Guest Blog: Jacob Van Ewyk,
Product Manager – Cisco UCS Manager and Cisco UCS Central
One of the great benefits of the Cisco UCS solution is that it includes the management layer -- Cisco UCS Manager - as part of the Fabric Interconnects This ensures that any UCS server connected to a Fabric Interconnect has embedded management of all software and hardware components in that domain. While this is a great solution for many customers, we recognize that some customers want multiple domains, whether for scale, redundancy, multiple locations, or a host of other reasons. While Cisco UCS Manager has an XML API that can help manage multiple domains, Cisco also offers UCS Central to help solve this challenge.
Cisco UCS Central runs as a virtual machine and centralizes many features across multiple domains -- whether local or remote domains. The first release of UCS Central, version 1.0, was released in November 2012 and provided value to customers with central fault management, ID pool management, and global operational polices. However, I am proud to announce that Cisco has released UCS Central 1.1, the follow up release that brings key functionality such as service profiles and templates, policies, statistics, and more. This release is a major step forward in providing a complete, centralized offering that provides the full capabilities of UCS Manager, but across a multi-domain environment.
How does UCS Central 1.1 make your life easier? Here are several good use cases to illustrate the value of UCS Central.
|Bring up an additional domain||Additional domains can pull access service profiles and templates, policies, and ID pools from UCS Central allowing customers to bring up an additional domain in minutes instead of hours or days.|
|Consistent Service Profiles across domains||Global Service Profiles, templates, and policies are available across multiple domains. UCS Central automates the task of replicating the information and ensuring consistency, helping to ensure compliance, simplify HA and DR deployments, and reduce troubleshooting time.|
|Centralized, In-depth Inventory||Simplified inventory reporting and analysis across multiple domains reduces administrative overhead from hours or days to minutes.|
|Centralized Fault Manager||With all of the faults in one place, it helps eliminate oversights, enables quicker problem resolution, and helps provide higher levels of uptime, allowing the team to support more systems with the same people.|
|Capacity and Performance Planning||Detailed bandwidth, power, and thermal statistics that are kept for two weeks or one year instead of 24 hours in UCS Manager enable better system optimization, higher utilization levels, and fewer performance issues. Proper sizing reduces direct costs.|
|Firmware Updates||Automatically get scheduled updates of new firmware bundles pulled into UCS Central and automatically pushed to relevant UCS Manger instances as needed, based on policies. This reduces the administrator time when managing firmware.|
If UCS Central 1.1 is something that you would like to try, you can download it from Cisco.com. It will work for 120 days without a license, so you can test it with your UCS environment, or, deploy it with the UCS Platform Emulator like many people, including myself, do for learning, training, demonstrations, and more. Even better, speak with your Cisco sales rep or partner, and you can get the initial UCS Central license for five domains with no license cost if you wish. However, we definitely recommend also purchasing support for these initial 5 domains and any additional domains if you intend to use UCS Central in a production environment.