There’s a revolution going on in the server market.  No – that’s an understatement.  There are two revolutions going on in the server market.  And both dramatically impact the next generation data center.  We’ll talk about the first of these revolutions in this post – the impact that unified systems are having with respect to current and next generation data centers.

The value proposition of unified computing has propelled Cisco with their UCS (Unified Computing System) servers from an unknown in the server market a few years ago to be the #4 server vendor as of Q1-2014.  More impressively, Cisco’s growth in that quarter dwarfed every other major server vendor.  Of course, Cisco isn’t the only converged system vendor out there – Dell’s VRTX offering and IBM’s PureFlex among others.

The value proposition of  these unified systems is simple: for data center architects reduce TCO by minimizing server count and cabling and reducing the number of IT staff dedicated to management and be able to “go big” in terms of scalability a unified fabric.

From an architectural perspective, these systems aren’t “virtualized” servers.  They support virtualization, of course, but the unified fabric, service profile architecture, and other hardware specific features are a next-step toward a different way to think about server architecture.  In short, the old “physical versus virtual” argument becomes much more blurred.  So as a data center architect, you want to ensure that you maintain the agility and adaptability – the core flexibility – to support this type of architecture.

In the next post we’ll discuss the second server market revolution: ODM Direct.

This is part 12 of an on-going series. Part 1: virtualization isn’t the next big thing (NBT) because it was the last big thing (LBT); part 2: data center IP traffic growth; part 3: data center IP traffic sources; part 4: cloud workloads; part 5: large data centers and administrator to server ratios; part 6: strategy overview – adapt or be crushed; part 7: automation, agility, adaptability;  part 8, automation vs agility and adaptability; part 9: virtualizing everything; part 10: bare metal cloud; part 11: bare metal cloud performance; part 12: SSDs.