Cisco Announces Updates to UCS and Nexus Lines

November 1, 2012 – Cisco Announces Updates to UCS and Nexus Lines

Today was a great day for current (and future) Cisco UCS customers.  While UCS has been taking over the #2 slot in the blade server market there have also been some challenges.  Scalability, management of rack mount UCS servers, and lack of local zoning and storage protocol support on the fabric interconnects.

I’m a huge fan of UCS and honestly designing around (or through) these and other challenges wasn’t a big deal for most of my customers.  But many of these challenges have been solved with the announcements Cisco made today.  I don’t need to reinvent the wheel so I’m just going to link to some great resources regarding these announcements.  In addition to UCS there has been an update to Cisco’s Cloud management tools and the Nexus 7000 product line.

  1. UCS Central – This new tool allows us to manage multiple UCS domains.  As Colin McNamara puts it, “A manager of managers”.  Here’s the announcement. *UPDATE* Here’s another good article by Colin Lynch (@UCSGuru).
  2. Cisco UCS Manager 2.1 – This update brings us the ability to manage our UCS rack mount servers via UCSM over a single cable.  Previously we required separate data and management cabling which could cause some messes in your design and racks.  UCSM 2.1 also allows us to do Fiber Channel zoning directly on the Fabric Interconnects as well as multi-hop FCoE.  Here’s a post by Colin McNamara (@colinmcnamara) that talks about both UCS Central and UCSM 2.1.
  3. Nexus 7004 Announced – This one has been in the rumor mill for quite some time and I’m glad it finally has been officially announced.  The 7004 has a side-to-rear air flow which is unique in the 7000 series.  It also doesn’t require fabric modules which reduces the complexity and footprint.  It will be a good fit for those who couldn’t justify the cost of a 7009 or 7010 but still wanted more than what a pair of Nexus 5500′s had to offer.  Read more here.
  4. Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud 3.1 – This is a tool that is new to me and I definitely need to learn more about its use cases and requirements. At a minimum it helps manage and orchestrate VDC’s (virtual data centers) within your cloud infrastructure.  Here are two great links to learn more. Announcement  and 5 Cool Things to Know about CIAC 3.1.

I’m sure there is going to be a flurry of information coming over the next few weeks.  UCSM 2.1 is not available for download yet but I plan on taking a look at it as soon as the release notes are posted.  Hopefully they’ll update the UCS simulator soon as well.  I’m curious to look at how CIAC might integrate or compete with VMware’s vCloud.  Stay tuned for more on these topics!