Cisco UCS: What’s the maximum bandwidth per blade?
As I already mentioned in this article, Cisco UCS is a complex combination of components. With the release of the M3 type Cisco UCS blades the number of components have increased and so did the complexity. The result is that I receive calls from colleagues/customers on a regular basis, complaining about the amount of bandwidth per Cisco UCS blade.
I already described that, the maximum number of VIF’s depends on the number of uplinks to the chassis.
With the introduction of the M3 Cisco UCS blades we got a VIC1240 Modular Lan On Motherboard (mLOM) mezzanine adapter which gives 2 x 10Gbps to each Fabric Extender.
There’s also an additional mezzanine slot which can be used for a variety of additional hardware like a FusionIO- or LSI Nytro WarpDrive adapter. In this case we can also use this slot to expand the capacity of the VIC1240 by adding a port expander or a VIC1280. This mezzanine slot also provides 2 x 10Gbps to each Fabric Extender.
Now I learned that the amount of bandwidth for each fabric depends on the combination of the network interface(s) in the blade server and the type of Fabric Extender in the chassis.
UCS Central available NOW
Last Thursday Cisco released version 1.0 of their new multi-UCS-domain management tool,
UCS Central and now it is generally available.
UCS Central is a product that enables IT administrators to manage multiple UCS domains that are managed through individual UCS Managers from a single location through a single interface. UCS Central works closely with UCS Manager and provides consolidated management functionality for multi-UCS-installations. It uses a policy management framework similar to UCS Manager but provides a broader scope of these policies across multiple UCS domains.
In addition, it also provides consolidation of data such as hardware and firmware inventory, faults, ID pools. The product is deployed as a virtual machine that works with the multiple UCS managers. UCS Central manages thousands of physical blade and rack servers that are integrated with UCS fabric interconnects distributed across multiple UCS domains. UCS Central provides a intuitive web based GUI and an accompanying CLI for user access . It also provides an XML API similar to the one found in UCS Manager to provide automation and integration capabilities with higher level systems management tools.
Manage multiple Cisco UCS domains with one tool
Today I visited the Cisco booth here at VMworld 2012 in Barcelona and got a inside view of the UCS Central. UCS Central is a tool Cisco is working on to manage multiple Cisco UCS systems/domains. At the moment it is still in beta but they expect to release it Nov/Dec 2012.
UCS Central is serves as the UCS central nervous system and integrates all UCS components across multiple UCS domains, managing server blades, VMs, storage and networking—across multiple chassis—as a single logical domain. UCS Central provides an intuitive GUI with a command-line interface (CLI) and XML API options. It enables real-time configuration and reconfiguration of resources. The built-in XML API provides an open management framework for customers, developers, system integrators and managed service providers to interoperate with Cisco Unified Computing System resources.
10 things you should know about Cisco UCS
Two years ago the HP Vice President for Enterprise Servers Storage and Networking, Randy Seidl, said the following:
“A year from now the difference will be (Cisco) UCS (Unified Compute System) is dead and we have had phenomenal market share growth in the networking space.“
Man, he must feel pretty stupid right now. In Q2 of 2012 Cisco realized a 22% market share in the blade server market in North America and a 15% market share worldwide. How’s that for being dead, mister Seidl?
I have sold Cisco UCS solutions for about 18 months now and Cisco has definitely made a good impression in the server market. But there are still a lot of people (customers, (former) colleagues, VMware enthusiasts) who have vaguely heard of Cisco UCS but don’t see the distinct differences with blade server solutions like those from HP, IBM, Dell or Fujitsu.
So I decided to sum up
10 things you should know about Cisco UCS
Cisco UCS: What’s maximum number of VIFs per blade?
As one of the largest Cisco Partners in the Netherlands we do a lot of Cisco UCS implementations and as the first company in the Netherlands with the Cisco Advanced Data Center Architecture Specialization, where the place in the Netherlands for Cisco UCS troubleshooting. Last week a colleague was called to a troubleshoot a customer problem.
The customer was unable to create a 14th Virtual Network Interfaces on their Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Card and 13 interfaces is far from the maximum of 128 or 256 possible virtual interfaces per Cisco UCS VIC. Fortunately the solution appeared to be simple.
In a Cisco UCS environment all centralized intelligent occurs in the Fabric Interconnect. When using Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Cards (VICs) you can create Virtual Network Interfaces (VIFs) which can be presented to individual virtual machines. All of these virtual interfaces that are created show up in the Fabric Interconnects. They are called VIFs (Virtual Interfaces) and use VN-Tags.
The number of VIFs per blade is limited by the most restrictive item in the following list:
- the network connectivity from chassis I/O Module (IOM) to Fabric Interconnect;
- the Adapter VN-Tag namespace;
- the OS/BIOS version.
Cisco UCS competitive update webinar
Cisco has been around for years and years on the networking and security side but since a year or so they are a real upcoming player on the server market. Personally I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing Cisco’s Unified Computing Systems first hand and WOW I’m impressed.
On March 23, 2011 (1:00 PM – 2:00 PM GMT) and on March 30, 2011 (2:00 PM - 3:00 PM) Cisco organizes a UCS C-Series – Competitive Update Webinar for you to learn more about the Cisco rack mount server offering.
When you attend this Webinar you will learn about UCS C-Series value proposition and receive an overview and competitive portfolio comparisons. You will also receive guidance on UCS competitive pricing and architectural comparison. Specific areas of focus are management, stateless computing, optimized virtualization, and unified I/O all of which impact TCO.
When you are also interested in Cisco rack mount servers, you can register here.