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Cisco UCS Migrates Server Identities Faster and Easier than HP

At some point, every data center has to migrate a complete server identity between two servers.  This could be driven by maintenance needs, server upgrades or DR/HA and SLA requirements.  For DR/HA, Business Continuity requirements mandate that this be done as quickly as possible, which means automation is critical to drive time to productivity restoration.  True automation equals fewer steps and faster implementation, with the smallest possibility for error.  This is more than just setting up a similar server with the same BIOS and firmware and then doing a lot of manual work requiring multiple administrative domains – compute, network and storage.   I’m talking about QoS, vNIC / vHBA setting, storage access and ownership transfers, etc., the whole enchilada, all delivered in an automated repeatable process by design not by accident.

Not surprisingly, Cisco UCS with UCS Manager does the job – fast, complete and in full.  What may be surprising is that Cisco UCS Manager enables you to do this transfer not just from blade server to blade server, you can also do it from blade server to rack serverUCS Manager comes with and is embedded on the UCS Fabric Interconnects.  I want to emphasize that there is no additional charge for UCS Manager, which is an important consideratin when you look at other companies’ multiple toolsets, agents and databases, most of which carry an additional cost, and which are required to equal UCS Manager functionality.  UCS Manager architecture does not require a separate management server which other designs typically require.

The very best part of the entire activity is that the full migration of the server identity (enabled by Cisco SingleConnect technology) takes just 6 initial steps with UCS Manager; the rest is all about how we deliver on the promise of automation.  UCS Manager lets you use and specify 127+ different server identity parameters including:

48 BIOS Settings

Host BIOS Firmware

Hdwr NIC Teaming (fabric failover)

FC Adapter & Storage Controller Firmware

BIOS & Disk Scrub Actions

IPMI Settings

Dynamic vNICs (VM FEX)

QoS Settings

NIC and HBA Adapter Settings

vHBA WWPN & WWNN Assignment

HBA FC SAN Membership,

NIC Receive Rate & NIC MTU size

FC & iSCSI Boot Parameters

Server UUID

PCIe Bus Scan Order and PCIe Device Slot Placement

And Much Much More…….

The above all sounds good.  Now we need to see ‘proof of delivery’.  Below are the links to a white paper by Principled Technologies that are the real point of this blog – complete (not partial) migration of a server identity from a blade server to a rack server.

Blade to rack migration Paper

The real fun is to watch the accompanying video below.  See for yourself how much time it takes in an apples to apples server identity migration from a blade to a rack server.  Once you take a look at the video (the paper on the right has the full details of the testing), you will find taking a UCS Test Drive worthwhile.


 The ability of Cisco UCS server to manage both blade and rack servers with a single tool is  UCS Manager. Cisco took a unique approach to computing and focused on the common point of interaction, the fabric. Servers don’t operate in isolation. They are part of a total environment that at the minimum encompasses servers, networking, management and storage – a Fabric Based Infrastructure .  Cisco’s comprehensive and efficient architecture is the key to why customers worldwide are rapidly adopting UCS.

For information on how UCS and UCS Manager integrate with a wide variety of our leading management partners follow this link UCS Manager Ecosystem Partners, and for interoperability with other major systems management tools please see the UCS Interoperability page.

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Cisco UCS Management

As Cisco UCS enters a new phase of growth with Cisco’s entry into the top 5-server vendors list, let’s step back and take a look at how we manage infrastructure in the world of Unified Computing. UCS Management is a key ingredient of Cisco’s Unified Data Center, which unifies physical and virtual infrastructures across data centers. The architecture delivers IT services through a holistic fabric-based approach, and has proven to lower the cost of computing and enable real IT innovation.    Customers are reporting an 84% reduction in provisioning times and 61% reduction of ongoing administrative/management costs.  In this post we’ll examine some of the drivers for that.  More recently, UCS Director has bolstered the portfolio and provided significant capabilities to reduce data center operational expenses.  Since there are many questions about how the portfolio products complement each other, I hope to clarify it.


The UCS management portfolio includes:

  • UCS Manager for individual UCS domains
    • Provides embedded, unified, policy based management of Cisco UCS blade and rack servers and all fabric components within the system Read More »

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Cisco UCS in an application centric world

Over the past few months I have been blogging about Cisco UCS in the context of various trends in the IT industry.

  1. Cisco UCS in an industrialized world
  2. Cisco UCS in a world with lotsa data
  3. Cisco UCS in the world of open source computing
  4. Cisco UCS in a world with windows
  5. Cisco UCS in a converged world
  6. Cisco UCS is a cloudy world
  7. Cisco UCS in a social world
  8. Cisco UCS in a mobile world

One thing is clear – IT world is changing and at a pace much faster than we have ever known.  It seems appropriate to culminate the series in the world of applications.  All entities, big and small ultimately want their data center infrastructure to run applications.  They could be collaboration applications for internal use or with partners.  The applications could be developed in house or could be commercial off the shelf (COTS). Some of the applications can provide the firm a competitive edge in the market – think recommendation engine used by Amazon.  At the end of the day the application is providing a valuable service.  With the advent of the Internet of Everything (IOE), there are many sources of data and connections that applications have to consider while delivering the service.

Imagine the Amazon recommendation engine taking into account your location and the temperature from a gauge near you.  Assuming that application services are delivered from a data center, the application must also be cognizant of the different access mechanisms, desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets and mobile phones. The rate of change in these new technologies is brisk.  As these rapid changes take place, Cisco offers Application centric infrastructure to ease the transitions.  Read Cisco CTO, Padmasree Warrior’s blog on this.

Read More »

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Cisco UCS in a converged world

071913 MI MissionPeninsula-31-1

After a refreshing summer road trip through the beautiful Michigan Upper Peninsula I am happy to be back at work.  I even got a fresh perspective on the phrase “cherry picking”.



Henry Moore Nuclear Energy sculptureThe geek in me got to see the “Nuclear Energy” sculpture at site where Enrico Fermi’s Manhattan Project team devised a nuclear reactor to produce the first self-sustaining controlled nuclear reaction at the University of Chicago. ( image from – )



While I was away, I missed an interesting webinar on optimizing operations of Cisco Data Center environments with converged infrastructure management. Thanks to video archiving, I was able to review it this week. EMA analyst Jim Frey gave a comprehensive view of data center management using converged infrastructure.  Some key takeaways from my perspective were:

  1. Converged infrastructure will usher in a renewed focus on application performance and service quality.
  2. The need for automated discovery and configuration will become all the more important with converged infrastructure.
  3. The increased interest in converged infrastructure answered my question “Was 2012 year of the converged infrastructure solutions”

It was very interesting to see a customer – Molina Healthcare – discuss their journey to a service oriented data center.  The reorganization of the IT department along the lines of service delivery was fascinating.  Like other UCS customers, they had seen quantifiable benefits from the Cisco UCS management capabilities.

  • Speed of deployment improved 50- 75% (down to 1 week from 2-4 weeks)
  • Support costs reduced by 60%.
  • Discernable improvements in reliability and availability of the infrastructure.

As integrated infrastructure gains importance in data centers with physical and virtual environments that support application services, simplified management of these assets becomes very important.  The Cisco UCS management portfolio was recently enhanced with the Cisco UCS Director. It provides unified management of industry-leading integrated infrastructure solutions that Cisco delivers with EMC (VSPEX) Read More »

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Cisco at Microsoft WPC 2013 Video Collection

Cisco intern, Renee Yao recording videos from WPC 2013

Cisco intern, Renee Yao recording videos at WPC 2013

The Cisco Data Center team recently wrapped up a great week at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2013. Cisco’s VP of Unified Computing Marketing, Jim McHugh took the opportunity to interview Cisco experts about how Cisco UCS provides an optimal platform for Microsoft oriented data centers and creates opportunities for channel partners to drive new customer engagements and increase sales.

Special thanks Renee Yao for producing these videos as part of her summer internship at Cisco. Renee is a rising senior at UC Berkeley and has done a great job for the UCS marketing team this summer.

Check out our WPC 2013 video collection to learn about joint channel programs and solutions from Cisco, Microsoft and our partners.

Empowering Cisco and Microsoft Partners in the Data Center

Listen as Brian Allison, Cisco Director of Partner Solutions discusses how the Cisco Microsoft Alliance is creating business opportunities for channel partners.

Read More »

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