Cisco has announced two rackmounted data centre servers to complement the blade servers it announced earlier this year. The company said that the 1RU and 2RY servers, part of its Unified Computing System strategy, represented an entry level into UCS and provided more choice for customers.

The new C-Series rack-mount servers, which will be available in the fourth quarter of the year, have been designed to help accelerate the adoption of the Cisco unified computing and data centre virtualisation system. Like the predecessor B-Series blades, the C-Series rack mount servers use X86 Intel Xeon 5500 processors and have been optimised for Cisco's memory expansion and virtualised adapter technologies, which are integral to UCS.

The addition of the C-Series lets customers pick the compute form factor that fits their current and future data centres, said Cisco.

These Cisco-developed advances, however, essentially rule out the participation of non-Cisco blade and rack servers in a UCS environment. Cisco has said previously that it has no plans to open up UCS to incumbent data centre servers from HP, IBM, Dell or Sun.

Any plans to licence the virtual adapter and memory extension technologies are null as well. Even though the C-Series rack servers will allow UCS to "reach out to the broad market," Soni Jiandani, Cisco's vice president of marketing for the server access virtualisation group

Cisco already seems to be garnering some attention with UCS, which is planned for a third quarter shipment. Citing a Goldman Sachs survey of 100 IT executives from Fortune 1000 companies, Cisco said nearly two-thirds of respondents expect increased presence for Cisco servers in their data centres in the next two to three years. Eighteen percent say they plan to evaluate Cisco UCS within the year.

Cisco also said about 70 percent of its data centre sales partners are authorised resellers of compute products from a competitor. Cisco expects to have more than 500 data centre network infrastructure partners in place in the next six months.

With that, Cisco this week also introduced two career certifications for its partners, which are intended to authorise them to sell and service unified data centre technologies. The two individual certifications are Data Center Architect and Data Center Engineer.