UCS: The Perfect Solution?

I was talking to a customer the other day, who said to me, words to the effect of “I’m sure you can talk to me for hours about how good Cisco UCS is and all its good points, but I can get that from Cisco, as an independent service provider, tell me what you don’t like about it” I thought wow what a great question, so I answered that no vendors solution is ever perfect and that most of my “gripes” about UCS, could be better described as “it would be nice to haves”

But as the Banner of this site says “Independent site for Cisco UCS”, I have listed my top 5 Things / feature requests I would like to see addressed in future updates. Now I’m not talking major features or funcionality enhancements which Cisco either already has in its roadmap or will no doubt be addressing anyway, but more about the little things that would just be nice to have.

Now not being a programmer some of my “wish list” may not be as simple as it sounds, but hey if you don’t ask etc..

1) Rename service profiles
While I love the power of templates, it is an annoynace that I don’t have full control of the service profile names generated therefrom, or be able to rename them afterwards. Instead I find myself cloning service profiles (Clones can be freely named) and then binding them to an updating template. Not a huge effot I know but still. This has been addressed in part,by being able to attach a user defined label to service profiles, but these labels do not show up on a KVM session or KVM Launch Manager. (One of the few downsides of an XML based system perhaps.)

2) Negate View privilage
Cisco UCS is very well suited to host Multi-Tenant environments, and RBAC and locales are great features for controlling access but currently “Tenant A” admins, still have read only visability to “Tenant B’s” policies and resources. A “no access” privilage or filter would be nice to negate even view rights to particular locales. This should also include KVM visability, i.e. only service profiles within a locale should be visable via the KVM console to users assigned to that locale. Now I appreciate that in a lot of cases even multi-tenant environments the UCS admins are common, but there many times they are not, even different business units within an organisation may have different UCS admins, and especially KVM users.

3) vHBA passthrough to a VM in ESXi.
I have had occasions when I have wanted to pass through a vHBA created on a Cisco VIC to a VM, Tape Library control being the last requirement. This however is not supported (yet) but I guess this may well just be a limitation of I/O virtualisation at present not just Cisco UCS. For this use case using VMware VMDirectPath I/O on a vHBA would be required rather than a vHBA equivilent of VM-FEX.
Only UCS options were to use a small bare metal blade, which for a very low workload seemed a bit of a waste, or use a small C series rack mount.

4) Windows Teaming driver for Palo vNICs
A Windows 2008 R2 Baremetal teaming driver for the Cisco VIC would be nice, so I can have simple teamed Load balancing from a Bare metal windows host.

5) One click asset export from UCSM
In most UCS installs there is a need to capture all part and serial numbers, it would be nice to have a 1 click asset export option in UCS Manager to export all parts and serial numbers to a spreadsheet or CSV file. Rather than having to do several CLI show commands, or use scripts.

If anyone has found good interim solutions to any the above, it would be great to hear from you, equally what “gripes” would you like to see addressed in future updates?

Reference version 2.0(1w)

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About ucsguru

Principal Consultant and Cisco UCS Subject Matter Expert
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9 Responses to UCS: The Perfect Solution?

  1. Eugene says:

    #4 iss already available as of last week.

  2. ucsguru says:

    Thanks Eugene, I see there was an update to the UCS-Related Windows utilities 2.0(1b) realeased 05-MAR-2012, Can’t see any reference to teaming vNICs in the release notes, but I assume this is the update you mean, so I will check it out.
    Thanks again.
    1 down 4 to go :-)

  3. Craig says:

    1) Rename service profiles
    The Database used the Service Profile name as the “key”. Have talked with some advanced services people from Cisco for UCS and they all agree “bonehead idea”. Being able to rename service profiles would be great.

    If you delete, and re-create you almost always get the same WWPN’s and MAC’s. That is my method. Works 95%.

    Craig

    • ucsguru says:

      Thanks Craig
      For a 95% success rate, I’ll stick with just changing the user labels for now :-)
      Love your site by the way, will add you to the “blog roll”
      Regards
      Colin

  4. Joe says:

    Another option I’d like to have in UCS Manager is the ability to drag and drop Service Profiles into different organizations. We setup an environment initially with a customer that had no plans on creating organizations. Later, the company made changes and decided organizations were probably best. Unfortunately I had to recreate every single service profile by hand and manually go in and reconfigure each one’s HBA WWPN/WWNN and NIC MAC addresses.

    From the sounds of it, if they don’t release the service profile as the key, this may never be able to happen.

    • ucsguru says:

      Hi Joe
      Totally agree, I have also been there many times, moving SP’s to differnt Organisations, You can Drag and Drop SP’s into different organisations but as you say this does not move the SP but instead creates a copy in the new Org, which has different WWNN, WWPN and MACS then as you say some manual work required to rename all these to what they were before. UCS does I’m glad to say know if you have manually assigned a address which also exists in a pool, and marks that address as assigned.
      Thanks for the comment.
      Colin

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