New UCS Announcements

New Blades, Fusion-io, and E series for ISRs on my!

Cisco Live 2012 is in full swing and with that always comes new product announcements.  There has been a few announcements this week for Cisco’s Unified Computing platform including new blades, partnership with Fusion-io for the M3 series blades, and the new E Series UCS for the ISR Generation 2s.  First I’ll cover some recent announcements of the Generation 1 hardware for UCS and get the bad news out of the way!

End of Sale/End of Life Announcements for Generation 1 Hardware

June 1, Cisco announced the end of sale and end of life for for the 6120 and 6140 Fabric Interconnects including all of their components such as the expansion modules.  With this announcement also came the EoS/EoL of the 2104 Fabric Extender. Replacement parts are the Generation 3 components: 6248/6296 Fabric Interconnects and 2204/2208 Fabric Extenders.  The 6100/2100 parts can still be ordered until November 20th – however I can’t imagine why you would order them with the functionality you get from the new hardware, not to mention all of the bundles have been shipping with the 6200/2200 series for the last two quarters.

Two important dates to be aware of with this announcement:

1) Last data that Cisco Engineering may release any final software maintenance releases or bug fixes: February 28, 2013.

2) Last Date of hardware support: November 30, 2017.

The full announcement can be found here.

New B22M3 and B420M3 Servers

B22M3 Blade Server

Cisco has release a new lower end server that my guess would be replaces the B200M2 and will soon issue an EoS notice on it.  The following are some high level server specs:

  • Half Width form factor.
  • Two Intel E5-2400 series processors – up to 16 cores.
  • 12 DIMM slots running at 1600 MHz for a total of 192GB RAM utilizing 16GB DIMMs.
  • Two HDD/SSD bays.
  • One mLOM port for the VIC 1240 and a single mezzanine adapter port supporting Cisco and third party hardware.
    • Supports up to 80Gbps of I/O throughput utilizing both the VIC1240 and the mezzanine card.

Same caveats apply for the B22M3 as the other M3 servers such as:

  • If a VIC1240 is not installed you will need to populate the mezzanine card adapter with either Cisco or 3rd party for network connectivity.
  • The mezzanine cards are not supported for 1-CPU configurations

B420M3 Blade Server

A new higher performance blade released was the B420M3 – my guess again to replace the B440M2 server.  Talk about a beast as far as servers go in a blade chassis, check out these stats:

  • Full Width form factor.
  • Four Intel E5-4600 series processors – up to 32 cores.
  • 48 DIMM slots will support up to 1.5 TB
  • Four HDD/SDD bays.
  • One mLOM port for the VIC1240 and two mezzanine adapter ports supporting Cisco and third party hardware.
    • Supports up to 160Gbps of I/O throughput

Same caveats above apply.  The only thing I haven’t confirmed due to the links being broken for the Technical Specifications is how will the networking work with having three network adapter ports…My theory:

  • 40Gbps utilizing the VIC1240 on the mLOM port
  • 40Gbps utilizing the VIC1280/Port Expander  on the mezzanine port.
  • 80Gbps utilizing the VIC1280 on the second mezzanine port.

What will be interesting is how these are tied to the CPUs.  I’ll update this once I have more information.

Fusion-io Support in M3 Servers

So Fusion-io announced yesterday that they have entered into an OEM relationship with Cisco.  This is really exciting as now Cisco has a great story again from a storage standpoint.  Having onboard flash that will speed up the rate at which the applications run and not have to wait for spinning disk is definitely something more and more customers are looking for.  There isn’t a whole lot of data as to what will be supported and other than later this year from a shipping standpoint.  NetApp supporting server side flash is definitely on their roadmap and from I understand will not be limited on the end card meaning they can interface with Fusion-io within UCS – lets hope for a FlexPod update on that!

More info can be found here although its pretty limited at this point.

Cisco UCS E Series Blades for the ISR G2

This isn’t Cisco’s first shot at putting a blade in a router – this first came about more than a year ago however had limited support.  They have since refreshed the line to include a few different models:

UCS E140S

This is a single wide blade and will be supported in the 2911, 2921, 2951, and all of the 3900 series models.  It contains a single Intel Xeon E3 processor, either 8GB or 16GB of RAM and up to two hard drives.  Supports up to two hard drives for SATA, SAS, or SSD.

It has two internal and one external Gigabit Ethernet ports for connectivity and will have similar support as the C series for the Cisco Integrated Management Console (CIMC) utilizing an 10/100 out of band management port.

UCS E140D and E140DP

This is a double wide blade and will be supported in the 2921, 2951, and the 3900 series models.  It contains a single Intel Xeon E5-2400 quad core process, either 8GB RAM or up to 48GB.  Supports up to two hard drives much like the E140S (3 hard drives in the DP model).

It has two internal and one external Gigabit Ethernet ports for connectivity – support for up 4 additional 1Gb ports or one 10Gb Ethernet supporting FCoE utilizing a PCIe adapter.

UCS E160D and E160DP

These models follow the 140 models with a couple of differences:

  • Six core processor
  • Only supported i the 3900 series

And a Teaser!

UCS Central – software package for management multiple UCS domains.  Will ship when 2.1 releases and the plan as of right now is to make it free.  One of my colleagues out at Cisco Live this year (@perryping) updated me based on a demo he was able to catch and had this to say:

“Will be almost entirely Read Only @ First Customer Ship (FCS).  It will be deployed as an OVA on a VM within vSphere. No abilities for global service profile at FCS; it is pretty slick looking though!”

Really looking forward to this – we are seeing more an more customers deploy multiple UCS domains and this is a much needed addition to have that single pane of glass for cross data center UCS domains.