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
    • Simplifies and automates systems management tasks with service profiles and SingleConnect technology
    • Improves IT productivity and agility by enabling automation via higher level tools and integration of UCS with other networking and storage components through an open XML API
    • Provides granular visibility and control through a large ecosystem of management partner tools
  • UCS Central for multiple UCS domains within and across data centers
    • UCS Central interfaces with the UCS Manager in each UCS domain to combine local performance with tiered control to manage thousands of servers
    • Simplifies global operations with centralized firmware upgrades, inventory, faults, logs and server consoles
    • Centralizes management of UCS global policies, service profiles, ID pools and templates
    • Provides the foundation for efficient global administration, better reliability and workload mobility on UCS infrastructure
    • Exposes an open XMI API for large scale automation, and integration with other data center management tools
  • UCS Director for integrated infrastructure management and advanced data center automation
    • Extends policy based control and automation beyond UCS domains and Nexus devices to include compute nodes from other top tier vendors
    • Expands configuration and automation beyond Cisco products to include heterogeneous storage platforms
    • Provides unified management of industry-leading converged infrastructure solutions based on Cisco UCS and Nexus fabric including Vblock, VSPEX, VMAX and FlexPod Express, Data Center and Enterprise
    • Delivers quality and business velocity by ensuring converged infrastructure resources are deployed consistently as intended
    • Presents dashboards for system health and utilization to keep IT informed
    • Enables role based access like UCS Manager to define policies and best practices for the IT organization

The UCS Management portfolio products are complementary to each other and natively provide an API for integration with customer tools. UCS Central and UCS Director utilize the embedded UCS Manager to provide the basic UCS device management capabilities.


We hope that the table above with key attributes of the products helps you resolve when to use them.