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Cisco UCS C210 M2 2U Rack Server: First Thoughts

Here are a few pictures for you to see at the below link of our new Cisco rack mount server, a 2U C210 M2 Server.  It has 2 Westmere 6 core CPUs, 48 GB memory, ISL MegaRaid 9261 controller, 2 – 146 GB 10K Raid 1, 4 – 146 GB 10K Raid 5 and 1 hot spare disk.

http://tinyurl.com/32e6ypb

CIMC:  Cisco Integrated Management Controller

We are in the process of installing Windows 2008 64 bit R2 for the OS.  I personally have not be doing the install but I have seen the CIMC:  Cisco Integrated Management Controller (version 1.1.1).  You can think of this like the iLO from HP or DRAC from Dell.

The CIMC for a C-Series Rack Server

I wish there was more information in this tool, more like what I am use to in the full UCS Manager.  For example, we needed to load the W2K8 drivers for the Raid controller and could not remember the model number.  We looked in the inventory of the CIMC and it only listed the disks in the storage section.  I had to go back to my order information to determine we purchased it with the ISL MegaRaid 9261.

Checking out more of the CIMC, there is a good amount of information in and function in here.  You can mount virtual media, remote to the console, configure LDAP for authentication, define alerts, update firmware, etc.  So there is what you would expect to find in a component like this for a rack server.

CIMC view of Admin - Event Managment

Thinking down the road, I can see value in having the ability to manage my C-Series servers via the UCS Manager tool.  I would hope that will bring with it greater info on hardware details, service profiles and hardware abstraction as well?

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September 17, 2010 Posted by | Cisco UCS | , , | Leave a comment

Cisco UCS: B230 M1 Blade is Sweet!

I have been waiting for this product announcement and I am very excited to see it is now on the Cisco web site. Once you start to check out the spec on this new server I think you too will think that it is amazingly cool and a sweet addition to the Cisco unified computing product line.

Our current production “state of the art” blade configuration has been a B200 M2 blade with 96 GB memory with 12 cores or in 1 -6U chassis with 768 GB of memory and 96 cores.

The new B230 blows the current capacity of a 6U chassis out of the water.  Check this out, with the initial release (they will add support for the 16 GB DIMM later) you can get 2048 GB of memory and 128 cores in one chassis! That is badass in my book.

Cisco UCS B230 M1 Blade Front Veiw

Sean McGee, Cisco UCS engineer, has posted a blog with a great table breakdown comparison with 3 competitor blade products, you should check it out.

http://tinyurl.com/234p9dm

The link to the official Cisco page on the product:

http://tinyurl.com/28lfd6d

A few things that standout to me:

—  32 DIMM slots in a half size blade (more memory footprint)
—  Intel Xeon 6500 or 7500 series processors (more cores available in a 2 socket box)
—  Optional 2 SSD disk drives (the size of the SSD allows for more room for DIMM slots, nice)
—  Many options for Interface cards (including the Cisco VIC for virtual interfaces)

This thing was built for virtualization and large workloads in mind.   I will definitely use the B230 M1 for new ESX hosts and I can see purchasing a few for large SQL workloads that require a physical server (of course I will use the hardware abstraction functionality in the Service Profile to maximize the flexibility).

Front of blade is to the left, notice no HDD space needed.

The physical design of this blade is impressive as well.  They have used SSD drives to reduce the physical space needed for local disk which gives you more room for DIMM slots.  Personally, I like this move mainly because of more memory but also because I think it will push more people away from local disk and to boot from SAN.  It is when you are able to utilize boot from SAN the power of Cisco UCS can shine, using the hardware abstraction in service profiles.

I have seen a few twitter questions about what code version will be required for this new blade. Based on a few things listed in the Cisco datasheet, I believe it will be code version 1.4 which should be available next quarter.

Another question I have is when can it be ordered and shipped.  Oh yeah, pricing will be important too.

Cool stuff!

September 14, 2010 Posted by | Cisco UCS | , | Leave a comment