Introducing Cisco UCS M5 B-Series Blade Servers

melissa • July 11, 2017 • No Comments

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been waiting with baited breath for the introduction of the Cisco UCS M5 servers. Why? Simple. The Cisco UCS M4 servers are great, and I can’t wait to see what they’ve done to improve the Cisco UCS M5 servers.

The good news is, the wait is over! The Cisco UCS M5 servers are finally here! Let’s take a closer look at the brand new Cisco UCS M5 B-series blade servers.  If you are interested in learning more about the Cisco UCS M5 C-Series rack servers, be sure to check out this link.

There are two brand new Cisco UCS M5 B-series blade servers. First,there is the B200 M5, which takes up one of the eight blade chassis slots. Then, there is the B480 M5, which is a wide blade that takes up to of the eight blade chassis slots.

Cisco UCS B200 M5

Let’s start by taking a closer look at the Cisco UCS B200 M5.

cisco ucs b220 m5 b-series

Like its predecessor, it can support two processors, and 24 DDR4 DIMMS for RAM. The Cisco UCS B200 M5 supports Intel Xeon Scalable Processors (which we’ll talk more about in a bit) and DIMMs up to a speed of 2666 MHz, and 128 GB in capacity.

What’s really, really exciting about the B200 M5 is that it can support up to two GPUs. Yes, you read that right. This means in the 6 RU form factor of the UCS 5108 Blade Chassis you can have 16 blade GPUs.  If you choose to place two GPUs in the B200 M5, one will be placed in the front mezzanine slot.  It is important to note that this is where the drive cage and raid controller are placed, so if you’re using two GPUs, you lose the ability to place drives.

Speaking of drives, if you need onboard storage on your B200 M5 blade, the possibilities are endless. It supposed HDD, SSD, and now NVMe. It can also support PCIe Flash and SD or M.2 (aka “gum stick”) memory as well, which is not impacted by placing a second GPU in the blade.  You an use this as your boot media.

Cisco UCS B480 M5

Now, let’s take a look at the B480 M5. Think about doubling the capacity of a B200 M5 in CPU, Memory, and IO ability. This allows for 4 CPUs, 48 DIMMS, and up to 4 GPUs. This is ideal for intense workloads that can take advantage of all this power, and once again, is very dense. That’s 16 CPUs and GPUs in 6RU of space.

cisco ucs b480 m5 b-series

Like its smaller sibling, the Cisco UCS B480 M5 supports  HDD, SSD,  NVMe, PCIe Flash, SD, and M.2.  It will be available in August 2017.

The Intel Xeon Processor Scalable Family

The Cisco UCS M5 launch also aligns with a major launch of Intel’s. The Cisco UCS M5 platform will be using processors from the Intel Xeon Processor Scalable family. These processors are also know as the “Skylake” family of processors. The “Skylake” family can feature up to 28 cores.  In 2019, the Cisco UCS M5 B-Series will introduce the “Cascadelake” CPU family.

For more on the Intel Xeon Processor Scalable family, be sure to check out this blog from Intel.

What’s Missing?

If you’re familiar with the UCS M4 B-Series blades, you may notice something I missing. It is time to say goodbye to the B460, B260, and B420 blade servers. These larger form factor blades are replaced by the Cisco UCS B480 M5. The good news is the B200 M5 and the B480 M5 can easily handle a number of workloads – I do not think their M4 counterparts will be missed.

Software Requirements

The B200 M5 will require UCS Manager (also known as UCSM) version 3.2(1), and the B480 M5 will require UCSM 3.2(2).  As usual, UCS Manager updates are non disruptive to your environment, so it will be easy to accommodate the Cisco UCS M5 B-Series hardware.

If you are interested in resources to dive further into the technical details behind the Cisco UCS M5 B-Series blade servers, be sure to read about Navigating Cisco UCS Documentation: Data Sheets and Spec Sheets here.

The requirements for the Cisco UCS M5 C-Series rack servers are similar, be sure to check out this link to learn more about the Cisco UCS C-Series rack servers.



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