UCS E-Series

Peter Welcher
Architect, Operations Technical Advisor

Cisco announced the UCS E-Series in January. I haven’t been paying close attention to that particular market niche, ran across something about it at Networkers, and checked it out. This blog will briefly cover what the UCS E-Series is, and key items I gleaned about it from the datasheet. I hope this information will be of use to you!
The E-Series is a powerful replacement for the UCS Express platform. It is server hardware (hypervisor host caliber hardware) you run in a Cisco ISR G2 series router (selected 2900 / 3900 series models).

The UCS E-series has some  interesting use cases:

  • Remote office in a box (DNS, Active Directory, print and file services, patching services, local backup, etc.
  • Mission-critical business applications such as Point of Sale (POS), inventory management, electronic medical record (EMR) systems, etc.
  • Running Cisco virtual appliances such as vWAAS at remote sites (and going forward, perhaps other virtualized appliances)

In case you were wondering, the UCS E-series is managed locally off an Integrated Management Controller (CIMC). There is no current management off a central UCS Manager comparable to the way the C-series rack mount servers can be managed.

Operating System support is more broad than the UCS Express:

  • Microsoft Windows Server
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
  • SUSE Linux
  • Oracle Enterprise Linux

Hypervisors supported:

  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • VMware vSphere
  • Citrix XenServer

To better understand the hardware side of this new family of products and how it upgrades the capabilities of the UCS Express, I build the following table from the datasheets for the two product lines:

UCS Express SRE 700- 710 UCS Express SRE 900-910 UCS E 140S UCS E140D or DP UCS E160D, DP
CPU Intel Core 2, 1.86 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo 1, 1.86 Ghz Intel Xeon E3 quad-core Intel Xeon E5-2400 quad core Intel Xeon E5-2400 six core
DRAM 4 GB 4-8 GB 8-16 GB 8-48 GB 8-48 GB
Disk 500 GB 2 x 500 GB Up to 2 drives of 1 TB each,
SAS SSD 200 GB, other alternatives
D model: up to 3 drives
DP model: up to 2 drives
D model: up to 3 drives
DP model: up to 2 drives
NIC 3 x 1 Gbps 3 x 1 Gbps 2 internal, 1 external Gbps 2 internal, 2 external Gbps 2 internal, 2 external Gbps
IO 1 USB 1 USB 2 USB, 1 VGA, 1 serial 2 USB, 1 VGA, 1 serial 2 USB, 1 VGA, 1 serial
PCI card No No No PCI card support, 4 x 1 Gbps or 1 x 10 Gbps / FCoE PCI card support, 4 x 1 Gbps or 1 x 10 Gbps / FCoE

The servers are available in two form factors: a single-wide blade and a double-wide blade. The single-wide blade includes a four-core Intel Xeon E3 processor and occupies a single service module slot in the Cisco ISR G2 device. The double-wide blade occupies two Cisco ISR G2 service-module slots side by side and includes either a four-core or six-core Intel Xeon E5-2400 processor with more RAM and storage capacity than the single-wide module. The double-wide blade also has a PCIe card option for expanding external network and storage I/O.

The new server blades in general support additional RAID capabilities compared to the UCS Express products. See the datasheet for details.

Relevant product positioning from the Q&A sheet:

Cisco UCS Express is designed to host essential infrastructure services and business-critical applications in a lean branch office using a size-, weight-, and power-optimized form factor. Such branch offices typically require only a few physical servers with modest hardware resources. Therefore, Cisco UCS E-Series Servers do not include features such as Cisco® Unified Fabric, Cisco Extended Memory Technology, Cisco VN-Link, and other hardware and large deployment management features that are relevant to data centers and not necessary for most lean branch-office environments.


Cisco UCS E-Series datasheet: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/ps10265/ps12629/data_sheet_c78-705787.html

Cisco UCS E-Series Q&A: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/contnetw/ps5719/ps11273/qa_c67-625001.html

Cisco  UCS Express datasheet: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/contnetw/ps5719/ps11273/data_sheet_c78-625000.html


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