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An Update on UCS C-Series Management

Yesterday we released an update to the UCS C-Series Cisco Integrated Management Controller (CIMC) firmware, v1.3(1c). The C-Series CIMC is the mechanism for managing UCS C-Series servers in standalone mode, that is, as standard x86 rack-mount servers, independent of a unified computing environment.

Cisco has integrated features natively into the C-Series CIMC to avoid the use of host agents running on the main server operating system. Host agents can tax the main CPU and be complex to manage in terms of licensing and version management. Cisco UCS C-series drives SNMP messaging directly from the CIMC port, providing monitoring capability without the need for agents running on the host. Other features include enhanced HDD/RAID  and power monitoring and a Quick Start Utility Pack for easy BIOS/CIMC/LOM firmware upgrade—via a web GUI.

When we released UCS Manager v1.4 back at the end of December, one of the big pieces of news was the ability to manage B- and C-Series together. The C-series CIMC uses the UCS MIBs to give users a consistent management experience whether deployed as part of a UCSM system or in a standalone deployment, so there is no learning barrier to transitioning from a standalone environment to a unified computing deployment at a later time.

To download the C-Series v1.3(1c) firmware, go here (log-in required).

And by the way, the UCS Platform Emulator for UCS Manager v1.4 is now in general availability and can be downloaded here, if you want to test out managing your C-Series servers from UCS Manager.

New Trends in Data Center Fabric and Cloud Computing: March 30th

Amazing how many conversations on data center fabric happened over the past months with more “heat ” in the last 4 weeks . But as an innovative thought leader in network, and as we extend our footprint in data center, with a vision and execution that more and more companies embrace, we have been very eager to clarify some concepts , which have been  misrepresented by competitive fud – See the recent blog from John McCool – when at the same time we keep delivering what we promised.

On March 30th at 9:00 am PST , we invite you to join us for  an unique live  event called   “Evolutionary Fabric , Revolutionary Scale “ – It will be an opportunity to better understand how IT organizations can handle in a nondisruptive way Dynamic Data Center and Cloud environments using Cisco technologies, solutions and architecture. You will see how Cisco continues to evolve its standards-based fabric portfolio and provides architectural flexibility to deliver any application, across any location, at scale in a simple and secure manner.

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To Tell the Truth: Multihop FCoE

In the old television show, “To Tell The Truth,” celebrity panelists would attempt to decipher the true identity of one of three people, two of which were imposters.

Sure, they looked alike, sounded alike, and had very similar characteristics, but there was only one genuine article.

As we move deeper into the capabilities of FCoE, it’s now starting to become obvious that people are starting to become more sophisticated about what happens beyond the first switch. Not surprising, we start getting a lot of possibilities that look and sound alike, but are not really bona fide multihop FCoE. Read More »

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FCoE Cabling – Before and After

This came to me today from one of our customers who was extremely excited. We’ve heard about FCoE helping reduce cables, power and cooling costs, etc.

But while all the talk is good, having a couple of side-by-side photos really brings the point home. The below pictures are actual servers being used by a customer, and what happened when they started using FCoE.

Server Cabling, without FCoE and with FCoE

FCoE, cabling before and after

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How To Turn Up A UCS Over Your Lunch Break…and Still Have Time For Lunch

Their Version of "Integrated"

So, innovation comes in many forms. You hear me use this space to talk about all sorts of cool new products and technologies, but, sometimes, innovation manifests itself in other ways. One of the points we have always maintained about the Cisco UCS is that it was a clean-sheet design, driven by fresh thinking on what the convergence of network and compute infrastructure should look like. One result of this is that, with UCS, we have a completely new approach to management and operations–almost shocking in its simplicity. While I could wax rhapsodic about this for the next few hundred words, I thought its a story better told by others.

The first story came to me via Michael Heil, aka HeathITGuy. Michael has written numerous times about his positive experiences with the Cisco UCS. Recently, he related the story of adding a chassis to his existing system. Now, bear in mind, I had heard stories that doing this with some of the other “integrated systems” out there actually involves a professional services engagement. In Michael’s case, he gave the job to Jason, someone who joined his team all of a month ago. Michael helped Jason rack the new chassis, but beyond that, Jason was able to do the rest of the turn-up by himself–took all of 27 minutes.

Lest you think that’s a fluke, check out this video by Tjerk Bijlsma and his buddies in Amsterdam:
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