Cisco Quietly Unveiled UCS 6324 for Small Businesses

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Cisco never stops the technology innovations. Recently, Cisco has quietly unveiled a new fabric interconnect-Cisco UCS 6324 Fabric Interconnect for its Unified Computing System servers designed to address requirements for smaller compute domains.

Cisco UCS 6324-

What’s so cool about this new Fabric Interconnect? The Cisco UCS 6324 Fabric Interconnect is a small device that plugs into the back of a Cisco UCS 5108 blade chassis. It provides network connectivity for up to eight Cisco UCS blade servers and seven direct-connect rack servers, giving it a total domain of up to 15 Cisco servers.

The Cisco 6324 Fabric Interconnect

Cisco Fabric Interconnect 6324

This differs from Cisco’s current UCS platform, which uses a 4-port or 8-port Cisco UCS 2200 series Fabric Extender, or “FEX” in Cisco’s terminology, to provide blade servers in the 5100-series blade chassis with 10-Gbit Ethernet connectivity to the UCS 6100 or UCS 6200 series Fabric Interconnects. Such a solution allows the deployment of multiple servers without the need for additional top-of-rack switches, with a single UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnect supporting up to 160 servers.

The new Cisco UCS 6324 Fabric Interconnect eliminates the need for separate Fabric Interconnects and FEXs for deployments where a maximum of 15 servers are needed.

The Cisco Unified Computing System Is a Highly Available Cohesive Architecture

Cisco UCS 6324

That limit of eight blade servers and seven rack-mount servers is the leading reason to dub the Cisco UCS 6324 the “Mini UCS,” which is also known as the “UCS Mini.”

Cisco, which declined to comment on the Cisco UCS 6324 or on the possibility of a smaller version of its UCS, does not use either term in any of its literature.

Cisco solution providers found it odd that Cisco, which normally makes a big deal when announcing a significant new product, kept the launch of the UCS 6324 confined to quietly placing a data sheet on the product on its website.

The UCS 6324 flattens out Cisco’s UCS architecture to make it more efficient for smaller deployments, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems (IAS), a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and Cisco partner.

“This means one less set of devices to deploy,” Woodall said, “And it means lower cost, I would hope. For SMBs, that’s good. I can also see it deployed in the enterprise to save rack space in core data centers and remote offices.”

While solution providers agreed the Cisco UCS 6324 Fabric Interconnect is a significant release for customers who want a lower-cost UCS deployment for certain IT projects, they are less sure of whether the UCS 6324 is the Mini UCS or just a component of the Mini UCS.

The first solution provider said the 6324 is probably just the first key component of what will be the UCS Mini. “It provides all the things we look for from the traditional full version of the UCS and UCS Director broken down in a smaller form factor,” the solution provider said.

The UCS 6324 will help customers who have passed on Cisco UCS servers because of the cost to now give them a second glance, the solution provider said.

“We have a number of midsize businesses who, when they look at UCS, see rack-mount servers as the most economical alternative,” the solution provider said. “But they don’t get all the benefits of UCS. This will be a way to bring them all we know and love about UCS.”

Another solution provider told CRN that because the UCS 6324 simplifies the UCS architecture, it is not likely to be the Mini UCS the channel is waiting for.

“The UCS 6324 would fit well in a smaller chassis, but Cisco is using it with the existing 5108 chassis,” the solution provider said. “Calling this the UCS Mini is like saying you would go to Jenny Craig and not lose weight. It fools us into thinking this is the UCS Mini, but it’s the same chassis.”

A third solution provider said the UCS 6324 Fabric Interconnect means a less scalable UCS architecture.

“This is the UCS Mini,” the solution provider said. “There’s a lot more expansion possible with the existing Fabric Interconnects. It’s a nice remote office concept when a maximum of 15 servers are required.”

The first solution provider said the release of the UCS 6324 Fabric Interconnect also could be pointing to Cisco UCS as the base of a hyper-converged infrastructure platform, which merges server, storage and networking technology in a solution that can be managed as a whole.

More about the UCS 6234 Fabric Interconnect

Please note the UCS 6234 Fabric Interconnect requires UCS Manager release 3.0.(1) & UCS Central release 1.2.(1)


Bundle PID Description Qty GPL Ext GPL
UCS-SP8-M-B200-E UCS-SP-MINI-AC2 UCS Chassis + 2x 6324, 4x PSU 1 $21,025 $21,025
UCS-SP7-SR-B200-E Entry SP7 Blade E5-2609v2 2 $7,667 $15,334
UCS-SP8-M-B200-EP UCS-SP-MINI-AC2 UCS Chassis + 2x 6324, 4x PSU 1 $21,025 $21,025
UCS-SP7-SR-B200-EP Entry Plus SP7 Blade E5-2620v2 4 $9,487 $37,948
UCS-SP-M-B200-VP UCS-SP-MINI-AC2 UCS Chassis + 2x 6324, 4x PSU 1 $21,025 $21,025
UCS-SP7-SR-B200-EP Value Plus SP7 Blade E5-2660v2 4 $17,500 $70,000









Pricing Information

Cisco GPL:

PID Description GPL Qty Total @ GPL
UCS-FI-M-6324 UCS-Mini 6324 FI $22,000 2 $44,000
UCSB-5108-AC2 UCS 5108 AC Chassis $5,999 1 $5,999
UCSB-PSU-2500ACDV 2500W Power Supply $936 4 $3,744

Add the–UPG if the customer wants to order piece parts.

Please be aware that only the B200 M3 is supported at FCS.  The BOM for the B200 M3 would be as normal.

Scalability Port Licence

PID Description GPL
UCS-6324-40G 6324 Fabric Interconnect License for 40G Scalability Port $5,548
UCS-6324-40G= 6324 Fabric Interconnect License for 40G Scalability Port, Spare PID $5,548

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