UCS Chassis Discovery Policy

So, today’s article will be a short one, but a useful one nonetheless. Here’s the scenario….You have 3 different sets of workloads on your blades that require 3 different levels of bandwidth. Because of this, you put them in different chassis’ to accommodate. Some of these chassis require 20G, some require 40G, and yet some require 80G. Just because they have varying bandwidth requirements should not mean that you cannot move a workload from say the 20G chassis to the 80G chassis if that happens to be where your excess server capacity lies at the moment. UCS is totally flexible with any bandwidth requirement you have (you might call it a ‘FlexNetwork’, but I won’t J). Unlike competing blade solutions available, UCS can deliver this varying bandwidth functionality while maintaining all the servers under a single UI in a single domain of management. If you are a user of HP Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager, this would be analogues to having all of your blades into a single “Domain Group”, but still have varying bandwidth requirements. But why stop at blades? Why not be able to manage “server” objects generically and allow rack and blade servers to be pooled together? We’ve got ya covered there tooContinue reading

What Server Vendor Management Software Do You Use?

So, if you haven’t noticed, we’re building a little momentum with Cisco UCS in the datacenter. In January, Gartner produced their annual Blade Server Magic Quadrant and placed Cisco in the “Visionary” box. I agree that UCS is visionary and we are definitely not a “me-too” entry into the blade server market (our ability to execute can be debated, but …). Later in the same month, SearchDataCenter.com predicted Cisco UCS to be one of the top data trends for 2011. It was nice to read some comments like “Cisco has the most to gain in this new market” and that they expect UCS to have a footprint in “nearly every datacenter around the world”. Then in February, John Chambers announced on the quarterly analysts call that UCS is enjoying a $650M annual run rate with an exploding 700% Y/Y growth rate. We are on target to top $1B in UCS revenue this year. OK, enough sidetrack. Now back to the point of this article…. Continue reading

Cisco QuickLinks – Finding Cisco UCS info…FAST!

So, I know that Cisco’s website is not the easiest to navigate. There are times that I get frustrated trying to find some document that I know I read recently and I just can’t locate it again. Thankfully, someone at Cisco on the UCS team decided to do something about it. Dan Debusschere maintains a site that you will want to bookmark – www.ciscoquicklinks.com. That’s what I love about this team – rarely do you hear a complaint without a simultaneous suggestion for improvement. I can some up the usefulness of the site by saying that at some point, you will find yourself needing one of these things: Continue reading

Providing feedback on Cisco UCS Documentation

So, who reads documentation? All the RTFM remarks aside, I would say that 3 in 10 of us read the product documentation that companies put out. My son got a new airsoft AK47 for Christmas – a direct import from China and I have to say that in that case, 0 in 10 can understand the documentation. Although I am taking caution to not “super extra charge” the battery. Anyway, I hope you’ll agree with me that Cisco pumps out some great stuff in the area of documentation (although only 30% of you can tell me so). And in the past 18 months we have built up quite a library on Cisco UCS. If you’re looking for the landing page for it, you can start here: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/unified_computing/ucs/overview/guide/UCS_roadmap.html
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UCS Only Runs at 10 GE and Requires Nexus – NOT!

So, every time I hear someone say “UCS only runs at 10 GE speeds” I look around to see if one of my competitors is talking. And they have been somewhat effective in continuing to spread this non-truth. To be fair, Cisco didn’t help the situation by not enabling this feature when UCS first shipped. However, starting with UCS firmware release 1.3.1, you can indeed run at 1 GbE speeds. As far as requiring Nexus, that’s another bit of FUD that has never been true. Are there advantages to running at 10 GE? Absolutely. Is it required for a supported UCS configuration? Absolutely not. Continue reading

UCS BIOS Policies

So when I first considered the idea of working for Cisco, I wasn’t really looking for a job. Cisco had not officially announced UCS yet, so I couldn’t get the deep level technical info I wanted about the project. Call it fate, but we announced UCS the same day I left to join the team. I can’t say it was totally blind faith though, because the one thing I did get during our interviews was that they were not “just building blade servers”. They were doing something different and they were approaching problems in ways that other vendors weren’t and they had creative solutions bubbling over. This article is intended to illustrate how that type of thinking is being productized in just one small way. Continue reading

Boot from SAN 101 with Cisco UCS

So my Dad is selling Viagra now – or at least that’s what his latest email claimed. Thinking this was quite a shift from his real estate job, I called him to inquire. It turns out that while dad was sleeping, his yahoo email had been working overtime to provide this medical benefit to everyone in his address book. While I find the emails a minor nuisance, the job of helping him remove the malware from his PC is what I really could do without and it happens time and again. Continue reading