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Cisco UCS B-Series OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Cisco UCS B-Series is #3 ranked solution in top Blade Servers. IT Central Station users give Cisco UCS B-Series an average rating of 8 out of 10. Cisco UCS B-Series is most commonly compared to HPE Synergy:Cisco UCS B-Series vs HPE Synergy. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a comms service provider, accounting for 30% of all views.
What is Cisco UCS B-Series?
Based on Intel Xeon processor E7 and E5 product families, Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers work with virtualized and non-virtualized applications to increase: Performance, Energy efficiency, Flexibility and Administrator productivity.

Cisco UCS B-Series is also known as UCS B-Series, Unified Computing System B-Series.

Cisco UCS B-Series Buyer's Guide

Download the Cisco UCS B-Series Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

Cisco UCS B-Series Customers
Aegean Motorway, Anilana Hotels and Resorts, Anonymous Banking Group, Artoni Transporti, Bellevue, BH Telecom, Bowling Green State University, Children's Hospital Colorado, City of Biel, Dimension Data, Dualtec Cloud Builders, Hertz, Houston Methodist, Kuwait Petroleum Italia, Lufthansa Systems GmbH & Co.KG, Outscale, Sony Corporation, Talbots
Cisco UCS B-Series Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Cisco UCS B-Series pricing:
  • "The pricing for Cisco is less than for the HP Proliant series."
  • "Pricing will be based on your requirements so it is important to plan, engage, and negotiate directly with the Cisco Account Manager."
  • "The price of this solution compared to others is fair."

Cisco UCS B-Series Reviews

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RO
Senior Principal Systems Engineer at a pharma/biotech company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Does what it is supposed to in the way the company represents with little room for improvement

Pros and Cons

  • "The ratio in terms of the number of units and the number of servers that we can get each chassis is quite good."
  • "Cisco could improve the user-friendliness for less experienced users."

What is our primary use case?

Primarily, we use UCS to run our virtualization stack.  

What is most valuable?

I think UCS is pretty typical of all blade servers in what is most valuable. We use it to try and save rack space. I think the ratio in terms of the number of units and the number of servers that we can get each chassis is quite good. We have a significant rack space saving in that regard. These B-series can hold up to eight servers.  

What needs improvement?

In terms of room for improvement, I think there is room for improvement with the service profile. Cisco products are technically quite bulky if you ask me. You really need to be very proficient technically to deploy it and to understand the assignment of the service profiles before you can really make the most of it. The product comes with a lot of technical overhead. I know they have advancements that are coming and I foresee they are ready to address that problem at least to a certain extent.  

For the purposes it is built for, I can not really think of any room for improvement, honestly. It is as advertised; it is doing what it is supposed to in the way the company represents it. I do not think they are really in need of any other improvement this year than what I know they already have on the roadmap. The only thing I can think of might be improving the user-friendliness.  

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Cisco UCS B-series (Unified Computing System) for probably five years.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The B-series is definitely stable, that is for sure. We rarely have any issues with the B-series. If there are any issues, we are covered by the four-hour response window and we can get parts replaced within a few hours if there's any faulty hardware. Stability is something I would say is over 90 percent better than most other products.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of this Cisco product goes without saying because it is what the B-Series was designed to do. You can always add in additional blade servers to your existing chassis. So the scalability is really good and something Cisco built into the product.  

How are customer service and technical support?

We have had contact with the technical support and this is usually for hardware replacements. That covers faulty memory or CPUs or motherboards — that kind of thing. It is typically day-to-day issues with hardware that we need service for.  

I would say that Cisco really excels in day-to-day operations — if you are talking about hardware replacement and things like that. Their model and framework are really mature. They know exactly what to do. The replacements are fast, the engineer that is assigned also knows what he is doing. So far our experience with Cisco technical support is pretty positive.  

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We came to UCS from HP Proliant servers. When we transitioned into the Cisco UCS series, we obviously found that there were pros and cons in comparing these products.  

I think the HP Proliant user interface and user-friendliness are better than UCS. Cisco had an advantage in coming to the market later. They had the advantage in redeveloping and redesigning the server compute from scratch. So they designed it with management in mind. They deployed service profiles and they have a central overview of all the server hardware using the UCS B-series, and I think this was what really convinced us to transition to the Cisco hardware. Of course, the pricing is positioned better than the HP Proliant series which influenced the decision as well.  

How was the initial setup?

Because we already have established the connects and configured the initial instance, putting in additional B-series blades is a breeze because everything is assigned to the service profile.  

So the initial setup depends on "how initial" you are talking about. If you are talking about the very first configuration including the server interconnects setup, then it is a bit cumbersome. If you are talking about additional setups after that, then it is a breeze. You really need in-depth knowledge about how service profiles and assignments are used before you can really make it work. This is coming from someone who had previous experience with the HP Proliant product where they did not really have service profiles. It is a different way of doing things.  

What about the implementation team?

We had the luxury of engaging a vendor, the initial setup was all done by the vendor, which was good for us. It was really fast and was far enough along within half a day that they were able to deploy it.  

What other advice do I have?

Advice that I might want to give to someone considering the product is that I would say they really have to know their own use case to determine whether UCS is applicable as a solution for what they need. The B-Series is really meant for data center deployment. I would not propose or suggest it for small or medium enterprises simply because the initial investment is quite high. You need to get a server interconnection if you get a chance. And if you are not looking to potentially deploy a large number of servers in the near future, then B-series is really not necessary — it is overkill.  

On a scale from one to ten (where one is the worst and ten is the best), I would rate the product as a nine-out-of-ten.  

To make it 10, the user-friendliness needs to be improved. Right now the user experience really detracts from the technical abilities of the product. The users need to have too much technical know-how. Cisco should make administration much easier and more straight forward. Maybe there could be some automation and translation of all the operations so that the user does not have to be so technically adept to operate it.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Hoang Quan Nguyen
Infrastructure Integration Analyst at a government with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5
Supports abstract and stateless computing, helpful and proactive support, reliable, and expandable

Pros and Cons

  • "The feature that I found the most value is the abstract and stateless capacities."
  • "USC Central seems a bit confusing for technicians."

What is our primary use case?

The UCS Manager, UCS Blades including chassis, and Main Data Centre Virtualization Physical Infrastructure on VMware between sites act as our critical and secure data center environment.

This solution is reliable, expandable, agile, manageable, and scales easily, allowing us to focus on using UCS Manager. We are now expanding the Cisco Hyperconverged solution embedded with the UCS manager.

This is the plus to expand the reliability, expandability, redundancy, and availability of our data center infrastructure environment.

How has it helped my organization?

This host-provisioning solution gives us peace of mind, SLA level, and ease of management from the operation team. It is reliable and gives me confidence when I upgrade firmware and expand the capacities of the data center.

Think about adding compute in 30 minutes instead of hours of technical effort. It reduced the amount of time that tech spent on support and operations instead of maintaining the whole infrastructure level.

ROI for the UCS manager solution is high and has lifted pressures and stressful burdens upon SWE.

What is most valuable?

Overall, all functionalities are excellent.

The feature that I found the most value is the abstract and stateless capacities. 

What needs improvement?

USC Central seems a bit confusing for technicians.

Many functionalities that are not used for a small environment should be enforced at the enterprise level.

I would like to see USC Central offered free for use, as well as made simpler to use for technicians. This will improve its adoption rate, especially for environments that are not exposed to the internet.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using UCS Managers and UCS Blade for more than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability-wise, it is excellent.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is a scalable product.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is excellent.

With the help of Cisco tech support, I just finished an upgrade of firmware and felt that the support team is helpful and proactive in helping customers.

I feel that Cisco tech has value. They provided me assistance and guided me through difficulties. Overall, I felt that they were excellent and I appreciated it very much, especially the consistency in following up on what is happening, including progress.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I had used HP enclosures in a different environment.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is always straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We initiated the engagement with Cisco Tech Team, and eventually, we can take ourselves.

What was our ROI?

The ROI is huge and I was surprised after seeing it when the environment was set up and stable.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I was not involved with the specific pricing agreement, so I don't know. However, I am familiar with some of the aspects.

Generally, the cheaper, the better. I believe that this is part of the procurement management that must be involved with requirements. Pricing will be based on your requirements so it is important to plan, engage, and negotiate directly with the Cisco Account Manager.

I have an excellent relationship and experience with them. They are accommodating in all areas such as reaching out, checking and engaging in setup and configuration of equipment that has arrived, training, help in designing, consulting, pricing, and licensing.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

As part of our evaluation phase, we researched three vendors. Each was assessed using a scorecard to rate each in terms of functionality as it related to our environment. The scale was from one to five.

What other advice do I have?

Overall, this is an excellent product.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Learn what your peers think about Cisco UCS B-Series. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
552,695 professionals have used our research since 2012.
SB
Sr. Network Engineer at a tech vendor with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Processing of our system has greatly improved due to the CPU, functionality and security features

Pros and Cons

  • "Great security and functionality."
  • "Integration with storage could be improved."

What is our primary use case?

We host mostly our production environment in the Blades because we have the production data running in those UCS Blades. I'm a senior network engineer and we are customers of Cisco. 

What is most valuable?

We jumped from old HP servers to this UCS and, of course, we very much like it in terms of its security, its interface, its functionality, the CPU, and the memory. The computing power that it's given us has greatly improved the processing of our system. Overall, it's good.

What needs improvement?

Integration with the storage to get a heatmap of what's going on in the storage site could be improved -- the dashboard, that kind of thing. We have a virtualized environment and it's the same dashboard that links together the front end, the VMware and the backend storage. We have to use multiple views, multiple solutions for that. We log in to multiple places to see what's going on in the storage, what's going on in the switches, on the Blades, on the VMware. It would be great if there was a single platform, a dashboard that could integrate all of those. That kind of improvement wouldn't just help me but would also benefit management. If they want to see what's going on, for example, to get a five-year forecast, and the dashboard could show how much space is left for computing power, or show that something is not working, that would make a difference. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for three years. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I especially like the scalability aspect because, compared to the HP servers that we had before, those were rack-mount servers whereas the Blade is just a plug and play. If we need more computing power, we just bring a new Blade and plug it in and auto-conservation setup in the profiler takes over the new Blade and it's that easy. We are a team of three admins using this solution. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven't had a chance to contact Cisco for any issues because everything has been running smooth and fine. And we have our corporate team as well. If there's an issue we reach out to them first before reaching out for support. It's been three years and we haven't had any major issues, we've been able to solve anything that's come up. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty good. It was a new thing for us and took us some time, but it was good, it was straightforward. We had to deploy it here first to make sure everything was up and running. It required a lot of regression tests before moving it to the actual production site and that's what took time. It wasn't the time taken to configure it, but the time taken to deploy the whole system in the production site. We did the deployment ourselves. 

What other advice do I have?

I haven't had experience with others series, like the C-Series. I hope they are good but so far, after three, four years, this has been good and we haven't had any issues. 

I would rate this solution an eight out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AMADO PLATA
IT Infrastructure Manager at a tech company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 10
A user-friendly server that's easy to configure and manage

Pros and Cons

  • "I like that it's very manageable very easy to use and configure. I am not an expert, but the graphic user interface is quite simple very easy to use. It's a complete solution."
  • "We have to have Java to manage the infrastructure. It would be great if we can manage the infrastructure through a web browser."

What is our primary use case?

We use it in our data center. In our infrastructure, we virtualize our servers.

What is most valuable?

I like that it's very manageable very easy to use and configure. I am not an expert, but the graphic user interface is quite simple very easy to use. It's a complete solution.

What needs improvement?

We have to have Java to manage the infrastructure. It would be great if we can manage the infrastructure through a web browser. 

We have Dell EMC, and I would like to connect my product directly to the chassis. I would like to have an interface to integrate the storage directly chassis and not through the network. If that could be possible, that would be great for me. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Cisco UCS B200 since 2015.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We haven't had any problem or any outage, and it's always running. Every process and everything you run, memory and cache memory, is always running. It's very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think it's very scalable. I have an opportunity to provide for more Blade Servers, and if I need more power or resources, I just have to provide the Blade Servers. Right now, we have two administrators.

How are customer service and technical support?

When we had a problem once with a virtual server, our Cisco partner came to us within three hours and provided support. It was very good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have stand-alone servers, and we used Dell Servers. For example, we installed VMware on top of the server. When we needed more power or infrastructure that's a little bit easier to buy, we bought this Cisco UCS platform.

How was the initial setup?

I don't know if it was straightforward because our partner set up and deployed this solution. It took about 20 days to implement this solution.

What about the implementation team?

We received the infrastructure entirely configured by our partner. It was a very good experience.

What other advice do I have?

Before you buy infrastructure like this, I would recommend some training. It'll help to get really good training in infrastructure management. For example, in my case, a quick overview when I started to manage the infrastructure definitely helped. It's very hard because at the beginning you are a little lost. The infrastructure is easy to manage, but it would be better if you take time before you install the infrastructure to learn more.

On a scale from one to ten, I would give Cisco UCS B-Series a nine.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Mikael Jensen
Sr. Operations Engineer at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Extremely stable with reasonably priced hardware but needs a better management interface

Pros and Cons

  • "The stability provided by the product is its most valuable feature for our organization."
  • "The management interface needs a lot of improvement. As it is right now, it's a pain to use. It's not user-friendly."

What is most valuable?

The stability provided by the product is its most valuable feature for our organization.

What needs improvement?

The management interface needs a lot of improvement. As it is right now, it's a pain to use. It's not user-friendly.

For some clients, it may be useful if it was possible to switch the role for a server. I myself am running a VMware shop and so I would not personally gain any benefit from this, however, I see the value it would have for others - especially service providers.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been working with this solution for seven years at this point. It's been quite a while now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution is fantastic. It's one of the greatest selling features. It doesn't crash or freeze. There aren't bugs or glitches. It's extremely reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution scales pretty well. We have not had any issues with that.

Currently, I'm the only one using the product in our organization.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've never used technical support, so I can't speak to their level of knowledge or responsiveness.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I also have worked with IBM as well. 

At the time, the biggest difference was pricing. Also, there is the ability to switch roles or templates on the servers within IBM. However, it's not anything I have had any use for.

How was the initial setup?

In our case, the solution's initial setup was not straightforward. It was rather complex.

It was part of a FlexPoint solution. And it was one of the first FlexPoint solutions delivered in the country. It was not the same solution delivered as the salesperson had promised.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

You can typically get reasonable pricing on the solution. The hardware itself, however, isn't the biggest cost. The biggest cost is licensing, and that can be quite expensive.

What other advice do I have?

If there are other organizations considering the solution, I'd strongly advise that they get training on the management side. It's very important to do this in order to successfully implement and use the product.

On a scale from one to ten, I'd rate this solution at a seven. It's good, however, it could use a simpler management structure. Cheaper licensing would go a long way as well. The UCS isn't the expensive part. It's more the Microsoft and VMware and the cost of running that.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MS
VMware Software Engineer at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Easy to manage with helpful technical support and good performance

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution is stable."
  • "The solution is difficult to set up."

What is our primary use case?

The solution can be useful for cloud solutions and they are automatized. Everything is automatized, and it's highly available.

What is most valuable?

The solution is stable.

The scalability is good.

Everything is nice and I like that it is centrally managed. 

It's very easy to manage once you have everything set up.

The performance is great.

Technical support is helpful.

What needs improvement?

We sometimes have small issues with the hardware elements. The network interfaces could be better. The product needs to develop better firmware.  

The solution is difficult to set up. You need to be experienced in the product in order to be able to implement it.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for more than three years in this company, and in my previous company, I used it for two and a half to three years as well. In total, it's been five to six years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution, for the most part, is pretty stable. There aren't really bugs or glitches and it doesn't really crash or freeze. It's pretty reliable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of the solution is good. 

I'm not sure how many people are actually using the product. In America, we utilize about 3,000 servers and we utilize 4,000 servers ourselves. That's a total of 7,000 servers.

How are customer service and support?

Technical support has been very good. We don't have any complaints. They are helpful and responsive. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup can be a bit difficult and complex. This is because everything is centralized. That said, once you have everything deployed and up and running, the maintenance is easy and minimal. While you have to sacrifice something during the installation, after that, it's easier to manage. 

It took us about two months to complete the implementation.

What about the implementation team?

We had a third party that handled the implementation process for us. We had a lot of server blades to set up.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I don't have any visibility on the licensing setup. That's managed by procurement, actually. I don't have any information about it.

What other advice do I have?

We use both cloud and on-premises deployment models.

I'd rate the solution at a nine out of ten.

I'd recommend the solution to other users and other organizations. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Daniel Aramayo
Implementation and Support Engineer at PRACSO S.R.L.
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Extremely stable with robust hardware and good technical support

Pros and Cons

  • "The initial setup is pretty simple and straightforward."
  • "The price of this product is too high. They should work to make it more affordable."

What is our primary use case?

The solution is primarily used for computation purposes. 

What is most valuable?

The hardware available for the solution is very good. It's quite reliable and robust.

The visualization is excellent.

The initial setup is pretty simple and straightforward. 

The scalability is excellent. 

We found that the stability is extremely reliable. 

Technical support is very good in general.

What needs improvement?

The price of this product is too high. They should work to make it more affordable.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been dealing with the solution for about three years at this point. It's been a while. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability and performance of this Cisco product are excellent. There are no bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's very reliable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability potential of the product is very, very good. If a company needs to expand it, it can do so with relative ease.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is pretty good. We find Cisco to be knowledgeable and responsive. We're satisfied with the level of support we receive overall. They're great. All UCS products have great support.

How was the initial setup?

We found the initial setup to be pretty easy. It's straightforward. I wouldn't describe it as too complex or difficult. A company should have no problems deploying it. 

What was our ROI?

We have seen an ROI and would recommend the solution based on those observations.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The solution is quite expensive. It's pretty high, especially when you compare it against the offerings of other vendors. They need to be more competitive in terms of pricing.

What other advice do I have?

We're a Cisco partner.

We are dealing with the latest version of the solution. I can't speak to the exact version number.

I can recommend the solution wholeheartedly to other organizations. I would really recommend it due to the fact that it's a really stable technology. Also, it can produce a return on investment for organizations as well.

On a scale from one to ten, I'd rate the product at an eight. We've largely been quite pleased with its capabilities.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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SilaMAY
Head Of IT Infrastructure and Support at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
Fast configuration, high availability, priced fair, and user friendly

Pros and Cons

  • "Some of the features I like from this solution are it has a fast configuration, it is not complex, and has high availability."
  • "For future improvements, it would be a benefit if the solution could integrate better with products such as Oracle."

What is our primary use case?

We use the solution for a server.

What is most valuable?

Some of the features I like from this solution are it has a fast configuration, it is not complex, and has high availability. 

What needs improvement?

A long while ago something went wrong with the solution and we had to back-up to the cluster, some stability issues could be improved.

For future improvements, it would be a benefit if the solution could integrate better with products such as Oracle. I recently worked at a company in Cambodia where we were using Oracle, we were having some difficulties with applying the licensing between the solutions.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the solution for approximately two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Over time the solution became more unstable. This is why I planned for a hyper-converged HyperFlex Infrastructure. Hopefully, this will reduce the percentage the server consumes and an overall performance improvement.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have an internal team that does the support for the solution.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was not complex, there was nothing standing out to me that was difficult.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The price of this solution compared to others is fair.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have been evaluating Cisco HyperFlex which we will be upgrading soon. I compared the two on itcentralstation.com and downloaded the reports, it is better. There is a current need to choose this upgrade and my team will get on it soon.

What other advice do I have?

I wanted to try out Cisco products because most of the big industries use them such as banks, IT, and telecommunications. Cisco itself produced the server and at the time I researched more about Cisco and then I want to try it. This is why I invested in a tool from Cisco. Additionally, I plan to implement level IP2, HyperFlex soon.

I would recommend this solution for the financial sector and big industry enterprise companies that can invest with Cisco long-term. The scalability, high availability, and security all combined is a good offering.

I rate Cisco UCS B-Series a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Integrator