Xeon 5500 – Cisco Charges Ahead with Unified Computing

I’m quite pleased with the ramp of the Intel Xeon processor 5500 series. As reported during the Nehalem-EX briefing (more info here), we expect the Xeon 5500 to reach more than half of our 2S server shipments by August 2009. All of our key OEM customers have embraced the new architecture with complete product offerings, which provides IT administrators a plethora of Xeon 5500-based systems to choose from.

For this blog, I am focused on data center advancements that Cisco is pioneering with their Unified Computing System (UCS). They intend to combine best practices for network infrastructure with data center virtualization. The Intel Xeon processor family, Intel Virtualization Technology and Datacenter Ethernet are foundational elements to Cisco’s strategy.

Already the industry has recognized the Cisco UCS blade platform with awards such as “Best of Interop 2009” for Data Center & Storage (link) and “Best Data Center Innovation” from BladeSystems insight (link). It is a bold move on Cisco’s part, and makes a lot of sense in light of the convergence of servers, storage and networking. See a video testimonial about Cisco UCS and Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) from our own Intel CIO, Diane Bryant, here.

Recently, Cisco announced further expansion of the UCS product portfolio with addition of three new rack-mount servers. All of them are based on the Intel Xeon processor 5500 Series and are expected to provide compelling performance, memory expandability and integrated virtualization capabilities. They are expected in the fourth quarter. You can read more about the new rack-mount servers here.

Have you had a chance to evaluate the new Cisco offering yet? Have you made any plans to deploy in 2009? What do you think of unified fabric and the concepts that Cisco has put forth? Let me know!