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VMware and Cisco UCS Enhance the Advantages of vRealize


September 2, 2015 - 10 Comments

Cisco and VMware continue to work together to deliver the benefits of automation and the software-defined data center (SDDC). The integration of Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) management software with VMware vRealize Operations 6.0 is another example of the ongoing investment by both companies. It delivers significant efficiencies, improved performance, and a proactive means of managing operations. As the theme of VMworld 2015 claims, this solution can help your organization be “Ready for Any.”

Keeping IT Simple

VMware vRealize Operations (formerly called vCenter Operations Manager) was built to meet the challenges of managing virtualized and cloud environments. Although you might be running this software on another platform today, you can go further faster when you pair it with Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) management software. The combination lets you manage your VMware environments with familiar VMware tools, establish policy-based best practices and experience other significant benefits.

Figure 1: VMware vRealize dashboard for UCS

vRealize Dashboard

The integration of Cisco UCS with vRealize Operations lets you simplify daily operations while automating routine tasks. Working with your familiar VMware tools, you can easily access the functionality in the UCS management software. This integration creates synergies that allow you to realize the benefits of the software defined data center (SDDC).

We designed Cisco UCS to facilitate role- and policy-based automation. Our approach encourages a process by which administrators create policies that establish best practices for configuration, deployment, and management. You can monitor and provision infrastructure directly through Cisco UCS or through vRealize Operations. Either way, configuring infrastructure, ensuring compliance, and isolating and resolving problems becomes an easier and faster process.

VMware vRealize Operations provides a wide range of functionality to enhance operations management. It automates the delivery and lifecycle management of infrastructure and application services while maintaining the policy-based control in Cisco UCS. It helps you proactively manage performance, capacity, compliance and logs across applications and infrastructure.

Cisco and VMware have developed multiple plug-ins and content packs to unify Cisco UCS management with the vRealize software suite:

 VMware vSphere Auto Deploy with Cisco UCS Service Profiles: Enables you to establish Cisco UCS service profiles in VMware, deploy bare-metal servers, and then deploy the hypervisor with a single click. This results in a rapid and simple means of deploying new hypervisors.

Cisco UCS Manager Plug-In for VMware vCenter: Integrates Cisco UCS with VMware vCenter and enables critical vSphere capabilities such as vMotion, Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), High Availability (HA), and Fault Tolerance (FT). The plug-in adds the capability to provision servers from the firmware up with the policy-based provisioning and configuration drift protection that Cisco UCS Manager provides.

Cisco UCS Manager Plug-In for VMware vRealize Orchestrator: Brings Cisco UCS infrastructure automation and composable infrastructure into the realm of VMware vCenter Orchestrator. As a result, the library of VMware-provided workflows can work in harmony with Cisco UCS workflows.

Cisco UCS Content Pack for VMware vRealize Log Insight: Provides detailed data and insight into one or more VMware clusters at the infrastructure level. This allows you to generate comprehensive analytics for Cisco UCS components (blades, servers, chassis, I/O modules, fabric extenders, and fabric interconnects). Data collection is simplified, because Cisco UCS Manager is a single source of data about each domain.

Better Together

Integrating two robust suites of software creates some unique synergies. Here are a few reasons why vRealize Operations with UCS management creates a powerful combo:

Performance management: vRealize Operations helps you manage application performance. Cisco UCS gives you better underlying performance. The Cisco UCS Virtual Machine Fabric Extender (VM-FEX) technology allows you to connect virtual machines directly to physical network interface cards (NICs). Bypassing the hypervisor and software switching yields up to 37 percent better network performance.

Faster with greater visibility and control: Cisco UCS was designed with role- and policy-based automation. Our approach encourages a process by which administrators create policies that dictate infrastructure configuration. You can deploy secure and compliant servers directly through Cisco UCS or through vRealize Operations. All of this helps you achieve better configuration and compliance, and hardens your security beyond what any other vendor can do.

Security hardening: Cisco UCS eliminates the need to make trade-offs between flexibility and security, because there is no difference between physical and virtual networks. Both networks are implemented in hardware and have the same visibility, control, and security. Whether you connect your virtual machines using Cisco Data Center VM-FEX, or you use Cisco software products such as the Cisco Nexus 1000V Switch, Cisco quality and security are built in.

If you’d like to learn more about the full range of benefits offered by the Cisco UCS-vRealize Operations integration, click here.

Figure 2: Cisco UCS Management Partner Ecosystem

UCS Management Partner Ecosystem

Open and Extensible

The integration of Cisco UCS with vRealize Operations is part of a broader partner ecosystem that we’ve established around UCS management over the past six years. The entire Cisco UCS management suite is designed to be open and extensible.

Through a standards-based XML API, a broad range of third-party management tools have been integrated with UCS. These integrations simplify and streamline the full range of operations management functions. They allow you to leverage your existing investment in management tools and processes to achieve even greater productivity and speed with Cisco UCS.

Visit the Cisco booth at VMworld to learn about the integration.

If you won’t be in San Francisco this week, you can get more Information online.

Click here to learn about the full range of VMware and Cisco integrations.

Click here for more details regarding the Cisco UCS partner ecosystem.

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10 Comments

  1. Hi Oli, Thanks for your comments. I checked with development, and the beta version of the vRO plugin started shipping last week. If you would like to participate in the beta, please send an email to ucs-vmw-plugins@cisco.com. In addition to the beta, we have the following updates - The UCSM plugin v1.0.1 for vCO on cisco.com has been qualified for >vRO 6.0. The documents have been updated. - The UCSM plugin v1.1.1 for vSphere Web Client on cisco.com is qualified for vSphere Web Client 6.0, and the documents have been updated. You are right, the screenshot in the blog was vCOPs 5.8. I have corrected my mistake, and I updated the blog with the correct screenshot with the vRealize 6.0 dashboard. For the latest information, please check the Cisco Communities site, https://communities.cisco.com/docs/DOC-57232

  2. VM-FEX for improved network performance...... Would be nice if only it was supported on vSphere 6. Instead our infrastructure is stuck on 5.5u2 to keep using VM-FEX. Maybe moving to vDS or NSX would be better supported.

  3. I disagree, there seems to be a lack of development from Cisco for integration to the VMware stack. The product displayed is vCOPs 5.8, there is no management pack for vROPs which has been out since Decemeber 2014. The plugin was updated a few weeks back but still only for 5.8. Moreover, Cisco have not developed a vRO plugin, it is still only vCO 5.5.

    • Hi Oli, Thanks for your comment. I checked with development, so I could provide an accurate response. Cisco started shipping a beta version of vRealize Operations Manager 6.0 last week. More information is available at this link, https://communities.cisco.com/docs/DOC-57232. If you would like to participate in the beta, please send an email to ucs-vmw-plugins@cisco.com. In addition, the following updates are available: - The UCSM plugin v1.0.1 for vCO on cisco.com has been qualified for vRO 6.0, and the documents have been updated. - The UCSM plugin v1.1.1 for vSphere Web Client on cisco.com is qualified for vSphere Web Client 6.0, and the documents have been updated. You are correct; the screenshot I had in the blog was for vCOPs 5.8. I have corrected my mistake and updated the screenshot in the blog with a vRO 6.0 dashboard. Cisco continues to invest in the VMware partnership. Please check the communities site for the latest information, https://communities.cisco.com/community/technology/datacenter/compute-and-storage/ucs_management/cisco_ucs_developed_integrations

  4. Keeping IT simple. love it!

  5. We have a coopetition relationship with VMware, EMC and VCE. In many areas we cooperate with them and work to create and enhance solutions. In other areas, such as SDN and cloud, we compete directly. It's not love-hate. It's just what each company thinks is good for their customers and their business.

  6. The integration was a big hit at VMworld. That demo pod was busy all the time. Great work Cisco & VMware!

    • Awesome stuff -- positive/productive 'collaboration' all across but just being curious on the love-hate relationships. While partner in the SDDC space, compete in the SDN space.

  7. Thanks Mark. VMware is an important partner to our customers as well as to Cisco, so we continue to invest and enhance our joint solutions.

  8. Great to see the partnership expanding...