New blade server is key to Cisco data centre plan

Cisco has unveiled its first blade server which works at the centre of a data centre. The company promises it will make adding virtualization to corporate data centres easier and less expensive.

The Unified Computing System includes the UCS B-Series blade server, a Cisco switch, VMware virtualization technology, and other Cisco and third-party tools combined in a single rackable system designed to manage virtualized data centres. Analysts expect the system and services package to be priced from about $100,000.

Cisco will publish more about the UCS next month.

The blade server, which will compete Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM, is based on Intel Corp.'s Nehalem processor. It includes extended memory technology to support applications with large data sets. The server will be used to manage and automate the movement of virtual machines and applications across data centre servers.

In a press briefing, CEO John Chambers said the UCS represents a "market transition" for the company. "We believe that the network is at the heart of tying this all together. We look at this as [Cisco] bringing virtualization to life."

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