As you may be aware a major UCS Manager update has been in development for the past 12 Months or so, I have been keeping a keen eye on this as there are several aspects to the new release which I have wanted for a long time.
As some of my blog readers would know, about 8 months ago I wrote a post entitled “UCS the perfect solution?” where I detail my top five gripes or features I would like to see in Cisco UCS Manager. Well with the imminent release of UCSM 2.1 they are now all pretty much crossed off.
This release previously only referred to by the Cisco Internal Code Name “Del Mar” has been allocated the version number 2.1 currently due for general release Q4 this year.
The above shows the maintenance releases for Capitola (UCS Manager 2.0) including the current 2.0(4) release required to support the new B420 M3 4 Socket Intel E5 “Romley” Blade.
I have summarised the key features of Del Mar below and picked out some of the key ones.
1. Multi-Hop FCoE
So first off and one of the most eagerly awaited features is full end to end FCoE. This means we will no longer have to split Ethernet and Native Fiber Channel out and the Fabric Interconnect. But have the option of continuing the FCoE connectivity northbound of the FI into a unified FCoE switch like Nexus and beyond or even plug FCoE arrays directly into the FI itself. As shown below.
Main Benefits: further cost reduction in cabling etc.. No dedicated native fiber channel switches required, full I/O convergence in the DC now available.
2. Zoning of Fabric Interconnects
Full Zoning configuration now supported on the FI. Previously the FI could only inherit zone information from a Nexus or MDS switch, with UCSM 2.1 the FI will support full Fiber Channel zoning
Benefits: Fabric Interconnect could now also be used as a fully functional FC switch for smaller deployments negating the requirement for a separate SAN fabric.
3. Unified Appliance Ports.
You will now be able to run both Block and File data over a single converged cable directly into your FCoE Storage array (NetApp will be the only Array supported initially), as shown below
Benefits: Further cost reductions by consolidating ports and cabling, and running both Block and file data over the same cable.
4. Single Wire C series Integration
C series Integration is now where it should be i.e. a single 10Gbs connection to each Fabric by way of a 10Gbs External Fabric Extender (Nexus 2232PP). This single 10Gbs connection to each fabric carries both data and management (in the same way as the B-series blades). Prior to 2.1 you had to cable the C-Series with a separate cable for Data and Management.
In essence you are creating a blown out chassis, with external FEX’s and Compute Nodes.
I’m a great believer in the right tool for the job and not all roads lead to a Blade form factor. So having tight seamless rack mount integration is great. And if for whatever reason you want to move a work load from a blade to a UCSM integrated rack mount, it’s just a few short clicks to accomplish.
(Supported Single Wire platforms C22M3, C24M3, C220M3, C240M3)
5. Firmware Auto Install
Anyone who has done a UCS infrastructure Firmware upgrade knows it is a bit of a procedure and obviously has to be done in a particular order to prevent unplanned outages. UCSM 2.1 comes with a Firmware Auto Install wizard which automates the upgrade.
The Firmware Auto install below upgraded my entire UCS Infrastructure in 35mins, in the correct order, with only a Fabric Interconnect reboot user acknowledgement required.
Benefits: Should provide a consistent upgrade process and outcome, reduce margin for human errors, speed up upgrade time.
6. Rename Service profiles
Hurray, been waiting for this for a long time.
You will now be able to non disruptively rename Service Profiles,
This puts the power back into using Service Profile Templates, as I found myself cloning SP’s rather than generating batches from Templates, purley because I did not want a generic prefix that I could not change.
Service Profile Templates cannot be renamed, nor will you be able to move service profiles between organisations. But hey that’s no real biggy they are easy enough to clone into a different Org then just change the addresses manually (Pools will update themselves with these manual address assignments)
7. Fault Suppression
I’m sure you have all at some point rebooted a blade or made planned config changes to an SP only to see UCSM display a plethora of errors while the change is being applied. Obviously if this was planned you don’t want your Call Home or Monitoring system to alert on these “Phantom Errors”
Worry Not! you will now be able to put an SP into “Maintenance Mode” and while in Maintenance Mode UCSM will not report any errors for that SP.
Also Existing error conditions that are “expected” will no longer raise faults. Ie. VIF flaps during service profile association/de-association etc.
8. Support for UCS Central
UCS Central previously known under the Cisco Internal code name “Pasadena” is due out later this year. UCS Central will allow full management and pooling of addressing between separate UCS domains. UCS Central will be released in two functional phases. Phase 1: Able to pool and share resources between multiple UCS domains.
Phase 2: Able to move Service Profiles between multiple UCS domains.
See my full post on UCS Central Here.
9. VM-FEX Supported in Hyper-V
VM-FEX will be supported in Microsoft Hyper-V as will Single Root I/O Virtualisation (SRIOV) where the Hypervisor will support dynamic creation of PCI devices on the fly. (Currently this is done via UCSM)
10. VLAN Groups
You will now be able to group VLANs and associate these groups to certain uplinks, (will be a nice feature when using disjoint layer 2)
11. Org Aware VLANs
Another nice feature is that Organisations can now be given permissions to particular VLANs, so in essence Service Profiles can be limited to only being able to use VLANs assigned to the Organisation they are in. In fact when creating a Service Profile the admin only has visibility of the VLANs granted to the Org they are creating the Service Profile in.
Great for multi-tenancy environments as well as reducing the possibility of misconfigurations and enforcing security policy.
Anyway that’s my summary, lots of good stuff coming.