Cisco UCS B230 M2 Blade Server - blade - no CPU - 0 GB

Mfg.Part: B230-BASE-M2UPG | CDW Part: 2400676 | UNSPSC: 43211501
Product Details
  • Server
  • blade
  • 2-way
  • no CPU
  • RAM 0 GB
  • SAS
  • hot-swap 2.5" bay(s)
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Cisco UCS B230 M2 Blade Server - blade - no CPU - 0 GB
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Main Features
  • Server
  • blade
  • 2-way
  • no CPU
  • RAM 0 GB
  • SAS
  • hot-swap 2.5" bay(s)
  • no HDD
  • Matrox G200
  • monitor: none
The Cisco UCS B230 M2 Blade Server is one of the industry's highest-density two-socket blade server platforms. It is a critical building block in the Cisco Unified Computing System portfolio, offering compact performance for enterprise-critical applications within the Cisco Unified Computing System architecture. It is an excellent choice for IT departments that are looking for ways to increase computing performance and memory capacity while getting the most value from the available space in their data centers.

The Cisco UCS B230 M2 further extends the capabilities of the Cisco Unified Computing System by delivering some levels of performance, energy efficiency, reliability and security for mission-critical applications in a virtualized environment.
Cisco UCS B230 M2 Blade Server - blade - no CPU - 0 MB is rated4.50 out of5 by6.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I can connect it to multiple chassis and rack servers using a unified platform, then manage them on a single consoleWhat is our primary use case?We use it for computing and virtualization. All the blade servers are used for database uploads.We are a system integrator. So, we sell multiple type of software and hardware solutions. We implement solutions and provide support.We have multiple versions of the solution currently running. It depends on our customer.How has it helped my organization?The overall consolidation of hardware is helping us.What is most valuable?* Manageability* PerformanceI can connect Cisco UCS B-Series to multiple chassis and rack servers using a unified platform, then manage them on a single console.For how long have I used the solution?More than five years.What do I think about the stability of the solution?The solution is stable. We haven't encounter any failures or problems in these particular servers. We have had three to four years without any downtime happening.How are customer service and technical support?The technical support is good from Cisco. The type of service level purchase will determine the level of support response that you receive from Cisco.How was the initial setup?The setup is a bit complex in terms of configuration. While as an admin or an end user, it is very easy to use. The configuration is a bit complex, as it requires very high technical expertise to apply it.What about the implementation team?We are the integrator. We use two engineers for the deployment.The time for deployment depends customer to customer and the number of servers that we deploy. For example, our last deployment took three days.It requires some basic configuration, then you can just plug and play.Which other solutions did I evaluate?We still have multiple vendors that we work with. It depends on the customer requirements whom we select to work with.We work with this solution because we find that the technology is superior to others.We have also evaluated Dell EMC blade and rack servers, along with Cisco rack servers.What other advice do I have?Our customers are very happy people.Disclaimer: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:Partner and system integrator.
Date published: 2019-04-07T00:00:00-04:00
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The most valuable feature is the UCS Manager which integrates everything.What is most valuable?The most valuable feature is the UCS Manager which integrates everything.Java and HTML 5 base admin console is now availableHow has it helped my organization?Its provisioning and ease of management have improved our functioning.What needs improvement?Power Options for setting up Grid needs to have further customization.N+1 for power supply is not applicable in some data centersFor how long have I used the solution?I've used it for 3 years.What was my experience with deployment of the solution?We've had no issues with deployment.What do I think about the stability of the solution?We've had no issues with stability.N+1 for powersupply is not applicable on grid type data centersWhat do I think about the scalability of the solution?It's highly scalable. With everything set up, downtime is never an issue when adding blades.How is customer service and technical support?Cisco has been very supportive to us, as well as the partnersHow was the initial setup?A bit complex since using the FI was new to us.What about the implementation team?Vendor team were very helpful and was able to train us to use and manage the system.What other advice do I have?We used a Versa Stack solution so compute and storage was a breeze once setup was done.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2016-02-14T00:00:00-05:00
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Benefits includes scalability, flexibility, and the fact it takes less time to deploy. There were stability issues in previous firmware versions.Valuable Features* Remote Access to the device* Ability to scale to different servers* Centralized managementImprovements to My OrganizationCustomers and organizations are benefited by its scalability, flexibility, and the fact it takes less time to deploy.Use of SolutionI've used it for almost one year.Deployment IssuesIn most of our deployments, no issues were encountered.Stability IssuesThe product is stable (with new versions of the firmware), although previous versions were having some issue with stability.Scalability IssuesIn most of our deployments, no issues were encountered.Customer Service and Technical SupportVery satisfied with the level of technical support from TAC.Previous SolutionsWe were using HP Servers but switched due to it having better features and scalability.Initial SetupThe initial setup is straightforward, and a of lot technical documents are also available from Cisco to help.Implementation TeamWe have implemented it through our own team in-house.ROIIt's a win-win situation for both customers and vendors due to its features.Other Solutions ConsideredBefore we had to look for other options, but now we just check the different versions of the product checking the features.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.We are a Cisco Gold Certified Company.
Date published: 2015-10-27T00:00:00-04:00
Rated 5 out of 5 by from We use it in the converged infrastructure to push out profiles, firmware, and console access.What is most valuable?We are using it in the converged infrastructure with the common UCS Manager to push out:* Profiles* Firmware* Console access* VLAN configurations* TroubleshootingHow has it helped my organization?Running in the VCE Vblock gives us the flexibility to deploy a large virtual workload of servers. We use a mix of mainly Windows servers and a few Linux appliances.I had one blade server fail. The replacement was up and operating quickly after the blade server was swapped over.What needs improvement?Smaller locations are held up where they use a pair of converged infrastructure interfaces for redundancy.To deploy a standard Cisco Blade system with redundancy for maintenance and reliability you have to purchase two converged infrastructure 6296 or 6396 interface / switches, and the chassis, uplink interfaces, plus the blade servers to drop in one or more blade chassis. From my point of view the initial cost to do this for a small regional office where we usually have the computer in a dedicated network closet for the switches and servers.Cisco does now have a “Mini” solution where they have put the converged infrastructure and management into the chassis via the slots where the uplink interfaces normally install. This setup can support multiple blades and even external C series chassis in a converged environment all sharing some form of external storage from what I have read but never used or experienced.Most of my companies need is for data distribution from a file sharing server(s), a domain controller and possibly a local database server. I can cover this all in one 2U server from another company that I can cram in 3-6 TB of DAS / RAID disks for file storage with enough RAM and CPU cores in 2 sockets to cover my compute / VM needs.My demands for servers in most remote sites are different than most. Our end-users all have either a laptop or powerful CAD workstation to do their engineering on. We don’t do VDI via VDI terminals. We do use VDI for engineering apps in 2D on our VBlock and in C-Series UCS servers with NVidia shared video cards for CAD / 3D rendering in our VDI pools.For how long have I used the solution?The original M2 servers were in operation for more than five years. The new M4s have been up for under a year.What do I think about the stability of the solution?There was only one server failure during my use of 24 blades in my old system. There were 20 blades in my new/replacement implementation. In reality, this is a small installation.What do I think about the scalability of the solution?We have not encountered any scalability issues. We added blades and upgraded memory along the way. We had open slots in the chassis and added additional blades. We upgraded the RAM in existing systems for more VM headroom.How is customer service and technical support?There were no issues with technical support, as most was handled via VCE.Which solutions did we use previously?We had standalone 2U servers from HPE that were tied to a SAN for shared storage.Limited memory expansion was what we had previously. We did dual Vblock installations to absorb the multiple little clusters of VM hosts that we had on separate servers.We still use HPE servers as standalone VMware hosts in smaller sites.The newer generation HPE servers have very high disk capacity servers where we can get 3 TB of disk in a 2U host.How was the initial setup?The Vblock system was installed and operational at handover. We had to provide IP ranges for servers, management interfaces, etc. However, the VCE installation teams did the actual configurations of the hosts, SAN, and network connectivity.What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?Although I was not completely involved in the pricing or licensing costs, I do have to monitor licensing allocation of VMware CPU licenses.I know that Cisco licenses the number of ports and uplinks on various interfaces inside the Vblock. However, we have not done any upgrades beyond our initial purchase of the replacement Vblocks to run into any new licensing additions.Which other solutions did I evaluate?We looked at other considerations, such as BladeSystem from HPE and standalone server stacks, at least five years ago when we purchased the original set of Vblocks.It was the only integrated system that fit our needs. It filled the requirement for new computing power, an updated network, and SAN storage. It also filled the expansion possibilities of a data center in a box with almost one point of contact for support.What other advice do I have?Look closely at your needs.* Do you need more computing power and memory or storage expansion possibility?* Do you need redundancy in installation sites HA/DRS?* If you do HA/DRS, does it need to be near real-time disk writes, or more managed recovery/failover?Disclaimer: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:We are one of the few that had the arrangement to actually purchase the VBlock directly from VCE and not via a 3rd party VAR as when the original systems were put out for bid. After we had done all the specification with the VCE configuration team the VAR tried to tack on a percentage for passing the order from them to VCE and it almost canceled the whole system.
Date published: 2017-03-27T00:00:00-04:00
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Remote access to the server is very useful but the RAID controllers lack a lot of functionalityValuable FeaturesProbably the Cisco Integrated Management Controller.Improvements to My OrganizationRemote access to the server is very useful.Room for ImprovementThey use LSI for their RAID, while they may be robust RAID controllers, they lack a lot of functionality that Adaptec or HP Smart array.Use of SolutionTwo years.Deployment IssuesThe LSI controller is very "finiky", even though it had deployment software, the only way to successfully configure the RAID was via the boot command line.Stability IssuesNo, we haven't had issues post setup.Scalability IssuesProbably the RAID card really limits what the servers are capable of if you require storage.Customer Service and Technical SupportI haven't needed to deal with technical support yet.Previous SolutionsWe use this as a potential alternative for HP ProLiant servers.Initial SetupThere are some quirks in the setup (e.g. for non Disk servers, you need to go into the CIMC to enable the SD Card for HyperVisor Installs, not the BIOS) but generally its fairly straight forward.ROIWe haven't had a full life span on the Cisco UCS but so far we have not had to do nearly as much firmware maintenance as the HP Servers.Other Solutions ConsideredNo but we have used HP for a number of years and IBM before that.Other AdviceThese are good servers for SAN environments, I think their Disks (RAID) need a lot of improvement before you consider them as a storage server.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2015-01-27T00:00:00-05:00
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Power for Unified computing and State less ServersValuable FeaturesCentralized Management using UCS Manager, and State less Servers.Improvements to My OrganizationScalability, Flexibility to reuse the same Server with different projects multiple OS (VMware ESXi / Centos, Microsoft Windows) just in minutes by creating new service profiles.Room for ImprovementStability of some of the old versions has afew bugs. Although I have to mention that Cisco has been releasing revised versions of Firmware very quickly to fix the bugs.Use of SolutionMore then one yearDeployment IssuesNo, but Cisco UCS is a complex system, it is very easy to deploy if you have the knowledge and understanding of the product, I have recently commissioned a new Cisco UCS Datacenter after all the rack and stack its very easy to manage the product via Cisco UCS Manager.Stability IssuesSome of the version of firmware does have issues but Cisco is very good at fixing the bugs and giving new firmware versions.Scalability IssuesCisco UCS is very good with scalability, this is one of the ups of the Cisco UCS and I have used this a lot.Customer Service and Technical SupportCustomer Service: Very good, as you can expect from Cisco TACTechnical Support: I have had few issues when upgrading the firmware and the Techsupport of Cisco TAC was very quick in picking up the issue and resolving it.I'm happy with the Tech Support.Previous SolutionsDell and HP Rack servers, issues with scalability. Space consuming.Initial SetupYes it was easy to setup provided you know the basics of Cisco UCS. I have done the low level design for our new site and it was very straightforward.When it comes to racking I have to admit the chassis is very heavy with all the components as its a 6U chassis. So make sure you remove all the power supply modules and IOM's and Fans then rack it. Once its placed then you can easily slide everything back and blades into the chassis.Implementation TeamWe had used a Cisco Partner and they did a very good job.Other Solutions ConsideredHP and IBMOther AdviceCisco Unified Computing System (UCS) provides unified, embedded management of all software and hardware components in the Cisco UCS. It is scalable and it controls multiple chassis and manages resources for thousands of virtual machines.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2014-11-23T00:00:00-05:00
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Having the capability to add chassis and/or blades to my environment with just a few cables is valuable.Valuable FeaturesCisco UCS utilizes Service Profiles for server provisioning. These are logical profiles that are comprised of many smaller parts, such as BIOS settings, NIC settings, HBA settings, Firmware packages, boot policies and more. Creating consistency within your compute environment has proven valuable. Having the capability to add chassis and/or blades to my environment with just a few cables, and bringing these servers online with the required settings based on my profile is most valuable. Apply a Service Profile to a new, replace or relocated blade, and Cisco UCS takes care of the rest, provisioning as you expect.Improvements to My OrganizationCisco UCS has reduced our physical footprint, drastically simplified management and created strong partnerships between engineering teams.Room for ImprovementSoftware defects that result in false environmental alarms have been a pain point for us. These defects are not operational or performance impacting, but they do result in many hours troubleshooting to rule out any potential risks.Use of SolutionI've been using it for years.Deployment IssuesAs long as everything is correctly designed and properly patched, deployment is a breeze with instantiation of VMs on-top of a configured UCS environment possible within just a few hours. This is aggressive scheduling, but it’s absolutely possible given the numerous options available for scripting and automation.Stability IssuesWe hit a software defect once that caused a reload of some critical assets. This was immediately resolved and is the only true case of a stability issues I have seen.Scalability IssuesIt's been able to scale for our needs.Customer Service and Technical SupportCisco TAC is typically great to work with. UCS has a call home feature that will automatically open TAC cases on your behalf when issues arise. I’d recommend calling in critical cases to ensure timely response.Initial SetupThe initial setup as a first-timer can be overwhelming, but once you complete it, any subsequent setup is straightforward. The biggest thing is making sure you properly design the solution and develop a scalable schema. Take into consideration other environmental variables that require specific configuration, such as hypervisor BIOS settings versus bare-metal BIOS settings.Implementation TeamI recommend having someone experienced with UCS perform the initial design and deployment. This could be someone you have in-house, or someone you contract. You’ll want to make sure your schemas as setup properly, any unusual requirements are handled properly, and profiles are built according to best practices for your particular environment.Other AdviceCisco UCS changed the server blade game, converging network and compute into a single profile-based platform. Now with HCI, Cisco is converging storage into UCS as well. I recommend getting in contact with Cisco and one of their channel partners for a whiteboard session, design conversation and potential proof-of-concept. This worked well for me in the past. I have since been capable of designing and implementing Cisco UCS environments without aid from external resources, only asking for design validations.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2016-05-31T00:00:00-04:00
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Its Fabric Interconnects are capable of FC, FCoE and traditional Ethernet, unifying all of the ports.Valuable FeaturesAfter having used, configured and deployed HP ( https://www.itcentralstation.com/products/comparisons/cisco-ucs-b-series_vs_hpe-bladesystem ) and Dell ( https://www.itcentralstation.com/products/comparisons/cisco-ucs-b-series_vs_poweredge-c ) blade systems, I was rather impressed at the time the initial setup of the UCS blade system took to achieve operational status. I was also very impressed with the thorough thought that went into the UCS Manager console and its capabilities as a whole. The conceptual layout of the UCSM was a technical breakthrough and though I tried to not compare it to HP or Dell, it was impossible not to. As our implementations grew and our overall knowledge of the system also grew, there was no turning back. The Cisco UCS team made what used to take hours to configure, setup and deploy, literally take minutes using their Cisco PowerCLI toolkit.Another aspect of the Cisco ( https://www.itcentralstation.com/vendors/cisco ) UCS system that overshadows that of other technologies is the networking backbone that supports the blades themselves. Cisco created a network switch (control plane) in essence that caries both server traffic and uplink traffic from a single pair of "Fabric Interconnects". These Fabric Interconnects are capable of FC, FCoE and traditional Ethernet, thus making all the ports unified. Acting as the "brains" of the UCS Blade Server system and depending on the version of the Cisco Fabric Interconnects, the pair of fabric interconnects are capable of managing several UCS Blade Chassis and therefore eliminating the need to purchase more switching unnecessarily. The UCS Fabric Interconnects are capable of managing up to 5-10 Blade Chassis with 8 blades per chassis on a single pair of Fabric Interconnects. This is quite a large number of blade servers running from a single pair of Fabric Interconnects.As you can see, the system scales nicely and the price point drops as your infrastructure grows in size, thus making the initial ROI even more attractive and feasible to make a business case in its favor.The product’s most valuable features ( https://www.itcentralstation.com/products/cisco-ucs-b-series/by_topic/valuable_features ) are:* FCoE (Fiber Channel over Ethernet)* iSCSI services* QoS policies* Call-home* Direct connectivity to SAN Storage* Hardware abstraction via Service Profiles* Virtual Network Adapters from the Cisco VIC 1240 & 1340 series interfaces* Diskless servers (boot from SAN)* Reduced server provisioning time* RBAC security* Manageability or ease of use (single point of management)Improvements to My OrganizationOur company provides solutions that enable our customers to succeed. We thrive on our customers’ ability to see the value in our proposed solutions, so as to bring to their organizations a product that not only solves their current infrastructure constraints, but also resolves those that may arise in the future. We have many partnerships with several vendors in the same technology space, but we have aligned with Cisco due to their excellent blade server products and also their marquee products in the network switch arena.Today, our business continues to grow with the inclusion of Cisco UCS at every possible opportunity. Now, even more than before, with go-market campaigns that focus on the Cisco UCS, Cisco Nexus and accompanying storage arrays that are supported by Cisco and Cisco UCS.Room for ImprovementAreas that require improvement are notably small in comparison to other similar products. The UCS system would benefit from less-expensive performance monitoring tools or other third-party tools that perform this function. Surprisingly enough, that is all I can come up with at this time.Use of SolutionI have used it for five years.Stability IssuesStability is a non-issue with Cisco UCS. We have not had any stability issues and to just mention, the Cisco UCS team employs strenuous testing mechanisms of all the UCS components. They provide this for all their firmware updates prior to public release. This is not to say that we've not had any issues, but the issues have been extremely small in comparison to the amount of systems we've deployed. Those issues were quickly identified, rectified and the systems were brought back online in a prompt manner with minimal customer business impact.Scalability IssuesCisco UCS scales rather well and while all other systems are online, therefore allowing for in-place upgrades and updates. The system provides great scalability ( https://www.itcentralstation.com/products/cisco-ucs-b-series/by_topic/scalability_issues ) and versatility in regards to system growths and business requirements. You can easily add additional chassis and blade servers with no impact to the systems running in production.Customer Service and Technical SupportCisco TAC has been phenomenal in most cases, but we have had a couple of minor instances where the issue took a bit longer than it should have to be resolved. I’d would say we have had a 97% success rate in most of our cases we’ve opened through Cisco TAC, that resolved our issues within the four-hour window we had expected and subscribed to.Previous SolutionsWe previously provided our customers with the HP blade system solution. As we began to become more familiar with the Cisco UCS system and we found it to be just as stable, if not more stable, we therefore shifted our solutions to include Cisco UCS B Series blade systems in lieu of HP. Our decision for this paradigm shift was due to the following factors:* Ease of setup* Reduced complexity of the network* Overall technology solution, support and maintenance* Product scalability* Performance* Cisco’s easy procurement quote, build and ordering processInitial SetupSetup for a first-time administrator of UCS will be somewhat time consuming, in the sense that Cisco UCS virtualizes just about every aspect of the hardware. The installation requires the installer/administrator to pre-provision several aspects of the physical hardware in a virtualized sense. As an example, the installer needs to pre-provision MAC addresses, fiber-channel HBA WWNN & WWNP namespaces, KVM address pools, management (KVM) address pools, iSCSI IQN names, iSCSI IP address pools and other items that become part of the “stateless” server attributes. These all become inclusive to the service profile assigned to each server, but are also unique to each.Once the installer has some familiarity with the Cisco UCS blade server system, the setup phases become much like setting up a traditional rack server(s) and their respective networking in many ways. Just like anything else, once you’ve done it a few times, you become more and more proficient in your abilities to execute in a more expedient manner.Pricing, Setup Cost and LicensingThe Cisco UCS solution is more expensive in price comparisons with other similar solutions. You will be very happy to have had spent the money upfront and you will look like a rock star to your management and customer base by choosing Cisco UCS blade server system for your infrastructure needs. The pricing and licensing of the Cisco UCS system is comparable to other systems. Overall, your licensing and pricing costs will decrease exponentially over time in comparison to the other vendor branded blade server systems. I would recommend you at least allow yourselves the opportunity to review the Cisco UCS offerings and schedule a demo from your local Cisco UCS product vendor.Other Solutions ConsideredWe also evaluated:- Dell- HP- IBMOther AdviceFind a local Cisco UCS Partner that has a lot of experience setting up Cisco UCS. It does require some infrastructure knowledge for northbound connectivity outside the UCS blade server system and has to be well thought out in terms of how it will integrate into your existing infrastructure. Other than this caveat, the UCS System is easy to install, setup and configure once you have it in your possession.Our relationship has grown stronger with Cisco due to our own internal decisions to encompass the Cisco hardware where and if at all possible. Our decision to use, sell and deploy Cisco UCS is solely due to all the reasons I’ve already mentioned plus more. Cisco has surely outdone the competition here on this one.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2016-08-31T00:00:00-04:00
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The UCS Manager uses a single pane of glass to monitor, deploy and provision servers.What is most valuable?Previously, the physical trappings of Cisco UCS, Intel chip-sets and UCS Manager were the most useful part of this server system. As we embrace new Intel CPU's, Chip-sets and memory, we are gaining added value from the original UCS design - which was a software construct based on XML API's and a suite of code that is really starting to blossom as a central automation vehicle, that scales to deliver new features and extended integration with a suite of security, management and performance offerings Cisco has added to its portfolio.While UCS hardware leveraged standard x86 designs, the use of a single pane of glass to monitor, deploy and provision servers was a huge timesaver. Since its UCS release in 2009, Cisco has extended the core functionality with Central, a tool for managing multiple domains, Director - an automation tool and Performance Manager. In the past few years CIsco has been on a buying binge for the Data Center, snapping up Cliqr, Lancope, AppDynamics, ContainrX, and several others that are being integrated with in-house analytics tools like Tetration and external tools like Turbonomic to provide an incredibly powerful, secure automation platform that will be the foundation of a future autonomic server environment with adaptive security and dynamic self diagnosis.Cisco UCS Manager is embedded in the cost of the fabric controllers and is used to manage the servers, chassis and fabric. It also serves as a link point for integrating tools like Director, Performance Manager and Central. Future additions to the UCS tool set are extensions that Cisco is feeling out how best to offer to customers - for straight purchase - or via subscription.I encourage UCS users and those considering UCS adoption to dig into the subscription offerings and get some clarity on how they grow over time. For example, as powerful security tools like Stealthwatch (Lancope) are added, what other systems are required and how are those subscriptions managed. When Analytics are required - do you need a Gigabuck Third Party offering or are you going to jump on Cisco's Tetration bandwagon and roll your own? I push for simplicity with Cisco. However, you need good data for that conversation. Talk to the apps, dev and ops teams as to what is needed today, where you are going and what future needs will become vs what might be nice to have. Once you understand where you are going, you are in a much better position to negotiate with a relative newbie like Cisco on how best to get there.Things will only get better going forward. UCS Manager is an XML construct. Everything is in software and can scale and expand with increased hardware capability, while other architectures require extensive effort on each end to develop hardware, then update and test a new rev of software for reliability and consistency.The big challenge for Cisco today is they built UCS manager for Cisco CCIE's anxious and able to have every knob and dial available to tweak. As a result, UCS manager is overly complex relative to functions and features and a lot of effort can go into streamlining and simplifying the User Experience. However, after 8 years in the market and huge acceptance of its increased ROI over competitive offerings and an appreciation for what UCS provides in OPex reduction, you can buy experienced UCS engineers vs having to develop and train them, only to see them purchased by a competitor.How has it helped my organization?I have a client who is currently managing 1500 servers with two people for a mission-critical retail operation. Previous operations teams using HP and IBM servers required 4x more people to manage the same number of servers.What needs improvement?This product comes from Cisco, who is fourth in the worldwide supply chain. That means options take a bit longer to get to their platform, as they insist on doing their own quality validations. Right now, the market is rapidly transitioning to solid-state media and the Cisco options tend to be less varied and more expensive than a broader slate of products from HP, Dell or IBM.Cisco UCS offers a scalable platform with tremendous OpEx advantages. However, Cisco does not have the storage play that Dell (With Cisco Partner EMC in its fold) and HP have. With their long position in the market place on the PC supply chain side, both Dell and HP source and deliver high volume, low cost, advanced enterprise solutions from previous consumer focused suppliers like Samsung and Toshiba. Example’s like Sandisk’s 3.8TB SSD used in EMC VxRail products and newly announced Samsung 15TB and 6.4TB 1M IOPs SSD come to mind. While Cisco still carries the earlier versions of similar technology from FusionIO, the next gen lower cost options from Samsung will take a while to be approved and provided by Cisco.Cisco’s internal testing and validation processes – to assure UCS Manager compatibility - mean they lag both HP and Dell in delivery on the newest storage paradigms – specifically the breadth of the SSD ( https://www.itcentralstation.com/categories/enterprise-flash-array-storage ) and NVRam offerings. Both these trends (High performance, High capacity SSD, and NVRam) offer major changes in architectural models. For organizations that seels to push the bleeding edge in testing and development, UCS will lag in delivery by a quarter or two. This has little impact on mainstream enterprises who will not adopt before a technology is thoroughly vetted by industry “Pioneers” – usually mid-sized shops that “took a chance” on introducing a new platform into their relatively modest environment.For how long have I used the solution?I have used UCS since 2008, when the product was first released.What do I think about the stability of the solution?No issues with stability that we have not seen across other systems. In particular, due to Cisco networking dominance, the focus is on drivers that work with their products for all the competitors as well. Networking is typically the server area with the most work to be done – but this is the strength of Cisco.What do I think about the scalability of the solution?UCS originally promised to support 40 chassis per fabric – that has now been scaled down to 20 – which limits users to domains of “just 160” physical server blades. This has not proven to be an issue or obstacle. The release of UCS Central provides software to manage an array of fabrics so we can scale to thousands of physical servers.How is customer service and technical support?Customer Service: This is a foundational core of the Cisco Data Center automation experience and is a far more robust platform than currently provided by competitors. Customer service from Cisco and its partner community is thus on par with the same exemplary service provided by its TAC teams for business critical network deployments.Technical Support: Leveraging Cisco Network Technical Monitoring – the ability to call for a case and get resolution - is a process we are well aware of and very comfortable with.Which solutions did we use previously?HP was the incumbent, displaced by UCS, which has proven easier to manage scale and use. The HP system just had too many pieces and the iLO lockin was a major cost that the UCS architecture leapfrogged.How was the initial setup?Initial setup requires some training due to its scale. It’s like riding a car vs driving a truck. You use the auto driving skills when you drive a truck – but there are a few things to be aware of. One of the nuances with UCS is that it is a fully abstracted, scalable environment. So you can set up your domain to accommodate a single server or 160 servers. This requires adopting a standard naming convention, IP addressing, etc. Once those are established, like a truck vs a car – you can haul a lot more freight with UCS.What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?Obviously, the worst-kept secret with all vendors is to negotiate as close to fiscal year-end as possible. For Cisco, the year-end is July 31st, so they are well positioned for organizations deploying summer projects. The other issue is the move to bundle licenses. That is great for highly dense environments like a data center, but it makes much more sense for individual licenses for distributed environments like hundreds of storefronts or clinics distributed across a wide geographic area.Which other solutions did I evaluate?As stated earlier, we had HP. As a marquis client they fought hard on equipment price to maintain their position. However, the decision was based on OpEx, which greatly favored UCS. Once we had a few systems in place and people trained up on their use, it was not long before HP was displaced. Because both the IBM and Dell ( https://www.itcentralstation.com/vendors/dell ) management architectures were quite similar, we looked and got a few quotes, but did not see anything to justify further evaluation resources.What other advice do I have?The biggest issue is automation. How to move the mundane tasks from people to machines; alert filters to improve management productivity and reduce overhead. Cisco is deploying a suite of products (Central, Director, Performance Manager, etc.), as are IBM, HP and even Dell. However, UCS manger provides such a robust base that the ability to scale and realize benefits is greater.At the end of the day, the UCS product requires planning before just jumping in, due to its ability to scale. As a user, you ...Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.We are a a Cisco partner.
Date published: 2016-08-30T00:00:00-04:00
Rated 5 out of 5 by from With the virtual NICs/HBA, we can redesign the IO schema without upgrading hardware. Configuring the hardware platform could be better.What is most valuable?* Virtual NICs/HBA* Nexus FC/Ethernet convergenceHow has it helped my organization?VirtualNICs/HBA allow us to redesign completely the IO schema (network and storage) without needing to upgrade or acquire additional hardware and controllers.What needs improvement?* Hardware platform configurationFor how long have I used the solution?I have used this solution for three years. We are currently using Cisco UCS, Chassis Model UCS5108, I/O Modules UCS-IOM-2208XP, Fabric Interconnect Model UCS-FI-6248UP, and Cisco Nexus 5548.What do I think about the stability of the solution?We had some issues with certain NX-OSs in the Fabric Interconnect.What do I think about the scalability of the solution?I have not encountered any scalability issues.How is customer service and technical support?Technical support is 7/10.Which solutions did we use previously?I did not previously use a different solution. I’ve previous experience with HPE BladeSystem. UCS looks to me more flexible and powerful.How was the initial setup?Initial setup was complex. UCS deployment & management requires deep knowledge of the platform.What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?It is expensive (like all converged platforms). From a cost perspective, UCS must be evaluated seriously in order to determine if the company requirements justify the acquisition. It is important to take into account that UCS is an end-to-end solution. Integration with Cisco Nexus is a must.Which other solutions did I evaluate?Before choosing this product, I did not evaluate other options, but in the convergence market, UCS should be evaluated as a clear option to evaluate.What other advice do I have?Training, training, training and planning, planning, planning!Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2017-01-17T00:00:00-05:00