Cisco UCS – Unified Computing System

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.

UCS Components:

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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

UCS Manager:

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.

UCS Fabric Interconnect:

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.

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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

Fabric extenders:

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.