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Cisco ucs e series servers overview
 

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Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS) E-Series Servers Overview

Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS) E-Series Servers Overview
Bringing Data Center Class Compute Infrastructure to the Branch
Presentation from VMworld 2013.

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  • The main branch office trend today, and really for the past 5 years, has been application and infrastructure centralization. Applications and services have been moving from the branch office to the data center, or the Cloud, and are being delivered over the WAN or the Internet. As a result, the branch office infrastructure - servers, storage devices, infrastructure software, and other components - are being displaced by much more optimized infrastructure in the data center. The business and IT drivers of application and infrastructure centralizations are compelling. Small infrastructure footprint in the branch office: Simplifies remote IT management Reduces branch capital expenditures and operating costs Hosting applications centrally improves utilization of available IT resources: Reduces application administration burden Increases hardware utilization through consolidation of servers Increases ability to automate task Facilitates standardization across remote locations Simply stated, infrastructure centralization improves IT efficiency by improving the productivity, or output, of available IT resources and simultaneously lowering IT costs.
  • While full application and infrastructure centralization would be the ideal scenario for all organizations, in practice it is often difficult to achieve. Typically a long geographic distance separates the end-user in the branch office from the application processing environment in the data center. Because of this geographic distance, the corporate WAN and the Internet have several inherent limitations that impact the quality of user experience with the application. The first user experience challenge is in the area of application performance. Following WAN speed limitations impact the performance of a centrally hosted application: Latency: physical distance and mechanics of the TCP protocol introduce a delay into the user-application interaction. Delay leads to a sluggish response time for the application Bandwidth: cost dictates how much bandwidth is available at a remote location. Competition between users for bandwidth or data intensive applications leads to diminished responsiveness for the application If business requirements dictate that an application has to have specific performance target, be it response time or number of transactions, that application may have to be hosted locally to achieve this service level. The second user experience challenge is in the area of application availability. Following WAN quality limitations impact the availability of a centrally hosted application: Reliability: WAN outages do occur and backup links may either be too expensive, too limited, or altogether unavailable in the area. WAN outages make the centrally hosted application unusable Congestion: Bandwidth is typically oversubscribed which often results in congestion, which in turn, leads to spotty availability of the applications If business requirements dictate that an application has to have a specific availability target that application may need a local, lightweight proxy that makes the application survivable during a WAN outage or congestion event. The third user experience challenge is in the area of compliance. Storing application data off-site - across the WAN, or more worryingly the Internet, impacts centrally hosted applications in the following ways: Data privacy: certain regulatory policies (for example Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the US) dictate that data has to be “always-available” or have stringent security requirements. Compliance rules are often simplest to implement when the application generating the data is local Application access: Remote applications, especially applications hosted in a public Cloud, require multiple sign-ons, which reduce user satisfaction with centrally hosted applications If regulatory requirements dictate that an application has to be local, or if corporate security policies constrain how an application is accessed, that application may have to be hosted locally to comply.
  • What are the typical applications that would run in a “lean” branch office? Generally speaking they fall into 3 categories: Core Windows Services DHCP server – Layer 2 service that may be difficult or performance prohibitive to implement across the WAN Active Directory Domain Services – Services needed to access resources on Microsoft networks needed locally in the branch for survivability reasons DNS server – Name to IP address resolution service needed locally in the branch for survivability reasons Print services – Local hosting eliminates sending large files from client device to centralized print service and back to a local printer File services – Local file system often used for performance and survivability reasons Mission Critical Business applications Point of Sale (POS) server – Needed locally in case of WAN outage Bank Teller control point – Needed locally in case of WAN outage Electronic Medical Records (EMR) – Needed locally because of HIPPA compliance Inventory Management – Needed to manage local inventory Client Management Services – Software to manage PCs in the branch Software Update and Patch Software – Prevents multiple PCs trying to download the same patch at the same time Client Monitoring Services – Traffic and security monitoring that cannot be done real time over the WAN Backup and Recovery – Local backup and recovery software Terminal Server Gateway – Terminal server for logging into client devices All of the above are examples of applications that defy centralization and in most cases are required to be hosted locally in the branch office.
  • Focusing on each component, lets’ start with the ISR G2. For UCS E-Series Servers, ISR G2 functions as the server blade enclosure. The advantage of this approach is that the ISR G2 is the most widely deployed branch office device and already has slots for various networking modules. Now you can re-use the same slots for x86 blade servers. The ISR G2 has a rich set of functionality. The features that are relevant when considering it in the context of a blade server chassis are the following: 1,2,4 blade slot options depending on the ISR G2 model. 2911 and 2921 have 1, 2951 and 3925 have 2, and 3945 has 4 The router provides comprehensive security measures to prevent un-authorized access, but also unlike stand-alone servers, blade servers reduce the physical attack surface by eliminating wires to tap into, ports to listen on, monitors to peek at. The 3900 ISRs have options for redundant power supplies to improve high availability Multi-Gigabit backplane switch allows direct access to the LAN either through EHWIC or SM EtherSwitch modules, without sending the traffic through the router CPU ISRs have typically 5-6 year service life, but have been designed to last much longer. The overall system MTBFs are in 250K-300K range compared to 100K-150K for a typical branch server ISR G2 with slots come in 2 or 3 RU form factors Unlike any other device on the market ISR G2 can consolidate ALL branch office services into a single box. These include: Connectivity: LAN and WAN Mobility: Wireless LAN and WAN Application Performance: WAN optimization Security: VPNs, Firewalls, IPS, AAA Collaboration: voice gateways, video processing, call management, and voicemail Application platforms: network integration for applications
  • The Cisco UCS E-Series Server Modules extend the Cisco UCS product portfolio to meet the needs of customers who want to deploy a virtualization-ready computing infrastructure in the branch-office environment while maintaining a lean branch-office architecture. The server modules are available in two form factors: a single-wide module and a double-wide module. The single-wide module includes a four-core Intel Xeon E3 processor and occupies a single service module slot in the Cisco ISR G2 device. It following are the features in detail Memory: 8 GB (default: one 8-GB DIMM) and up to 16 GB (two 8-GB DIMMs) Power efficiency: The highest-end SRE consumes only 50 Watts of power versus 300-400 Watts consumed by a comparable tower server Storage access: The internal Gigabit Ethernet ports offer iSCSI initiator hardware offload functionality CPU: Intel Xeon E3 family quad-core processor. Lights-out hardware management: Cisco Integrated Management Controller can manage one or multiple blades out-of band Disk: Up to two: 7200-RPM SATA: 1 TB or 10,000-RPM SAS: 900 GB or 10,000-RPM SAS SED: 600 GB or SAS SSD SLC: 200 GB RAID: œ Hardware RAID 0 and 1 œ LSI MegaRAID controller Physical dimensions: wire-free, plug-and-play modularity, with low shipping weight Front-panel connectors: One KVM console connector (supplies 2 USB, 1 VGA, and 1 serial connector) Power management: Manual and schedulable on/off times that can be configured remotely
  • The double-wide module occupies two Cisco ISR G2 service-module slots side by side and includes either a four-core or six-core Intel Xeon E5-2400 processor with more RAM and storage capacity than the single-wide module. The double-wide module also has a PCIe card option for expanding external network and storage I/O. It following are the features in detail Memory: 8 GB (default) and up to 48 GB (three 16-GB DIMMs) Power efficiency: The highest-end SRE consumes only 50 Watts of power versus 300-400 Watts consumed by a comparable tower server Storage access: The internal Gigabit Ethernet ports offer iSCSI initiator hardware offload functionality CPU: Intel Xeon E5-2400 quad core (Cisco UCS E140) or six-core (Cisco UCS E160) processor Lights-out hardware management: Cisco Integrated Management Controller can manage one or multiple blades out-of band Disk: Up to two: 7200-RPM SATA: 1 TB or 10,000-RPM SAS: 900 GB or 10,000-RPM SAS SED: 600 GB or SAS SSD SLC: 200 GB RAID: Cisco UCS E140D and E160D: Hardware RAID 0, 1, and 5 ● Cisco UCS E140DP and E160DP: Hardware RAID 0 and 1 ● LSI MegaRAID controller Physical dimensions: wire-free, plug-and-play modularity, with low shipping weight Front-panel connectors: Front-panel VGA, 2 USB, and serial console connectors Power management: Manual and schedulable on/off times that can be configured remotely
  • The Cisco ISR G2 is a family of multi-service routers. It supports a wide range of remote office services ranging from virtual teleworker solutions for the home office to secure mobility, customizable applications, secure collaboration, and scalable rich-media services for the branch office. The ISR G2 family consists of several router categories. The 860, 880, and 890 routers are primarily targeted at home and very small branch offices. They provide secure, wire-line and wireless connectivity services. The 1941 and 1941 routers are entry level modular routers featuring a full range of WAN interfaces, security, and wireless services. They can support up to 10 Mbps of traffic with services. The 2900 family of router are mid-range modular routers featuring a full range of WAN interfaces, security, wireless, voice, video, WAN optimization, and application services. They can support up to 75 Mbps of traffic with services. UCS Express is supported on 2911, 2921 and 2951 routers. The 2911 and 2921 support 1 UCS E-Series Server single wide blade, the 2951 supports two single wide E-series server blade. * 2901 is not supported The 3900 family of router are high-end modular routers featuring a full range of WAN interfaces, security, wireless, voice, video, WAN optimization, and application services. They can support up to 300 Mbps of traffic with services. UCS E-Series Server is supported on all 3900 routers routers. The 3925 and 3925E support 2 UCS E-Series Server single wide server blades, and the 3945 and 3945E up to four single wide server blades or one double wide and 2 single wider server blades.
  • To address these branch office challenges Cisco is introducing the Unified Computing System Express, a converged virtualization, networking, and computing infrastructure to host essential edge applications in the branch office. UCS Express consists of several components: Network platform: for the first time, servers and networking devices can be integrated under a single chassis – the ISR G2. A multi-gigabit fabric switch directly connects the different components together without any need for physical wires. This solution offers higher flexibility to deploy variety of hardware, speeds-up network setup and changes, and reduces physical wiring and Ethernet ports. Computing platform: for the first time, x86 blade server – the form factor favored in data centers – is available to small- and medium-sized branch offices and can be housed in the most widely deployed branch device – ISR G2. The blade server has been right-sized for the use in the “lean” branch office. This solution offers faster, plug-and-play hardware provisioning, eliminates excess parts and wires, and lowers operating costs like energy and on-going support contracts. Virtualization ready platform: Virtualization enables branch office consolidation of physical servers. Virtualization reduces hardware costs, enables faster application recovery after failures, and shortens time-to-deployment for new applications. Certified hypervisors Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware vSphere, Citrix XenServer. While the infrastructure has been converged, the management of each of these platforms has not. The same familiar tools used to manage servers, networking, or virtualization infrastructure with separated access control are used to manage UCS Express.
  • VMware vCenter Serverand Microsoft System center provides unified management of all virtual machines in a datacenter and branch offices from a single console. It allows administrators to improve control, simplify day-to-day tasks and reduce the complexity and cost of managing end-to-end virtual server environment. Features: Centralized management: VMware vCenter/ System Center Server allows IT organizations to organize, rapidly provision and configure the entire IT environment through a single interface, resulting in lower operating costs. Thorough and consistent performance monitoring of all critical components—including CPU, memory, storage and networking—provide the detail administrators need. Operational automation: Task scheduling and alerting improves responsiveness to business needs and prioritizes actions requiring the most urgent attention. Higher levels of security: Enforce compliance with patch standards automatically through VMware vCenter Update Manager, allowing organizations to protect their virtual infrastructure from vulnerabilities. Benefits: Analyze and remediate issues quickly with deep visibility in to VMware vSphere and its underlying infrastructure. Improve IT responsiveness by proactively managing your VMware vSphere environment with rapid provisioning, automated load balancing of virtual machine workloads, and out-of-box workflows for automation. Scale to meet the needs of the most demanding enterprise environments with support for up to 10,000 virtual machines.
  • To elaborate on the support model: The router SMARTnet covers both SRE hardware and SRE-Virtualization at no additional cost (in other words, the SMARTnet price for customer’s specific router is the same with our without UCS Express) Cisco is responsible for full support of SRE-V platofrm, the VMware vSphere Hypervisor – customers need to call Cisco TAC, not VMware The platform has been Microsoft WHQL and SVVP certified, and therfore Microsoft is responsible for supporting Windows Server on SRE and SRE-V platforms Large number of Linux variants can be hosted on top of SRE-V. The support for a specific Linux variant comes from the provider of the specific Linux distribution
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