One benefit of being a Cisco Champion is the ability to get pre-release information of critical Cisco news. Just yesterday, I got an invite to a same-day embargoed content WebEx about some critical Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) news. Cisco UCS are more than just servers, their well connected and well managed infrastructure to deliver anything that may come across the wire in the data center of today.
In 2009 when Cisco entered the market with UCS servers I was rather uninterested, in fact I think I was interviewed by Beth P. at TechTarget and I may have used the word “temporary milestone” as at the time the UCS server came on the market with market leading RAM and CPU capabilities. Also at the time they were released, the UCS server had zero market share in a segment that has low margins (compared to storage), can be viewed as commodity and is very much a passionate topic in the datacenter as server admins don’t historically have the brand promise that network administrators have had with Cisco.
That was 5 years ago. With the news today, Cisco has gone from last to first in some key measures. The numbers come from the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker that is the basis for most of these statistics.
Here are some statistics from Cisco’s news today, I’ll share some selected slides (you can view them all here):
IDC reports for the first quarter of 2014 (Compared to when Cisco UCS entered the market in 2009), Cisco UCS has a 40% market share in North America for x86 blade servers. Note that Cisco UCS also as chassis or “rack” servers, that’s the C-Series. The blades are the B-Series.
The worldwide number for x86 blades has Cisco UCS at 26.3%, #2 position in just 5 years.
Market share is one thing, but growth year over year is also very intriguing. Look at this for server growth (not an IDC number, but a revenue interpretation):
Congratulations to the Cisco UCS team! This is an incredible accomplishment in a very tough market segment!
I believe there is an additional story here however. All C-Series and B-Series Cisco UCS Servers do one key thing: Offer unified fabric communication and management. This means they are more than just a server. What this means is that the market is responding, there is a shift and converged infrastructure solutions are not just validated, but market leading. I don’t see any data that puts the C-Series next to x-86 non-blade servers; so one can assume it’s not as good of a story as the B-Series (x86 blade) numbers above.
I’ve long evangelized the benefits of the Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect, partly for my role at work where it works excellently for backups – but also because it is an awesome technology. The bigger story of ultimate connectivity, ultimate management and best of breed components top to bottom make Cisco UCS a solid compute platform. Dare I say the natural choice?