Cisco UCS B-Series Overview

Cisco UCS B-Series is the #2 ranked solution in our list of top Blade Servers. It is most often compared to HPE Synergy: Cisco UCS B-Series vs HPE Synergy

What is Cisco UCS B-Series?
Based on Intel Xeon processor E7 and E5 product families, Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers work with virtualized and non-virtualized applications to increase: Performance, Energy efficiency, Flexibility and Administrator productivity.

Cisco UCS B-Series is also known as UCS B-Series, Unified Computing System B-Series.

Cisco UCS B-Series Buyer's Guide

Download the Cisco UCS B-Series Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: May 2021

Cisco UCS B-Series Customers
Aegean Motorway, Anilana Hotels and Resorts, Anonymous Banking Group, Artoni Transporti, Bellevue, BH Telecom, Bowling Green State University, Children's Hospital Colorado, City of Biel, Dimension Data, Dualtec Cloud Builders, Hertz, Houston Methodist, Kuwait Petroleum Italia, Lufthansa Systems GmbH & Co.KG, Outscale, Sony Corporation, Talbots
Cisco UCS B-Series Video

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Manager of Solutions and Support at Esconet Technologies Pvt Ltd
Real User
I can connect it to multiple chassis and rack servers using a unified platform, then manage them on a single console

What is our primary use case?

We use it for computing and virtualization. All the blade servers are used for database uploads. We are a system integrator. So, we sell multiple type of software and hardware solutions. We implement solutions and provide support. We have multiple versions of the solution currently running. It depends on our customer.

Pros and Cons

  • "I can connect Cisco UCS B-Series to multiple chassis and rack servers using a unified platform, then manage them on a single console."
  • "The configuration is a bit complex, as it requires very high technical expertise to apply it."

What other advice do I have?

Our customers are very happy people.
Consultant at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
The separation of the hardware from the components' software definition is key for us

What is our primary use case?

Mostly VMs, for hosting virtual infrastructure. It represents 99 percent of our computing workforce.

Pros and Cons

  • "I like that the hardware is separated from the software definition of the components."
  • "It needs a better UI. Cisco makes a great product, but doesn't know how to make a UI."

What other advice do I have?

My advice to a colleague looking at this or a similar solution would be to test it. When we started, Cisco UCS was the first solution on the market and the only one that provided certain capabilities hardware-wise. It was the one with the most cores per CPU and it was the one with the most memory per blade server. Of course, now there are other vendors in the market. If I were to start the search process right now, I would consider Cisco UCS, but also other vendors like Dell and HPE, which are making new blade servers. They are coming up with different solutions and are catching up to the…
Learn what your peers think about Cisco UCS B-Series. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: May 2021.
502,104 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Data Center Systems Engineer at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
MSP
The Dual Fabric design allows for online/in-service upgrades during production with no impact.

Pros and Cons

  • "The Dual Fabric design allows for online/in-service upgrades during production with no impact."
  • "HTML5 interface is a much needed improvement over the old Java interface, but still needs a little work."

What other advice do I have?

Cisco UCS is a fantastic product that is widely deployed with excellent support. Additionally, Cisco has developed CVD’s (Cisco Validated Designs) that assist partners and customers to properly deploy Cisco UCS with most major storage vendors. CVD’s are highly detailed deployment guides which are comprehensively tested by Cisco to ensure quick, highly reliable and predictable deployments.
Sr. Network Engineer at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
We can configure Service Profile and the way it combines LAN, SAN and the Server on the blade

What other advice do I have?

This is a complete solution with FI.
Data Center Practice Manager at The Plow Group
Real User
Top 20
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.

Pros and Cons

  • "The hardware is easily swappable and, utilizing the boot from SAN option, you can always keep your server intact due to the service profiles."
  • "The UCS manager interface needs to be cleaned up a bit and can be streamlined, but no major complaints."

What other advice do I have?

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.
Technical Sales Architect at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
The UCS Manager uses a single pane of glass to monitor, deploy and provision servers.

Pros and Cons

  • "Since its UCS release in 2009, Cisco has extended the core functionality with Central, a tool for managing multiple domains"
  • "Right now, the market is rapidly transitioning to solid-state media and the Cisco options tend to be less varied and more expensive than a broader slate of products from HP, Dell or IBM."

What other advice do I have?

The biggest issue is automation. How to move the mundane tasks from people to machines; alert filters to improve management productivity and reduce overhead. Cisco is deploying a suite of products (Central, Director, Performance Manager, etc.), as are IBM, HP and even Dell. However, UCS manger provides such a robust base that the ability to scale and realize benefits is greater. At the end of the day, the UCS product requires planning before just jumping in, due to its ability to scale. As a user, you need to evaluate naming conventions, IP addressing models and so forth – think about the…
Senior System Specialist at Burns & McDonnell
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
We use it in the converged infrastructure to push out profiles, firmware, and console access.

What other advice do I have?

Look closely at your needs. * Do you need more computing power and memory or storage expansion possibility? * Do you need redundancy in installation sites HA/DRS? * If you do HA/DRS, does it need to be near real-time disk writes, or more managed recovery/failover?
Technical Solutions Architect at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
It changed our mindset to abstract the server, making it a stateless object for workloads.
Infrastructure Consultant at a tech consulting company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
With the virtual NICs/HBA, we can redesign the IO schema without upgrading hardware. Configuring the hardware platform could be better.

What other advice do I have?

Training, training, training and planning, planning, planning!
Technical Head at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
The most valuable feature is the UCS Manager which integrates everything.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the UCS Manager which integrates everything. Java and HTML 5 base admin console is now available

How has it helped my organization?

Its provisioning and ease of management have improved our functioning.

What needs improvement?

Power Options for setting up Grid needs to have further customization. N+1 for power supply is not applicable in some data centers

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for 3 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We've had no issues with deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We've had no issues with stability. N+1 for powersupply is not applicable on grid type data centers

What do I think about the scalability of the

Senior Solutions Architect & Consultant at ZAG Technical Services
MSP
Top 10
Its Fabric Interconnects are capable of FC, FCoE and traditional Ethernet, unifying all of the ports.

What other advice do I have?

Find a local Cisco UCS Partner that has a lot of experience setting up Cisco UCS. It does require some infrastructure knowledge for northbound connectivity outside the UCS blade server system and has to be well thought out in terms of how it will integrate into your existing infrastructure. Other than this caveat, the UCS System is easy to install, setup and configure once you have it in your possession. Our relationship has grown stronger with Cisco due to our own internal decisions to encompass the Cisco hardware where and if at all possible. Our decision to use, sell and deploy Cisco UCS is…
System Engineer at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
I can use it to quickly deploy new resources for applications.

What is most valuable?

Management: The admin interface is very intuitive. Easy scalability: For example, when adding a new blade server to the chassis or when adding a new chassis, I can use the old management IP address to manage and create new profile.

How has it helped my organization?

I can deploy new resources for applications very fast.

What needs improvement?

Cooling. It is hotter than HP blade servers.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very good. …
Sr. Network Engineer at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
Benefits includes scalability, flexibility, and the fact it takes less time to deploy. There were stability issues in previous firmware versions.

What is most valuable?

Remote Access to the device Ability to scale to different servers Centralized management

How has it helped my organization?

Customers and organizations are benefited by its scalability, flexibility, and the fact it takes less time to deploy.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for almost one year.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

In most of our deployments, no issues were encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product is stable (with new versions of the firmware), although previous versions were having some issue with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In most of our deployments, no issues were encountered.

How are customer service and

Cyber Security System Architect at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It's helped us to develop a new platform for virtualization, with a small footprint, and improved our computing power efficiency.

What other advice do I have?

You need to have at least a basic understanding of the product concept and architecture variations in order to better understand use cases and ROI estimation in order to get the initial sizing right, and create the right scaling plan.
Manager of Engineering with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Top Reviewer
Having the capability to add chassis and/or blades to my environment with just a few cables is valuable.

What other advice do I have?

Cisco UCS changed the server blade game, converging network and compute into a single profile-based platform. Now with HCI, Cisco is converging storage into UCS as well. I recommend getting in contact with Cisco and one of their channel partners for a whiteboard session, design conversation and potential proof-of-concept. This worked well for me in the past. I have since been capable of designing and implementing Cisco UCS environments without aid from external resources, only asking for design validations.
Senior Network Engineer at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
They're easy to deploy, scale and expand based on a number of server range available.

Valuable Features:

Easy to deploy, scale and expand based on a number of server range available. Centralization for different resources including network, compute and storage

Improvements to My Organization:

Any Datacenter or organization implementing UCS-B series will find it easy for its IT team in terms of changes required to add more servers and redundancy.

Room for Improvement:

Perfect device, but only if the GUI is made .NET-based, it will be more great.

Deployment Issues:

I've had no issues with deployment.

Stability Issues:

I've had no issues with stability.

Scalability Issues:

I've had no issues with scalability.
System Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
It has integration with vSphere, but UCS Manager should be rewritten in HTML5.

What is most valuable?

The VM-FEX, hardware integration with VMware vSphere.

How has it helped my organization?

It's faster to provision virtual servers than physical. Also, it has very good orchestration with UCS Director 5.2.

What needs improvement?

The UCS Manager is written in Java and has many problems after the new Java releases. It should be rewritten in HTML5.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for one and a half years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

It was not a problem.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service: 4/5 Technical Support: 4/5…
System Administrator at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It's given us faster deployments of new and replacement hardware and, with its compact footprint, we've saved valuable rack space.
Solutions Architect at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
Replacing Fabric interconnects and IOMs can be done while the system is up and serving production data. However, I'd like to see an integrated management interface for all NetApp Flexpod products.

What other advice do I have?

Get a qualified vendor to help you go through the process, and take some training to get familiar with how things work together.
Senior Network Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
The ability to scale to multiple blades is a valuable feature, but the management console needs to be moved away from Java.
Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Remote access to the server is very useful but the RAID controllers lack a lot of functionality

What other advice do I have?

These are good servers for SAN environments, I think their Disks (RAID) need a lot of improvement before you consider them as a storage server.
User at a comms service provider with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Power for Unified computing and State less Servers

What other advice do I have?

Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) provides unified, embedded management of all software and hardware components in the Cisco UCS. It is scalable and it controls multiple chassis and manages resources for thousands of virtual machines.
Head of Data Center at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Our Experiences with Cisco UCS
Hi, Since you are asking about our experiences with Cisco UCS, here is what we've accomplished so far. Our greatest accomplishment is server consolidation with the use of virtualization. We bundled our UCS system with VMware vShpere with vCenter management. So far, we are currently on-track to virtualize all our major services and servers. As with any virtualization effort using commercial products, the cost is very significant. However, we look at this not just as a one-off project but it will be the foundation of our future systems and services as well. Ultimately, the goal is for better services. Right now, our server reliability has improved, and this has translated to lesser down times. With the servers virtualized, it's also very easy to manage and perform tasks.
Head of Data Center at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Cisco UCS is a great server system. Just make sure you have a knowledgeable implementation partner as this is a very complicated server system to set-up.

What other advice do I have?

Choosing the right partner for implementing the system is also critical. They must be knowledgeable in implementing the Cisco UCS system as its a very complicated system to set-up. The implementation must also include a system administrators training so that company administrators can manage the system after configuration and deployment.
Owner at a marketing services firm with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Great consolidation, high mem capacity, excellent reduction on ports. But you're locked in.

Valuable Features:

Great consolidation, high mem capacity, excellent reduction on ports.

Room for Improvement:

Very tightly integrated, so once you are all in, you are likely to be there for a long time.