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UCS Manager: Key Components Part 2

To continue on with the foundational concepts of the UCS Manager . . .


vNIC Template General Tab

You find templates available under Server tab (Service Profile Templates), LAN tab (vNIC Templates) and SAN tab (vHBA templates).  When creating a new template you select the type to be Initial or Updating; the difference being an updating template will “update” any changes to objects using that template.  A vNIC Updating Template that was changed from native VLAN 2 to native VLAN 100 will apply that change to all objects using that template.  An Initial Template will maintain the settings defined at the time of creation and not change.  Which type of Template you use or combination of type will depend on your workflow and change management.

In our case we choose to use Updating vNIC and vHBA Templates and Initial Service Profile Templates.  This seems to give us flexibility with possible changes in the future.  For example, we created a vNIC Updating Template for ESX servers with 12 trunked VLANs and the service console VLAN set as Native.  As we add additional VLANs in the future we only have to make this change to the updating vNIC Template and it will populate to all of our ESX hosts (I think this change would not require a reboot).

Service Profile Templates are one of the ways to generate a new Service Profile.  A “working server” is made up of a physical blade being associated with a Service Profile.  When creating a Service Profile Template you define various functions using the values created in polices, pools and templates.  Meaning you select which boot policy, local storage policy, vHBA setting, vNIC settings and blade assignment you want to use for this Service Profile Template.  The other ways to create a Service Profile are to clone an existing one or create it from scratch. 

Servers Service Profile Template Listing.

The Service Profile is the key to the stateless function of the UCS system.  This is what abstracts the physical identifiers from the hardware and allow you to move a “server” between physical blades.  We were demoing this concept/process and immediately the person said, “oh, that is like vMotion but for the physical level”.  Please note, your “server” has to be powered down to perform this move to a different physical blade, however, I think it is only a matter of time before that changes.

How to Name something in UCS, get it right the first time:

You know how in most applications you are able to give friendly names to objects and items and you can change them?  For example, in EMC Navisphere you can name a LUN anything you want and you can change it?  Well, in UCS it was designed to use the name as the value to identify an object, meaning once you give something a name you cannot change the name.  You learn this pretty early on in your configuration process, there were many times when we had to delete a pool, template, etc. because we did not follow the correct naming convention or did not have something named correct.  Because of this we had a defined step in our process to go through and clean up all the “junk” from the first few days of building and testing (said goodbye to “foo” service profile :)).

LAN tab Concepts:

The LAN Cloud refers to the northbound LAN, the connection of the 6120 to the rest of the LAN.  The Internal LAN refers to the southbound LAN connections to the chassis and blades.

Pin Groups:

With a vNIC and vHBA, when the blade comes up it will be assigned to a 6120 northbound I/O port by some process within the system.  UCS gives you the ability to “pin” a MAC or WWPN to a specific I/O port (Ethernet or Fiber Channel).  Lets say you have a blade running Microsoft SQL and you wanted to make sure that blade always had a dedicated 4 GB fiber channel port to the SAN fabric.  You can define a SAN Pin Group to alway use FC port 2/4 on Fabric A and FC port 2/3 on Fabric B.  I think the power of Pin Groups will come more into play once you can use the Palo CNA adaptor and you can Pin a VM guest to specific ports.  We have not used pin groups in our configuration, not sure if we will.

SAN Cloud:

SAN FC Ports in Red.

The color Cisco picked to represent the fiber channel ports in the GUI is interesting, red.  It took a few days to get use to seeing red ports for the FC and not wanting to figure out what was wrong with them.  I do not know if that was the best color choice.  The LAN ports are done in a Carolina blue.

November 20, 2009 Posted by | UCS Manager | , | 1 Comment