Cisco UCS Platform Kool-Aid (Careful When Drinking)

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words!

I don’t dislike Cisco UCS Platform, I just don’t feel good about letting a network hardware vendor take over server infrastructure market!

Here’s why…

Since the beginning of time there has been separation between network engineers and systems engineers – but in today’s fast changing world there is a push to converge these technologies into one group, and Cisco UCS provides the perfect hardware platform to do this.

This all sounds great, right? And after-all, “Converge” is the trend, but careful where you drink!

I admit, I think Cisco UCS is an awesome technology…matter of fact it’s state of the art.

…but here’s my major concerns:

  • Who will own managing these new shiny objects? This may sound like an easy question to answer but it’s actually not. Will the Cisco UCS platform be managed by the network team or infrastructure team?
  • In my 16 years of experience, anything that has a Cisco Logo on it normally ends up being controlled by the network group. Hence the problem begins…
  • Try convincing network admins to give access to network equipment to your systems admins, and “there will be blood!”
  • And what will all the cool Cisco stuff cost you after free wears off?

Cisco’s Plan

For a couple of years now Cisco has been offering free UCS training to the network community, but don’t kid yourselves, they are building an army of UCS evangelists.

My recommendation to you before drinking the free kool-aid is to count to cost.

It might be free now but anything that has a Cisco Logo on it will cost you later and once you are “locked” into UCS, moving back to standard servers from HP or Dell will be even more costly.

Another concern will be sorting out the conflict that will happen between technology teams. Do you just terminate system admins now that you have your network team building the server infrastructure. These are things to think about because you are dealing with people lives. System Engineers chose to be what they are and having another group take over their work is going to cause problems.

Here’s a real world risk:

I worked at a place where Cisco was aggressively pushing the UCS platform. They offered free training, free hardware and even bargain prices for anything UCS related.

The next thing we knew, the network team had built out a Cisco UCS infrastructure, sent their network admins to VMware training, and were planning a hostile take over of server infrastructure. This was all done without any buy-in from other technology groups. Pretty sly guys…

Yes, I have reservations with moving to Cisco UCS Platform… drink carefully!


  1. Christopher Columbus

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