Cisco adds a pizza box to its California line

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…which still isn’t shipping. Right? Ah yes. Right. Anyway, from Stacey at GigaOM

Cisco today said it would add a rack-mounted server as a second form factor for its Unified Communications Computing System. That’s Cisco’s fancy name for its blade server — soon to be available as a pizza box — packed with processors, memory and virtualized I/O. It will release the rack-mounted servers during the fourth quarter of this year. Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior also unveiled some nifty data from a survey conducted by Goldman Sachs last month.

As The Register points out this puts UCS competing directly against HP and Dell’s own x64 business. Why the delay from the March launch to shipping? Timothy Prickett Morgan offers an opinion

The delay between launch and shipments could have to do with Cisco wanting to get some more feedback from beta testers and to build up manufacturing capacity and marketing momentum for the product. However, it seems far more likely that Cisco is trying to match is manufacturing capacity against anticipated channel sales, and that the company is still trying to build up its UCS channel.

The launch of free-standing rack servers is intended to get more channel partners up to speed on selling UCS-ready Cisco servers and related networking, but not having to sell the entire UCS stack of hardware, software, virtualization, and systems management tools. The basic idea is that a company that might want to go UCS in the future can start with rack servers.

Of the three new rack servers in the lineup, this one seems to be of most interest to HPC

The C250-M1 is the heavy hitter. Aimed at heavy virtualization workloads, it includes the memory-expansion ASIC created by the formerly independent Nuova Systems. As I expected back in March, Cisco is deploying this ASIC selectively in its servers, and you can bet it will charge a premium for it that’s just a little less painful than buying 2.7 servers with 144GB, since the memory extender chip allows a two-socket Xeon 5500 to support up to 384GB of main memory.

For completeness, Cisco’s announcement.