Last week saw the latest major update to UCS Manager in the form of version 2.2 codenamed “El Capitan”
It certainly doesn’t seem a year since I wrote the summary for the then eagily awaited 2.1 “Delmar” release” but I guess time really does fly when your having fun!
UCSM 2.2 will be the last Major version to include support for Generation 1 hardware. 6100 FI’s, 2104 IOM, M1 Servers and M1 Only Adapters. As such it is expected to be a long-lived release, so expect patches and major bug fixes for approximatley 12 months longer than normal major releases (Circa 4 years).
Remember that Cisco offer the “UCS Advantage Trade in program” which provides an easy path in which to upgrade Generation 1 hardware to the latest versions.
USCM 2.2 Features Overview
- Fabric Scaling:
As you may expect UCSM 2.2 supports more of most things VLANs, VIFs, IGMP Groups, Adapter Endpoints (Physical network adapters across all servers in the UCS domain) This is possible since UCSM 2.2 syncs to an updated underlying NxOS code. Up until now I have never done a design constrained by any of the above, but more is always better right? :-)The table below shows the config maximums for UCSM 2.2 and previous releases.
- IPv6 Management Support:
All 3 IP addresses (2 physical and 1 cluster) are now able to have IPv6 addresses as are the new CIMC “in band” addresses. Services such as NTP, DNS are also reachable via IPv6.
- Uni-Directional Link Detection (UDLD) Support:
Rapidly detects and optionally disables/resets broken bidirectional links. We’ve had this for a long time in Nexus and now its an option on the Fabric Interconnects. And can be enabled either via a global or per port policy.
- User Space NIC (usNIC) for Low Latency:
Designed for High Performance Compute (HPC) applications that require low latentcy fabric and host adapters. usNIC allows latency sensitive MPI (Message-Passing Interface) applications running on bare-metal host OSes to bypass the kernel (Supported on 6200 with “Sereno” based adapters only VIC1240, VIC1280, VIC1225).
- Virtual Machine Queue (VMQ) Support:
Enables support for MS Windows VMQs on the Cisco UCS VIC adapter and Improves VM I/O performance in cases where VM-FEX cannot be used for I/O acceleration..
- Direct Connect C-Series To FI without FEX:
Probably one of the biggest enhancements for me this one, and one Cisco have been gradually working towards. With UCSM 2.2 It is now possible to directly connect a C-Series Rackmount to the Fabric Interconnect by a single cable without the need for a 2232PP FEX. You still have the option of using an extenal FEX which would still be the way to go for a solution with a larger number of integrated C-Series as there will come a point where several 1:1 FI/Port Licences to C-Series will be less cost effective than just buying the 2232PP FEX. But for an environment with just 1 or 2 the “No FEX” option is a clear winner.
- Two-Factor Authentication for UCS Manager Logins:
This is one to make the Security Admin happy. Support for strengthened UCSM authentication (requiring second factor of authentication after the username + password) such as RSA Secure ID, or Symantec VIP Enterprise Gateway.
- VM-FEX for Hyper-V Mgmt with Microsoft SCVMM:
VM-FEX Support on Hyper-V hosts was added in UCSM 2.1, but it lacked a centralized VM Network management (SCVMM integration) A Cisco provider plugin gets installed into SCVMM, fetches all network definitions from UCSM and periodically polls for configuration updates.
- CIMC In-band Management:
If you have ever been a bit frustrated that loading a huge bare metal ISO to a CIMC took a while as you had to go via the 1Gbs FI MGMT port then this should make you happier. With UCSM 2.2 it is now possible to optionally access the CIMC of M3 blades over the same in band network as the data path giving access to all those those lovley 10Gb uplinks. You may also have a requirement to seperate UCSM Management traffic from CIMC Management traffic well now you can. CIMC Out of band is the same as it was you just have the option of connecting to either the In Band or Out of Band CIMC Address. CIMC In-band access supports KVM console, vMedia & Serial over LAN (SoL)
- Server Firmware Auto Sync:
Server Firmware can now be automatically synchronized and updated to the version configured in the new ‘Default Host Firmware Package’ without the need for an Service Profile associated.
- Secure Boot:
Establish a chain of trust on the secure boot enabled platform to protect it from executing unauthorized BIOS images.
UEFI Secure Boot utilizes the UEFI BIOS to authenticate UEFI images before executing them
UCSM GUI will expose:
* Boot Mode radio button (Legacy/UEFI)
* Boot Security check box (visible only when UEFI is selected)
- Enhanced Local Storage Management:
Thanks to a new Out-of-Band communication channel developed between the CIMC and RAID Controller there is now:
* Enhanced monitoring capabilities for local storage
* Allow real-time monitoring of local storage without the need for host-based utilities.
- Precision Boot Order Control:
Enables the creation of boot policies with multiple local boot devices.
Provides precision control over the actual boot order.
- FlexFlash (Local SD Card) Support:
Customers can now manage the FlexFlash Controller configuration from UCSM.
- Flash Adapters and HDD Firmware Management:
UCSM Firmware bundles now contain Flash Adapter firmware and local disk firmware.
Trusted Platform Module (TPM) Inventory:
Allow access to the inventory and state of the TPM module from UCSM (without having to access the BIOS via KVM).
- DIMM Blacklisting and Correctable Error Reporting:
Improved accuracy at identifying “Degraded” DIMMs. DIMM Blacklisting if enabled will forcefully map-out a DIMM that hits an uncorrectable error during host CPU execution
Well thats about it, hope there is somthing in this update for you, there sure is for me :-)