Cisco UCS License

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  • Last updated on: 02 Jan 2020

Unified Computing System (UCS)

Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) is an (x86) architecture data center server product line composed of computing hardware, virtualization support, switching fabric, and management software introduced in 2009. The idea behind the system is to reduce total cost of ownership and improve scalability by integrating the different components into a platform that can be managed as a single unit.


The computing component of the UCS is available in two versions: the B-Series (a powered chassis and full and/or half slot blade servers), and the C-series for 19-inch racks (that can be used with fabric interconnects). The computer hardware managed by the UCS Manager software on the fabric Interconnects can be B-Series (blades), C-Series (rackmount) or a combination of the two. Both form factors use standard components, including Intel processors and DIMM memory. The servers are marketed with converged network adapter and port virtualization. Around 2010, an extended memory technology expanded the number of memory sockets that can be connected to a single memory channel in some models.



Cisco UCS supports several hypervisors including VMware ESX, ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer and others. VMware Virtualization is provided through a partnership with VMware and uses a version of that company’s ESXi. Unlike the VMware Workstation software, ESX and ESXi run directly on the system hardware without the need for any other software (called Bare Metal), and provide the necessary hypervisor functions to host several guest operating systems (such as Windows or Linux) on the physical server. Guest operating systems are limited to 255 GB of vRAM and 8 virtual processors in vSphere 4.x, upgraded to 1 TB of vRAM and 32 vCPUs in vSphere 5.0. Additionally, the Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Cards incorporate VM-FEX technology that gives virtual machines direct access to the hardware for improved performance and network visibility.



The Cisco Fabric Interconnects (or “FI”) provide network connectivity for the chassis, blade servers and rack servers connected to it through different speeds of ethernet and Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). The fabric interconnects are derived from the Nexus 5000 series switch and run NX-OS as well as the UCS Manager software. The FCoE component is necessary for connection to SAN storage, since the UCS system blade servers have very little local storage capacity. Cisco has produced the following series:

  • 6100 Series Fabric Interconnects (discontinued)
  • 6200 Series Fabric Interconnects
  • 6300 Series Fabric Interconnects

The fabric interconnect can further connect to multiple Fabric Extenders (or “FEX”), Port Extenders using VNTag to the fabric interconnects, allowing up to 160 servers to be managed by one fabric interconnect (or two in Active-Active failover)



Management of the system devices is handled by the Cisco UCS Manager software embedded into the Fabric Interconnect, which is accessed by the administrator through a common browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox, or a Command line interface like Windows PowerShell or programmatically through an API like Python. Virtual machines can be moved from one physical chassis to another, applications may be moved between virtual machines, and management may even be conducted remotely from an iPhone using SiMU – Simple iPhone Management of UCS. In addition to the embedded software, administrators may also manage the system from VMware’s vSphere. The Cisco Integrated Management Controller (CIMC) is used to configure and manage C-Series servers not connected to a UCS environment. The CIMC can also be used to manage B-Series blades in addition to the UCS Manager application if configured.

In November 2012, Cisco announced the addition of UCS Central which extends management across multiple domains of UCS and as many as 10,000 servers. UCS Central extends the same model based, open API approach established with UCS Manager.Each compute node has no set configuration. MAC addresses, UUIDs, firmware and BIOS settings, the existence of IO adapters, RAID settings, etc. are all configured on the UCS manager in a Service Profile and applied to the servers. This allows for consistent configuration and ease of re-purposing.Cisco offers a UCSM Platform Emulator, where the full logical configuration of a server can be created from the user interface or the API methods, and later applied to the physical hardware.


Servers and infrastructure Products

Cisco UCS servers simplify your data center architecture; reduce the number of devices to purchase, deploy, and maintain; and improve speed and agility.

Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers

  • Increase server performance, flexibility, and scale for virtualized and non-virtualized applications
  • Deploy server applications faster and manage connectivity as needed
  • Get server memory and I/O capacity to meet every need
  • Reduce the number of adapters, cables, and access-layer switches needed for server LAN and SAN connectivity

Enhance performance with 4- and 2-socket servers

Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers are based on Intel® Xeon® processor E7 and E5 product families. They work with virtualized and non-virtualized applications to increase performance, energy efficiency, flexibility, and administrator productivity.

Unites computing, networking, storage and more

Cisco UCS rack servers help you automate and accelerate deployment of all your applications, including virtualization and cloud computing, scale-out, and bare-metal workloads.

Supercharges your applications


UCS C-Series Rack Servers

  • Improve total cost of ownership (TCO) and increase business agility
  • Balance simplicity, performance, and server density for production-level virtualization, web infrastructure, and data center workloads
  • Extend the benefits of Cisco Unified Computing and virtual interface card technologies to rack server environments

Unique benefits in a familiar package

UCS C-Series Rack Servers deliver unified computing in an industry-standard form factor to reduce TCO and increase agility. Each server addresses varying workload challenges through a balance of processing, memory, I/O, and internal storage resources.

Operational intelligence at scale

Our rack servers provide industry-leading performance, capacity, and scalability for Splunk enterprise deployments.

Integrated infrastructure for big data and analytics

Our industry-leading reference architectures are designed to deliver out-of-the-box performance while scaling from small to very large as your business needs grow.

Unites computing, networking, storage and more

Cisco UCS rack servers help you automate and accelerate deployment of all your applications, including virtualization and cloud computing, scale-out, and bare-metal workloads.

Supercharges your applications


UCS S-Series Storage Servers

Data, unstored

Active data demands agile infrastructure built from ongoing innovation and delivery. The Cisco UCS S-Series Storage Server delivers rapid scalability and performance to activate your data and insights in real time. Our modular architecture lets you right-size infrastructure for the workload and operate with the efficiency and predictable TCO you need.

Massive storage capacity

Data is growing exponentially. The need to scale your storage quickly and cost-effectively is vital. Whether you use spinning disk, SSD, NVMe, or a combination of each, the Cisco UCS S-Series has you covered to scale to Petabytes in minutes.

High performance

Emerging applications are pushing performance limits as data moves closer to compute. A dual server node architecture using Intel® Xeon® processors strikes the right balance between compute and capacity.

Architectural flexibility

Making the right investment in technology can have significant long-term benefits. The Cisco UCS S-Series provides maximum investment protection through multi-generational system design and the flexibility to fit to your unique requirements.

Policy-driven unified storage management

Scaling quickly to keep up with data growth is doable only with advanced automation. Simplify management for primary and secondary storage by uniting all compute and storage functions in a single management framework.

I/O like you have never seen before

Whether you are unifying storage with Ethernet, Fiber Channel or FCoE. Or enabling application acceleration with flash memory for tiered caching. Bringing these capabilities together makes the Cisco UCS S-Series stand out from the crowd.


Cisco UCS Mini

  • Bring the power of Cisco UCS to small business and remote and branch offices
  • Accommodates up to eight Cisco B200 M3 Blade Servers
  • Provides connectivity for up to seven Cisco C220 M3 and C240 M3 Rack Servers
  • Accelerates deployment with Cisco Unified Fabric technology for any size business
  • Simplifies setup and management, and can expand as your needs grow

Cisco UCS Mini: Edge Scale Solutions

Cisco UCS is now optimized for branch and remote offices, point-of-sale locations, and smaller IT environments. It is the ideal solution for customers who need fewer servers but still want the comprehensive management capabilities provided by Cisco UCS Manager. Cisco UCS Mini delivers servers, storage, and 10-Gigabit networking in an easy-to-deploy, compact form factor.

Required Solution Components

Cisco UCS Mini supports a wide variety of Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers. You always start with one blade server. All supported servers can be mixed and matched to customize a Cisco UCS Mini solution for your specific needs and applications.

Cisco UCS B200 M4 Blade Server

Get market-leading performance and versatility, while addressing the broadest set of workloads. Take full advantage of the power of the Intel® Xeon® E5-2600 v3 and v4 processor families with this server.

Cisco UCS B420 M4 Blade Server

The M4 a 4-socket server is designed for enterprise performance and virtualization, and database workloads that require scalability.

Every Cisco UCS Mini solution includes:

Optional Solution Components

A variety of rack servers and software can be added to a Cisco UCS Mini solution to enhance capabilities for storage, specialized IO requirements, and global management.

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