What is Cisco UCS?
The Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) is an x86 architecture data center server platform composed of computing hardware, virtualization support, switching fabric & management software introduced by Cisco in 2009.
The idea behind the system is to reduce total cost of ownership & improve scalability by integrating the different components into a cohesive platform that can be managed as a single unit.
UCS is a fully integrated solution which brings together network, compute resources & virtualization services.
It simplifies & automates setup & IT operations enabling just-in-time provisioning.
The building blocks of the UCS are:
- UCS Manager
- UCS Fabric interconnect
- UCS Blade Server Chassis & UCS B Series Blade servers
- UCS Virtual Interface cards
- UCS Fabric Extenders
- UCS C-Series Rack Mount Servers
UCS components – Explained
The UCS Manager is the logic embedded in the Fabric Interconnects which provides management of the entire UCS system.
It offers unified embedded management interface that integrates server, network & storage access.
The UCS Manager is the management logic & interface that is used to manage & configure all aspects of the Unified Computing System hardware.
UCS Manager offers either a web browser launched graphical user interface, command line interface via Telnet or SSH or a native XML API.
The Fabric Interconnect or FI is the UCS environment’s egress point.
The Fabric Interconnects provides a consolidated point of connection between the compute nodes & the traditional data center Ethernet & Fiber Channel fabrics. It provides a Unified Fabric connection to the blades themselves using a combination of Fiber Channel over Ethernet & to the traditional Ethernet standards.
UCS Blade Server Chassis & UCS B Series Blade servers:
The Blade Server Chassis & B series server blade servers form the compute component of the UCS.
B series Blade servers supports either full or half slot blade servers.
These are dual socket servers using the latest industry standard Intel x64 architecture.
Inside each blade server are either 1 or 2 mezzanine adapters which utilize the 2 10GE-capable ports to communicate with dedicated internal ports on each of the redundant pair of Fabric Extender I/O Modules in each blade chassis.
There are three different types of mezzanine card available.
• Basic Ethernet NIC,
• Converged Network Adapter
• Cisco Virtual Interface Card.
The UCS B-Series 5108 Blade Chassis provides 8 slots for server blades.
– Up to 8 half width blades
– Up to 4 full width blades
The connection between the blade servers & the Fabric Interconnects are provided the by the Fabric Extender functionality of the I/O Modules which are installed in the rear of each blade chassis.
The I/O Modules also provide the logic for the UCS Manager to manage the blade chassis components & communicate with the integrated Baseboard Management Controller in each blade server.
The 2204 or 2208 are models of the Fabric Extender I/O Modules (IOMs)
UCS C-Series Rack Mount Servers:
Cisco UCS C-Series is similar to the B series servers but they are rack mountable & they offer similar functionality.
These servers can also be integrated with FI similar to the B series blade servers.