Cisco

Cisco UCS B-Series Review
The hardware is easily swappable and with utilizing the boot from SAN option, you can always keep your server intact due to the service profiles.


Valuable Features

The UCS environment as a whole. The hardware is easily swappable and, utilizing the boot from SAN option, you can always keep your server intact due to the service profiles. So if your blade has failures and you have a hot spare, you can transfer the service profile to a new blade and be operational in mere minutes. Huge for uptime and perfect for environments like VMware ESXi hosts, which is what I use them for primarily.

Improvements to My Organization

We can be scalable to a greater degree using Cisco UCS. The options available and the connectivity to a Nexus switch with universal ports have been a game changer.

Room for Improvement

The UCS manager interface needs to be cleaned up a bit and can be streamlined, but no major complaints. Get off Java once and for all and release 3.2 so it can be all HTML 5.

Use of Solution

I have been using Cisco UCS since early 2011, so six and a half years.

Stability Issues

B-Series blades, along with the C Series tack mounts are the most reliable server hardware platform I have worked with in my 20+ years in the industry.

Scalability Issues

None. Cisco UCS, to this day, has been the most easily scalable server product I have encountered. Hyper-converged solutions have potential, yet have not shown me that they are scalable at an enterprise level the way the B Series UCS are at this time.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Some of the best in the industry. Always helpful and mostly flexible.

Previous Solutions

In the past, I have used rack mount and blade solutions from Dell, HPE, and IBM. None of them have come close to the combination of performance and reliability that I get from Cisco.

Initial Setup

Initial UCS setup is complex, but once you have your service profiles (templates) configured, adding new blades and provisioning boot LUNs is very easy. Cloning options make it even more so.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

Nothing shocking. Very straightforward. Make sure you work with a vendor partner than can get you a substantial discount off of list pricing.

Other Solutions Considered

I have evaluated dozens of server solutions (Dell PowerEdge, IBM X series and HPE ProLiant) and many, many more.

Other Advice

Do it and don’t look back. Just make sure you get strong in-house knowledge of UCS early on, unless you are willing to outsource UCS support to an MSP. It is easily learnable, but there is a bit of a curve to support the overall UCS infrastructure at the start.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.

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