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Simplify Systems Management at Scale with Cisco UCS Central

- May 17, 2017 - 4 Comments

The new release of Cisco UCS Central Software makes it easier for you to manage a wide range of environments at scale, even if the servers are in different corners of the globe. It incorporates significant enhancements to automate and simplify routine tasks, enhance consistency, and reduce risk.

Guest Blogger: Jeff New, Product Manager, UCS Management

We developed Cisco UCS Central Software to support large scale, distributed server environments of up to 10,000 Cisco UCS B-Series, C-Series, S-Series servers and Cisco HyperFlex hyperconverged systems. Generally when you increase the scale of something, it also increases the complexity. For the past two years we have been enhancing UCS Central with the goal of making it far easier to manage large-scale, diverse environments. The new 2.0 version of UCS Central continues that progress and makes it easier than ever to reap the benefits for customers who are new to Cisco UCS as well as those that already have UCS but haven’t yet taken full advantage of everything that UCS Central offers.

More Than a Global Dashboard

When the goal is to provide infrastructure lifecycle management as well as a global means of monitoring system health and inventory, it takes more than a nice dashboard.  Health and inventory functions are about all you will find in a competing product, but UCS Central takes it to an entirely different level.  It provides global configuration and lifecycle management without the need to individually spawn additional management interfaces. Health and inventory status are easily consumed with customizable dashboards, reporting, an intuitive HTML 5 user interface, as well as centralized fault summaries and inventories. You can also search through thousands of servers, policies, and other elements quickly and easily.

This videos provides a good introduction to UCS Central.

Making Global Management More Efficient

Cisco UCS service profiles and templates have made IT departments much more effective and have resulted in significant OpEx savings. UCS Central provides global automation by allowing you to manage and configure all the servers supported by UCS Manager. The Cisco UCS global service profiles and templates enable fast and simplified infrastructure deployments and ensure consistency of configurations throughout the environment. They enable global bare-metal workload mobility in much the same way a hypervisor does for virtualized workloads.

You also have the following advantages for global management:

  • Selectively choose what aspects will be global versus local.
  • Utilize global object management to enable a single global organizational structure.
  • Group your UCS Domains logically (by site, datacenter, etc.) in order to apply common operational policies, such as authentication settings, DNS, NTP, backups, SNMP/Syslog, Call Home, and more
  • Use VLAN / VSAN aliases to abstract network specifics that may differ from site to site, so global policies are seamless no matter where they are deployed
  • Keep your firmware and drivers up to date with Hardware Compatibility Reports backed by an always current HCL hosted on cisco.com.
  • Streamline infrastructure firmware upgrades for one or many domains by policy, schedule, or ad hoc.

With UCS Central version 2.0 it’s easier than ever to take full advantage of all of these capabilities. You can migrate existing policies and profiles from Cisco UCS Manager to be globalized and take full advantage of all the capabilities of Cisco UCS Central. The simple click-through process allows non-disruptive migration of VLANs, VSANs, service profiles, and policies. This video provides an overview of these new globalization features.

Greater Security and Programmability

It is critical to provide greater security, as you scale up support for more systems and environments. UCS Central provides very granular tenant level Role Based Access Controls (RBAC). RBAC simplifies operating tasks that span server, network, and storage administrator teams, while preserving the specialized knowledge and security policies that exists in each group. Shared key security practices ensure the access control between UCS Central and UCS Manager are secure and reliable and that RBAC is maintained throughout. The UCS Central 2.0 release also enhances support for multifactor authentication.

Cisco UCS is programmable infrastructure. The API in UCS Central is an extension of UCS Manager’s object model, so it maintains a consistent development approach across management platforms. UCS Central continues to abstract with features such as VLAN and VSAN aliasing allowing customers to manage dissimilar datacenters by using abstraction to present common themes.

True Global Management

A global systems management tool has to address a range of automation, security and programmability requirements as well as providing centralized monitoring and inventory. Some global management tools are very limited in their capabilities. Cisco UCS Central has evolved to make managing systems at scale easier and more efficient.

But don’t take my word for it. You can try out Cisco UCS for free without the need to purchase any hardware or software by just downloading the UCS Platform Emulator and taking a few minutes to spin up and connect an evaluation of the UCS Central virtual appliance. You will also find ready-built sample environments that you can try out on Cisco dCloud.

For more information go to:

UCS Central web page

UCS Platform Emulator

Cisco dCloud

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4 Comments

    Insightful !

    Very nicely written blog with product demonstration and a demo on globalizing local service profiles. Much awaited release finally here!

    Who can ask for anything more. A complete product and an emulator to try. As I always recommend, "just go Cisco, search no more".

      Glad you like UCS Central. The development team deserves credit for incorporating customer requirements to really make this a robust product.

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