So, one of the cool things about partnering with Intel on Cisco UCS is that Intel gave us a great platform to innovate with the Intel Xeon 5500 Series. One area where we did this was to take advantage of Intel QuickPath technology to create our extended memory technology. This Cisco exclusive technology allows our two socket server blades to access up to 384GB of memory, which provides a number of practical benefits that can radically shift the economics of your server infrastructure.
The first scenario is fairly simple and straightforward--the additional memory allows you to be more aggressive with your server consolidation/virutalization efforts by driving higher VM density on each physical server blade. Fewer physical servers translates to both lower capex and opex.
To this address this point, some customers have been moving up to increasing the number of sockets per server to gain more on-board memory. Again, this approach carries a couple of significant caveats. The first downside is the higher cost of the server blade itself, but the second downside might be even worse: higher software licensing costs associated with the higher socket count.
Finally, the UCS gives you an interesting option where you have more modest workloads. Because the UCS B-Series blade server supports more physical DIMM slots, customers can use the less expensive 2GB or 4GB RDIMMs if they don't need the full 384GB per server. For example, you can deliver the same 192GB of memory per server (that is the previous max) using 4GB RDIMMs, which are substantially less expensive than the 8GB RDIMMs, while maintaining full flexibility to upgrade memory if future needs dictate.
To get more details on the Cisco UCS Extended Memory Technology, check out this white paper.