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UCS and the “Palo Card” or Virtual Interface Card (VIC):

Well the day finally came when I recieved my first group of UCS blades with the new UCS M81KR Virtual Interface Card (VIC) or what has been known as the Palo Card.  This is the cool CNA built by Cisco specifically to add a great deal of flexibility to the I/O needs of virtual host servers (ok, mainly focused on VMware ESX 4.x, where all the cool virtualization is happening!).

I should have taken a picture of it!  Gone are the Emulex or QLogic stamped name on the mezzanine card.  The VIC provides all of the I/O function to the server blade.  It is a single card with 2 – 10 GB FCoE ports to the northbound switches and then up to 128 virtual I/O interfaces facing the server/host side.

To be able to manage and build your own customized I/O world for an ESX host or guest machines you have to perform a code upgrade to your UCS system.  Once that code upgrade is complete, you see Cisco has added an additional tab in the UCS Manager to be used for configuring the new virtual I/O functions.  Note, I have not seen this new tab yet, we are currently planning our code upgrade process.  I am interested to see how it goes upgrading the firmware, etc. on a production UCS system.  I am sure I will blog about it!

So what does my world currently look like?  I have 2 – 6120 Fabric Interconnects, 3 chassis and 25 B200 M1 blade servers (yes, I need to get a 4th chassis to house my 25th blade).  19 of the B200 blades contain the Emulex CNA and 6 B200 blades with the new VIC CNA.  I currently have my new “VIC” blades in the chassis but not in use.  The UCS manager sees the new blades, can tell me about the VIC, displays the interfaces differently (no virtual vNIC or vHBAs have been created yet).

Stay tune for an update on the code upgrade and screen shots of the new Virtual Tab, etc.

Here is the link at Cisco for details:


February 25, 2010 - Posted by | Cisco UCS | , ,


  1. Michael,
    I’m curious your thoughts on the latest HP sponsored report from Tolly…

    Wonder if you’ve seen any of the bandwidth contention mentioned there. I’m guessing no… since it’s not on the blog.

    We’ll be a HIMSS Monday and Tuesday next week. Want to say your blog has been a great help in UCS education. We have our HP BladeSystem chassis here… (regional hospital) and we’ve been tossing around the idea of UCS.

    Comment by John Harte | February 26, 2010 | Reply

  2. Michael,
    Continuing to enjoy your blogging. Have you done your code upgrade yet and started using the Palo adapters? I am expecting delivery of our UCS gear next week with install scheduled to start 3/15.

    It is configured with 2-6120, 2-chassis & 8-B250 blades with 2-Palo’s per blade.

    Comment by ThatFridgeGuy | March 5, 2010 | Reply

    • Hey, I was out of the office a little while with the broken collar bone so the upgrade was delayed. However, we are back on track and have a con call tomorrow to go over our plan to make sure we are on the right track. Will probably do the upgrade next week. I will blog on it then! Should be fun.

      Comment by healthitguy | March 18, 2010 | Reply

  3. Hey Mike, great blog posts on UCS. We have our UCS at the office now and I have been learning a lot about UCS. We have the VICs in our blades and I did a blog post on how to add more than two vNICs.

    Comment by Jeremy Waldrop | March 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Nice Jeremy, good blog post on Palo config.

      Comment by healthitguy | March 18, 2010 | Reply

  4. New to cisco UCS and landed here. Very good place to learn about what all the Cisco pdfs really mean. real world stuff. Will be visiitng this page often now.

    Dont own a UCS yet as im into software testing. hoping to get my hands on one, in case the budgert gets approved 🙂

    Thanks Michael

    Comment by Ajay | August 9, 2010 | Reply

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