Cisco Unified Computing System
The Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) is a data center server computer product line composed of computing hardware, virtualization support, switching fabric, and management software introduced in 2009 by Cisco Systems. The products are marketed for scalability by integrating the components of a data center that can be managed as a single unit.
The UCS product line was announced in March and first installed in September 2009, at the customer premises of Tutor Perini. They were reported to have the code name "California". The computing component of the UCS is available in two versions: the B-series (a powered chassis and full and/or half slot blade servers), and the C-series for 19-inch racks (that can be used with fabric interconnects). The computer hardware managed by the UCS Manager software on the fabric Interconnects can be any combination of the two. Both form factors use standard components, including Intel x86-64 processors and DIMM memory. The servers are marketed with converged network adapters and port virtualization. Around 2010, an extended memory technology expanded the number of memory sockets that can be connected to a single memory channel in some models. A fourth generation was announced in September 2014. It included an additional "M" series, but the M-series was cancelled in 2016 after poor sales.
The Cisco fabric interconnects (FI) provide network connectivity for the chassis, blade servers and rack servers connected to it through different speeds of Ethernet and Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). The fabric interconnects are derived from the Nexus 5000 series switch and run NX-OS as well as UCS Manager software. FCoE allows connection to storage area network storage, since the UCS system blade servers have very little local storage capacity. Cisco has produced the following series for fabric interconnects: 6100 Series (discontinued), 6200 Series, and 6300 Series. The fabric interconnect can further connect to multiple fabric extenders (FEX), into what they call a "unified fabric".
Management of the system devices is handled by the UCS Manager software integrated with fabric interconnects. Virtual machines can be moved from one physical chassis to another, applications may be moved between virtual machines, and management may even be conducted remotely from an iPhone using SiMU - Simple iPhone Management of UCS. In addition to the embedded software, administrators may also manage the system from VMware's vSphere. The Cisco Integrated Management Controller (CIMC) is used to configure and manage C-Series servers not connected to a manager. The CIMC can also be used to manage B-series blades in addition to the UCS Manager application if configured.
In November 2012, Cisco announced UCS Central which extends management across multiple domains of UCS, and then something called UCS Director. A security flaw in UCS Central was disclosed when it was patched in 2016.
Many configuration details are set up on the UCS manager in a service profile and applied to the servers. Cisco offers a UCSM Platform Emulator, where the full logical configuration of a server can be created from the user interface or the API methods, and later applied to the physical hardware.
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