Monday, January 25, 2010

UCS Video: Service profiles creation

Continuing with the Unified Computing System posts I wanted to touch on the concept of Service Profiles in UCS. Service Profiles is a logical construct that makes the UCS stateless. In other words, servers are logical entities that reside in a hardware platform. These logical servers can be associated and dissociated from the physical hardware with the click of a mouse. With them, you can replace, provision, and enable a server in a matter of minutes.

Quoting the configuration guide: "Each service profile serves a specific purpose: ensuring that the associated server hardware has the configuration required to support the applications it will host. The service profile maintains configuration information about the server hardware, interfaces, fabric connectivity, and server and network identity. This information is stored in a format that you can manage through Cisco UCS Manager. All service profiles are centrally managed and stored in a database on the Fabric Interconnect."

Some important characteristics of Service Profiles:

  • It is a self-contained definition of server and connectivity configuration and identity.
  • It applies to compute resource via direct association or via pools.
  • It can be migrated with no local dependencies.
  • It can be created into a template and it can be cloned.
  • One server can host one and only one service profile at a time.
  • After you associate a service profile with a server, the server is ready to have an OS and applications.

The exact and official configuration guide can be found here

I tried to create a smooth illustrative video of how to configure Service Profile and apply them to hardware. Here's my attempt at that (my excuses in advance for the going back and forth in the video):

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cisco UCS Manager GUI for Mac vs PC

I just wanted to show some comparison screenshots of the UCS Manager in a Windows PC vs a Mac with OS X. The UCS Manager runs on top of Java, so it is no surprise that it runs on Macintosh.

Let's see if you can tell which is which...

For all the things that I tested, everything worked in both Mac and PC Java clients. I have not had a chance to test extensively, but I expect something to not work exactly 100% in the Mac. The only detail that I found was that some windows that pop up were not sized correctly - workaround: drag the corner and resize manually.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A quick look at Cisco Unified Computing

I got my hands into a Cisco Unified Computing System (a.k.a. Cisco UCS) and thought of creating a quick video to show the GUI and take this post to a more technical level.

The UCS is managed via a UCS Manager interface, which resides in the Fabric Interconnects. If you are familiar with the architecture, you know that UCS has many components:

  1. A Pair of Fabric Interconnects that manage and connect everything
  2. The I/O or Fabric Extenders that reside on the chassis and provide connectivity from each blade server to the Fabric Interconnects
  3. A server/blade chassis
  4. Half width or full width blade servers
  5. A Mezzanine card with 3 options for server I/O: VIC (with support for VNTags), CNA (for Hardwre based FCoE), or a software based FCoE NIC.

The management of the entire system (whatever number of blade server are connected thru a single pair of Fabric Interconnects) is managed via the UCS manager. The fabric interconnects form a cluster with 3 management IP's: one for each interconnect, and a cluster IP.

To initiate the UCS Manager, just open a browser, and point it to the Cluster IP.

Note: Watch in full-screen for a better experience