Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) (Data Center): A Complete Reference Guide to the Cisco Data Center Virtualization Server Architecture

Cisco Press
Silvano Gai / Tommi Salli / Roger Andersson  
Total pages
June 2010

Product detail

Title no longer available

Table of Contents


Preface xvi

Nomenclature xvi

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

    Data Center Challenges 1

        Environmental Concerns–“Green” 2

        Server Consolidation 3

        Virtualization 4

        Real Estate Power and Cooling 5

        Cabling 5

        Disaster Recovery 7

        Network Virtualization 8

        Desktop Virtualization 9

        Cloud Computing 10

    Evolution of Data Centers 10

        Stand-Alone Servers 11

        Scale-Up 12

        Scale-Out 12

        Scale-Up vs. Scale-Out 12

        Rack-Optimized Servers 13

        Blade Servers 14

        Server Sprawl 15

        Virtualization 17

        Server Deployment Today 18

    Unified Computing System (UCS) 18

Chapter 2 Server Architectures 23

    The Processor Evolution 24

        Sockets 24

        Cores 25

        Threads 27

        Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology 27

        Front-Side Bus 28

        Dual Independent Buses 29

        Dedicated High-Speed Interconnect 30

        Intel® QuickPath Interconnect 31

    The Memory Subsystem 33

        SRAMs 34

        DRAMs 34

        SDRAMs 35

        DIMMs 36

        ECC and Chipkill® 38

        Memory Ranks 39

        UDIMMs and RDIMMs 40

        DDR2 and DDR3 41

    The I/O Subsystem 43

        PCI Express® 43

    Intel Microarchitectures 45

        Platform Architecture 46

        CPU Architecture 49

        Virtualization Support 56

        Advanced Reliability 59

        Advanced Encryption Standard 60

        Trusted Execution Technology 61

        Chip Design 61

    Chipset Virtualization Support 63

        Intel® VT-d for Direct I/O 64

        Intel® VT-c for Connectivity 65

        VMDirectPath® 68

Chapter 3 UCS Enabling Technologies 69

    Unified Fabric 69

        10 Gigabit Ethernet 71

        Lossless Ethernet 72

        Terminology 72

        PFC (Priority-Based Flow Control) 72

        DCBX: Data Center Bridging eXchange 73

        Bandwidth Management 74

        FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) 75

    Virtualization 81

        Server Virtualization 81

        SR-IOV 83

        The IEEE Standard Effort 83

        Port Extenders and Virtualization 84

        VNTag 86

        Fabric Extenders 88

        VN-Link 90

    Memory Expansion 93

        Speed vs. Capacity 94

        Capacity vs. Cost 94

        How Much Memory Is Required? 95

        NUMA 98

        The UCS Approach 98

        The UCS Advantage 101

Chapter 4 I/O Adapters 103

    Disclaimer 104

    The Intel® Approach 104

        10 Gigabit Ethernet NIC Solutions 104

    Intel® 82598 10 Gigabit Ethernet Controller (Oplin) 105

        Support for Multi-Core CPUs 108

        Hardware-Assisted Virtualization 109

        Advanced Features for Storage over Ethernet 109

    Intel® 82599 10 Gigabit Ethernet Controller (Niantic) 109

        Improved Performance 112

        Hardware-Assisted Virtualization 113

        Support for DCB (Data Center Bridging) 114

        Storage over Ethernet 115

        Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) 115

        Time Sync–IEEE 1588 115

        Double VLAN 116

        Security 116

    Intel’s NetEffect™ iWARP Controller (NE020) 116

        iWARP and RDMA 117

        N2020 Architecture 119

        Performance 120

        Summary 122

    Converged Network Adapters (CNAs) 123

    Cisco® Palo 124

    Emulex 129

        Emulex OneConnect OCm10102-FC 130

        FCoE Features 132

        Ethernet Features 133

        Functional Architecture 133

        Deployment in UCS 133

        Management of OneConnect UCNAs 134

        Benefits of OneConnect UCNAs 136

    QLogic® 137

        8000 Series–First Generation CNA 137

        8100 Series–Second Generation CNA 138

    Broadcom® 144

        BCM57711 Dual-Port 10GbE Controller 144

        Advanced Integration 145

        High-Performance Hardware Offload 146

        Broadcom and UCS 151

Chapter 5 UCS B-Series Blade Servers 153

    Components Overview 153

        UCS Manager 154

        UCS 6100 Series Fabric Interconnects 154

        UCS 2100 Series Fabric Extenders 155

        UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis 156

        UCS B-Series Blade Servers 157

        I/O Adapters 159

        Overall Organization 160

        UCS C-Series Rack Servers 161

    Detailed Description 161

        UCS 6100 Series Fabric Interconnects 161

        UCS 2104XP Fabric Extender 168

        UCS 5108 Blade Server Chassis 172

        Two-Socket Blade Architecture 172

        UCS B200 Two-Socket Server 179

        UCS B250 Extended Memory Server 181

        Four-Socket Blade Architecture 182

        UCS B440 Four-Socket Server 186

    Description of Communication Flows 187

        The Boot Sequences 187

        Fabric Interconnect and UCSM 189

        Fabric Extender 190

        Baseboard Management Controller 190

Chapter 6 UCS C-Series Rack Servers 193

    UCS C200 194

    UCS C210 195

    UCS C250 199

    UCS C460 202

        Processors 207

    Adapters 212

    Hard Disk 213

    Management 213

    Software 219

    Physical Parameters 220

        C200 220

        C210 220

        C250 220

        C460 221

        Weights 221

Chapter 7 UCS Manager 223

    UCSM Overall Architecture 223

        System Components 223

        UCSM Is a Model-Driven Framework 227

    Management Information Model 232

    Available Integration Points 233

        Interfaces 233

        Standard (Cut-Through) Interfaces in a UCS 235

        Standard Interfaces in a UCS 237

        Native Interfaces in UCS 239

    Operating Principles 240

        Configuration Policies 242

        Operational Policies 243

        Global vs. Local Policies 244

        Pools 244

        Manual Population of Pools 250

        Automatic Population of Pools 250

        Service Profiles 252

        Service Profile Templates 253

        Organizations 255

        Hierarchical Pool and Policy Resolution 256

        Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) 257

        Locales 258

        Users and Authentication 259

    UCSM and VMware’s vCenter Integration 259

        Integration Architecture 260

        Virtualization Support 260

        Management Plane Integration 261

        Port-Profiles 261

        vNIC Template 262

        Runtime Policy Resolution for Dynamic VIFs 262

        UCS Manager and VM in GUI 264

    Basic System Management with UCSM 264

        Hardware Management 264

        Example of a Chassis Discovery Process 265

        Retirement of Hardware 266

        Firmware Management 266

        Firmware Download Formats 267

        Firmware Life Cycle 268

        Management Firmware Pack Policy 272

        Host Firmware Pack Policy 272

        The Stateless Computing Deployment Model 272

        The Basic Computing Deployment Model 273

        System Setup–Initial Setup 274

        The Default Computing Deployment Model 274

        The Stateless Computing Deployment Model 275

        Requirements for Stateless Service Profiles 280

        System Logging 287

        Faults and Events 289

        Audit Log 291

    Backup and Restore of UCS Manager 292

        Full State Backup 292

        Configuration-Only Backup 292

        Backing Up the UCS 292

        Restoring a Configuration-Only Backup 293

    Integrating with UCS 294

        UCS Manager XML API 295

        UCS XML API Object Naming 296

        Method Categories 296

    UCS Platform Emulator 301

Chapter 8 Third-Party Management Software 307

    BMC® 307

        Just-in-Time Provisioning 308

        Embedded System Management 309

        Business Service Provisioning 313

        Composite Packaging 315

        Configuration Management 316

        Granular Access Control 318

        Compliance 318

        Vision for Automated and Efficient IT 319

    CA® Management Integration with Cisco UCS 322

        Integration Point 323

        CA Infrastructure Management Integration 323

        Discovery, Fault, and Service Modeling 324

        Performance Management and Analytics 327

        Automation 328

        Change and Configuration Management 329

        Service Profile and Application Templates 330

        Automated Provisioning 331

        Policy-Based Automation 332

        User Self-Service 333

        Private Cloud Deployments 333

    EMC® Ionix Products for Cisco UCS 337

        Unified Infrastructure Manager (UIM) 337

        Data Center Insight (DCI) 341

    IBM Tivoli Software Integration with Cisco UCS 344

    Microsoft System Center 346

    VMware vCenter 347

        Communications 348

        Configuration of the DVS 350

        Virtual Machine Adapters 350

        Resource Checks for DRS, HA, and FT 350

Chapter 9 Planning a UCS Blade Server Installation 353

    The Owner of the UCS Domain 353

        User Authentication 354

    Power and Cooling 354

    Physical Sizing and Environmental Requirements 357

    Connectivity 359

    Choosing the Right Cables 361

            Twinax 361

            Fiber 361

    Bandwidth 362

    OS and Application Support 363

    Supported Storage Devices and Protocols 363

    Planning for Redundancy 364

        Power Supply Redundancy 364

        I/O Redundancy 365

        Ethernet Interfaces Redundancy 365

        Fibre Channel Interfaces Redundancy 367

Bibliography 369

    PCI Express 369

    IEEE 802.3 369

    Improvements to Ethernet 369

    IEEE 802.1 Activities 369

    FCoE 370

    TRILL 370

    Virtualization 370

    Memory Subsystem 371

    Intel® Processors 371

    Data Centers 372

    Green 372

    Cloud Computing 372

Glossary 373

TOC, 9781587141935, 5/10/10


Back Cover

The definitive guide to UCS and the Cisco® Data Center Server: planning, architecture, components, deployment, and benefits

With its new Unified Computing System (UCS) family of products, Cisco has introduced a fundamentally new vision for data center computing: one that reduces ownership cost, improves agility, and radically simplifies management. In this book, three Cisco insiders thoroughly explain UCS, and offer practical insights for IT professionals and decision-makers who are evaluating or implementing it.


The authors establish the context for UCS by discussing the implications of virtualization, unified I/O, large memories and other key technologies, and showing how trends like cloud computing and green IT will drive the next-generation data center. Next, they take a closer look at the evolution of server CPU, memory, and I/O subsystems, covering advances such as the Intel® XEON® 5500, 5600, 7500, DDR3 memory, and unified I/O over 10 Gbps Ethernet.


Building on these fundamentals, the authors then discuss UCS in detail, showing how it systematically overcomes key limitations of current data center environments. They review UCS features, components, and architecture, and demonstrate how it can improve data center performance, reliability, simplicity, flexibility, and energy efficiency. Along the way, they offer realistic planning, installation, and migration guidance: everything decision-makers and technical implementers need to gain maximum value from UCS–now, and for years to come.


Silvano Gai has spent 11 years as Cisco Fellow, architecting Catalyst®, MDS, and Nexus switches. He has written several books on networking, written multiple Internet Drafts and RFCs, and is responsible for 80 patents and applications. He teaches a course on this book’s topics at Stanford University.


Tommi Salli, Cisco Technical Marketing Engineer, has nearly 20 years of experience with servers and applications at Cisco, Sun, VERITAS, and Nuova Systems.


Roger Andersson, Cisco Manager, Technical Marketing, spent more than 12 years in the CLARiiON® Engineering Division at EMC, and 5 years as Technical Product Manager at VERITAS/Symantec. He is now focused on Cisco UCS system management.


  • Streamline data centers with UCS to systematically reduce cost of ownership
  • Eliminate unnecessary server components–and their setup, management, power, cooling, and cabling
  • Use UCS to scale service delivery, simplify service movement, and improve agility
  • Review the latest advances in processor, memory, I/O, and virtualization architectures for data center servers
  • Understand the specific technical advantages of UCS
  • Integrate UCS 6100 Fabric Interconnect, Cisco UCS 2100 Series Fabric Extenders, UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Enclosures, UCS B-Series Blade Servers, UCS C-Series Rack Servers, and UCS Adapters
  • Use Cisco UCS Manager to manage all Cisco UCS components as a single, seamless entity
  • Integrate third-party management tools from companies like BMC®, CA®, EMC®, IBM®, Microsoft®, and VMware®
  • Practice all this with a copy of Cisco Unified Computing System™ Platform Emulator Lite (UCSPE Lite) on the DVD in the back of the book


This book is part of the Networking Technology Series from Cisco Press®, which offers networking professionals valuable information for constructing efficient networks, understanding new technologies, and building successful careers.




Silvano Gai, who grew up in a small village near Asti, Italy, has more than twenty-seven years of experience in computer engineering and computer networks. He is the author of several books and technical publications on computer networking as well as multiple Internet Drafts and RFCs. He is responsible for 30 issued patents and 50 patent applications. His background includes seven years as a full professor of Computer Engineering, tenure track, at Politecnico di Torino, Italy and seven years as a researcher at the CNR (Italian National Council for Scientific Research). For the past thirteen years, he has been in Silicon Valley where in the position of Cisco Fellow, he was an architect of the Cisco Catalyst family of network switches, of the Cisco MDS family of storage networking switches, and of the Nexus family of data center switches. Silvano teaches a course on the topics of this book at Stanford University.


Tommi Salli, who was born and raised in Finland, has close to 20 years of experience working with computers. He has extensive server and application background from companies like SUN Microsystems and VERITAS Software, which later got bought by Symantec from where he moved to Nuova Systems that got bought by Cisco. He has held different positions from Sales Engineer to Technology Scouting in the office of CTO from product management to architect and during his journey, he has been responsible for seven patent applications. He started his career in Finland, and for the past five years, he has been in Silicon Valley and is currently working for Cisco systems as a Technical Marketing Engineer.


Roger Andersson was born in Stockholm, Sweden. He has spent 20 years in the computer industry in both Sweden and the United States. Roger’s experience includes more than 12 years in the CLARiiON Engineering Division at EMC and five years at VERITAS/Symantec where Roger worked as a Technical Product Manager focusing on systems management, server, and application automated provisioning. Roger is currently working at Cisco as a Manager, Technical Marketing, where he is focused on the system management aspects of a Unified Computing System.