Jan 02 2013

Adding a UCS Rack Server

“When are you going to create a new video?”

That is a question I quite regularly receive from people that use the original “Adding a new UCS chassis” video. For a while now the idea was to show how you could add a UCS C-series (rack server) to a running UCS system. The challenge had been that it wasn’t actually very easy to run a UCS C-series server as part of a UCS system. It required manual configuration settings per C-series server.

Fast-forward to December 2012.

UCSM release 2.1 (in combination with the new adapter, the VIC-1225, and new firmware on the C-series servers) now makes adding a C-series server to a running UCS system actually easier then adding a new chassis and blades. What changed to make that possible?

  • The C-series server now come factory default with CIMC firmware that will “AUTO DETECT” if it the server is connected to be part of a running UCS system or if it is being used in a standalone mode. This removes the manual step to configure every server prior to connecting it to UCS
  • The VIC1225 adapter provides hardware support for Single Wire Management. Meaning the adapter has the capability to run the CIMC traffic over the same physical interfaces as the data traffic. This removes the need for a pair of 1Gb Management cables per server.
  • UCS Manager 2.1 software ties it all together.

That means that it now is real easy to add a UCS C-series rack server to a running UCS system. Just before Christmas we decided it was time to create the new video to demonstrate how easy it really is.

The Amsterdam Lab setup has a pair of UCS 6248 Fabric Interconnects that are supporting 2 chassis with blades. Also connected are two Nexus 2232PP Fabric Extenders allowing us to connect rack-servers to UCSM. One rack-server is already connected, although not through the new “Single Wire Management” capability.
If you are familiar with UCS, then you know that any running system has pools, policies and templates, and our lab system is no different. We have ESXi Service Profiles created that are associated against blades and we had created one that we told to look for a new UCS rack-server and when found, associate and boot.

Note: To change video resolution to HD, hit play and then you can change it to HD using the “Change Quality” button at the bottom right of the video screen. Sorry – right now this doesn’t work automatically.

What the video recording demonstrates is with zero configuration on the rack-server, it was attached to a running UCS system, without the need to configure anything on the rack server (no IP addresses, not BIOS version/settings, no boot locations). As you would expect from a UCS system, all of the server specific intelligence is handled through Service Profiles. And once the new rack-server is discovered by UCS Manager, any service profile can be associated with the rack-server.

References and recognition:

  • Sal Collora created a video that shows you how to setup the UCS Manager for supporting C-series rack servers.
  • @SordidOps – suggested the music (Daft Punk) for this video.



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  1. Wayne

    Great video demonstration. Do you have similar instruction on creating the c-series service template/profile, etc.?

    1. TJ

      Thanks for your remarks.

      Actually a Service Profile doesn’t know if it will be associated with a UCS-B or UCS-C server. In the video I didn’t create a new Service Profile, I took an existing Service Profile that was associated with a UCS-B blade server and applied that to the UCS-C rack server. The reason I did that was that I knew that Service Profile worked (it had a working ESXi image on the storage array and the zoning/masking all worked). I simply associated that Service Profile to the newly discovered UCS-C rack server.

      So if you know how to create a Service Profile for UCS-B you don’t need to do anything different.


  2. Daniel


    thanks for your demo. very interesting

    Just one question:

    I would like to to connect one of our UCS C-210 M2 to our UCS manager, we havent Nexus 2000 (FEX extender), is it possible to connect UCS C directly to FI with sfp gigabit ethernet ?

    Thanks for your reply

    Best regards


    1. TJ

      First, thank you for the question and apologies for the very late reply (I somehow missed it).
      The short answer is no for the C210-M2. What you are asking for is what is called the “direct connect” mode, so without a FEX involved. That is a feature that was added in the 2.2 release. In the prior release, 2.1, a feature was added called “single wire connect”. That solved the scalability challenge that each C-series server had to have both a management port directly connected to the Fabric Interconnect, and a 10G data port connected to a FEX. In 2.1 we used a single 10G link connected to a FEX. In 2.2 we did away with the FEX and allowed the direct connect of the VIC adapters 10G interface to the Fabric Interconnect. But you need an M3 server to make that work.

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