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A unified computing system (UCS) is a vendor-designed system for creating a more cost-effective, efficient and centrally managed data center architecture by integrating computing, networking, virtualization and data storage components and resources. More simply, UCS is merely a system of servers, a network, storage and a storage network in a single platform.
Cisco designed the first UCS in April of 2009. Other UCSs include Sun's Modular Datacenter, Hewlett-Packard’s BladeSystem Matrix, InteliCloud's 360 and Liquid Computing's LiquidIQ.
For a fully equipped data center, Cisco claims its UCS will allow an 86 percent reduction in cabling, and allow provisioning in a matter of minutes (rather than days or weeks), while reducing capital expenses by more than 40 percent.
Manufacturers assure users of 100 percent compatibility between and among system components. And load balancing is a non-issue.
Unified computing systems are not a new product. Rather, they are a more tightly integrated collection of existing hardware and software, sometimes referred to as a marketecture. In fact, some system administrators see no advantage in a company switching from a fully functional existing server, network and storage virtualization environment to a UCS; the switch simply locks the company in with a single vendor. Another administrator commented that a UCS is so tightly integrated that a company may have trouble getting back out of a UCS to a traditional network system