I noticed last week that Cisco have just released the eagerly awaited Cisco UCS 3.1 code “Granada” on CCO.
Whenever a major or a minor code drop appears the first thing I always do is read the Release Notes , to see what new features the code supports or which bugs it addresses. Well in reading the 3.1 release notes it was like reading a Christmas list. There are far too many new features and enhancements to delve into in this post, so I will just be calling out the ones that most caught my eye
Cisco UCS Gen 3 Hardware
At the top of the release notes is the announcement that 3.1 code supports the soon to be released Cisco UCS Generation 3 Hardware.
With the new Gen 3 products the UCS infrastructure now supports full end to end native 40GbE.
The Generation 3 Fabric Interconnects come in 2 models the 6332 which is a 32 Port 40G Ethernet/FCoE Interconnect. And the 6332-16UP which as its model number would suggest comes with 16 Unified ports, which can run as 1/10G Ethernet/FCoE or as 4,8,16G Native Fibre Channel.
The 6 x 40G Ports at the end of the Interconnects do not support breaking out to 4 x 10G ports, and are best used as 40G Network uplink ports.
The Gen 3 FI’s are a variant of the Nexus 9332 platform and although the Application Leaf Eungine (ALE ) ASIC which would allow them to act as a leaf node in a Cisco ACI Fabric is present, that functionality is not expected until the 4th Gen FI.
Now that there is a native 40G Fabric Interconnect we obviously need a native 40G Fabric Extender / IO Module, well the UCS-IOM-2304 is it. 4 x Native 40G Network Interfaces (NIFs) and 8 x Native 40G Host Interfaces (HIFs), one 40G HIF to each blade slot. These 40G HIFs are actually made up of 4 x 10G HIFs but with the correct combination of hardware are combined to a single native 40G HIF.
Now as the purists will note in Network speak 1x native 40G is not the same as 4x10G, It’s a speed vs. bandwidth comparison. The way I like to explain it, is if you have a tube of factor 40 sun lotion, and 4 tubes of factor 10, they are not the same thing, 4 x 10 in this case does not equal 40, you just have 4 times as much 10 🙂 It’s a similar analogy when comparing Native 40G Speed & BW and 40G BW made up of 4 x 10G speed links. Hope that makes sense.
As mentioned above depending on the hardware combination you have, will give differing speed and bandwidth options. The three diagrams below show the three supported options.
One Code to Rule Them All.
Next up is that UCSM 3.1 is a Unified code, which supports B-Series, C-Series and M-Series all within the same UCS Domain as well as support for UCS Mini and all this in a single code release.
I’m sure you have all shared my pain with Java in certain situations, so you will be glad to hear that UCSM 3.1 offers an HTML5 user interface on all supported Fabric Interconnects. (6248UP,6296UP,6324,6332 and 6332 16UP) 6100 FI and UCS Gen 1 Hardware is no longer supported as of UCSM 3.1(1e) so do not upgrade to 3.1 you will need to stay on UCSM 2.2 or earlier until you have removed all of your Gen 1 hardware!. (refer to release notes for full list of depreciated hardware)
Support for UCS Mini Secondary Chassis.
I have deployed UCS mini in various situations mainly DMZ, Specialised Pods like PCI-DSS workloads or branch office, and I while 8 Blades and 7 rack mounts has always been enough in many cases an “all blade solution” would have been preferred , well now UCS mini can scale to 16 blades. , You can now daisy chain a second UCS Classic chassis from the 6324FI allowing for an additional 8 blades. You can either use the 10G ports for the secondary chassis or with the addition of the QSFP Scalability Port License you can break out the 40G scalability port to 4 x 10G, as shown below.
- There is now an Nvidia M6 GPU for the B200M4 which would provide a nice graphic intensive VDI optimized blade solution.
- New “On Next Boot” maintenance policy that will apply any pending changes on an operating system initiated reboot.
- Firmware Auto Install will now check the status of all vif paths before and after the upgrade and report on any difference.
- Locator LED support for server hard-disks.
Well that about covers it in this update, am looking forward to having a good play with this release and the new hardware when it comes out.
Until next time