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August, 2011

New Cisco UCS Bundles!

Over the last several quarters Cisco has released pre-bundled UCS configurations at very attractive price points.  We always look forward to seeing the new offerings at the start of every quarter and this week they were announced.  These bundles are available to be ordered through October 29th.  Here is a quick table showing the Cisco UCS B200 blade bundles:

Now let’s talk through some of these offerings…

  • B200 Value – We sell a LOT of these bundles.  It is our new installation standard offering.  It includes two 6120 interconnects, one chassis, and four half-width B200 blades with a total of 12 cores and 48GB of RAM.  Even though we always do boot from SAN on UCS you’ll notice they do include drives in the bundles should you need or want them.  Again, very popular offering.
  • B200 UC on UCS – If you are doing UC this is your bundle.  It is similar to the B200 Value but uses the E5640 CPUs for a total of 8 cores on each blade.
  • B200 Performance – Faster!  Again, similar to the B200 Value but uses the faster X5675 CPUs.  12-cores as with the Value but a higher clockspeed CPU.
  • B200 Capacity – This is a great bundle to seed a larger installation.  You get six of the B200 blades using the X5650 CPUs for 12-cores per blade at a slightly higher clockspeed than the Value bundle.  You also get 96GB on each blade, which has become our standard and often we “top off” the B200 Value blades and move them to 96GB.  Along with all this the bundle also includes a total of 3 UCS chassis for expansion.  Again, great seed bundle and am happy to see this.
  • B200 Expansion Pack – This isn’t really a bundle, it’s a single blade.  Want to add more B200 blades to your environment?  Take a look at these.  Priced very attractively and fills the requirements for the majority of blades we sell.  It’s a single B200 with two of the X5650 CPUs and 96GB of RAM.  Perfect vSphere blades.
If you are not familiar with Cisco terminology you may not recognize the UCS7 or UCS1 requirement listed.  That is the support required.  UCS7 is 7x24x4OS (On Site) and UCS1 is 8x5xNBD (Next Business Day).  UCS1 has become very popular due to the redundancies in the architecture and the capability of UCS to easily use a “spare blade” due to the Service Profiles feature.
Along with the B200 Bundle offerings there are also a series of B230 offerings.  The B230 is what I call the “Goldilocks Blade”.  It is a half-width blade capable of taking 10-core CPUs and 16GB DIMMs at 1066MHz.  So you get 20 physical cores (40 logical) and 512GB (that’s half a TB!) of RAM on a single blade.  Nice.  We’re starting to see a lot of interest in these blades and seeing a lot more get ordered.
Let’s look at these too:
  • B230 Value – Similar to the B200 Value in that you get four blades, one chassis, and two 6120 interconnects.  The blades use E7-2830 CPUs with 8-cores each and eight 16GB DIMMs for a total of 128GB of RAM.  The nice thing here is that you still have 24 free DIMM slots so you aren’t losing capacity.  As with the B200 bundles each blade includes onboard disks.  The B230 is packed full so instead of normal 2.5″ drives they use 64GB SSDs.  Faster and smaller.
  • B230 Capacity – Again, similar to the above B200 Capacity offering but with blades using the E7-2850 10-core CPUs so you get 20 physical cores per blade.  You also move up to the 40-port 6140 interconnects.  If you run that many cores you probably want to max out I/O as well.
  • B230 Expansion Pack – Need some B230 blades?  Here you go.  Single blade using the 10-core CPUs with 128GB of RAM.
I’m very happy to see these new B230 offerings now that the B230M2 blade is out and shipping in quantity.  It’s going to be a serious workhorse for very dense vSphere environments or big database servers.
That’s all the offerings on the B-series side.  Cisco has also been doing some very good C-series bundles and configurations.  Remember that the C-series is the normal rack mount server offering.  Here is the current bundles/configurations:
Let’s look in detail.  Also, the UCW5 listed on these is similar to UCS1.  It is 8x5xNBD On Site.
  • C200 Value – This is the 1U C200 server with two 4-core E5620 CPUs and 48GB of RAM.  Only one disk is included but more RAM, disk, HBAs, etc can be added.
  • C210 Value – This is a larger 2U server with more disk capacity and includes two 6-core E5649 CPUs and 48GB of RAM.  Two disks included and as with the previous config anything can be added.
  • C210 UCSM – This is the interesting option.  As you may, or may not know, you can manage the C-series servers under UCS Manager like the B-series.  You can do things in UCSM for these that you do with the B-series, like Service Profiles.  This bundles includes four servers, two 40-port 6140 interconnects, and two Nexus 2000 fabric extenders for server connectivity.  You can run these along with the standard B-series chassis and blades in the same cluster.  If you aren’t ready for blades yet you can do this and then add blades later.  Very well priced considering everything included.
So that’s it for this quarter!  Really good stuff.  If you’re looking to jump in to UCS, expand, or add another cluster these can probably help you out.  We, being Varrow, would love to help you as well.

4 thoughts on “New Cisco UCS Bundles!”

  1. The UCS platform is the easiest blade platform that I have ever worked with. I had to go back and add blades over a year after initial install and had no problem rememberring how to do it. Very intuitive interface.

  2. Great review Jason. I was a little surprised to see the B250 pulled (it was only in the VDIE last Q). It looks like Cisco has spoken and is transitioning to the B230 as the high density/high-ish speed mem server.

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