Hardware and Technology Updates in the Cisco UCS Server Products
Cisco Unified Computing Solution (UCS) is a very popular and powerful solution. Cisco continues to provide updated UCS management options for the full range of data center installations.
In 2014, Cisco Unified Computing Solution (UCS) became the number one server in the US in the x86 blade server market with over 42 percent market share up from 2.4 percent in 2009. Cisco has recently pushed even harder with several additional added technologies to enhance UCS.
The focus of this white paper is to provide an update on the new UCS related technologies.
Cisco UCS B Series Generation II Hardware Updates
One of the best Cisco UCS B server hardware performance and failover improvements from Gen I to Gen II is port channeling in the chassis and from the connection of the Input Output Module (IOM) to the Fabric Interconnect (FI). This requires the new Gen II hardware for all three components:
- IOM: 2204 or 2208, which support port channeling for the four or eight 10 Gbps ports
- FI: 6248 or 6296 for 48 or 96 ports total, respectively
- VIC: 1240, 1280 or other new released Gen II VICs
In the 1990s, the Spanning Tree Protocol did its job well blocking Layer 2 loops in an Ethernet network. However, in today's refined Cisco UCS datacenter design approach, losing bandwidth due to a blocked spanning tree port on even one 10 Gbps link is very inefficient, not to mention totally unacceptable. While there are several technologies in the data center to improve upon spanning tree, the default Cisco UCS method to eliminate spanning tree blocked ports on a UCS Ethernet uplink port is called pinning. Pinning is a logical path of connectivity that starts from the vNIC to the Ethernet Uplink Port and from the vHBA to the Fibre Channel Uplink port. Study the following drawing. For illustration purposes only, generation I hardware is shown on the left and generation II on the right. Pinning is illustrated with the blue arrows for Ethernet and orange for Fibre Channel (FC).