we call a “clean slate” architectural approach. That is, UCS is a scalable, modular architecture that is managed as a single, cohesive system, seamlessly integrating compute, network, storage access and virtualization resources.

What does this mean to our customers? Put simply, UCS is an entirely new approach to the data centre that reduces overall cost, simplifies management and increases data centre agility.

Part of this new approach is unified fabric. UCS’ fabric computing platform combines industry-standard, x86-architecture servers with networking and storage access into a single, converged system. This means customers with traditional data centres can greatly reduce physical equipment such as network adapters, switches and cables, and servers. Not only does this provide customers with a streamlined system that is easier to maintain, less equipment and less cabling means less power consumption, for a more efficient, environmentally and cost-friendly use of energy.

UCS also has the advantage of ease of use. Because management is uniquely integrated into all the components of the system, including server, network and storage, the entire solution can be managed as a single, highly available entity that truly comes together as a simple environment for its users. There’s a fantastic ability to quickly and easily replicate service profiles, allowing customers to duplicate perfected servers in a matter of minutes instead of days.

I had the chance to talk to Ed Vos, president and CEO of OnX Enterprise Solutions, a Cisco Gold partner, last week about how his Canadian customers are using UCS to improve their business. Here’s what he had to say:

“UCS is an ideal virtualization platform for rapid provisioning of resources. Our customers who have implemented UCS in conjunction with the Cisco Nexus switching platforms have seen a significant and measurable decrease in the amount of time it takes to deliver capability and capacity to their respective business units. Provisioning new computing resources that used to take months is now taking days. A second benefit that we have noticed with our larger customers adopting UCS is that traditional silos are being broken. The storage, networking and computing teams are now working closer together to address the challenges of the business vs. individual infrastructure systems. End-to-End architectures are being developed around the capabilities of UCS and Nexus to provide secure and scalable capabilities to respond quickly to new business opportunities.”

Canadian companies are constantly looking for innovative, scalable technologies that can grow and evolve with their business and adapt to new business strategies. UCS delivers this flexibility.

Thank-you to our Canadian UCS customers. We are delighted with the customer momentum we’ve achieved in just a few years and will continue to bring our new approach to computing across the country.

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