Over the past couple of months the Product Management team has been walking through all the new features in 10.1 and another one of the key features I would like to touch on a bit is our addition of native out of the box support for the Cisco Unified Computing System or UCS for short.

 

So what is this UCS thing?

 

When Cisco first announced the UCS, the industry positioned this as Cisco’s entry into the server market.  The UCS is designed to allow customers to build programmable data center infrastructure optimized for virtualized resource, as well as memory-intensive bare-metal workloads.. It is also intended to manage all physical and logical UCS elements—servers, I/O, VMs, etc-- as a unified environment and support applications and services from leading vendors, including Microsoft, EMC, VMware, Red Hat and Novell.

 

I borrowed the below graphic from the cisco.com website to help illustrate the pieces that go into the UCS chassis.

 

image

 

Why did we add support for the Cisco UCS in NPM 10.1?  Two primary reasons:

 
      
  1. Based on the increased support demand for the Cisco Nexus product lines, we felt the next natural step was to also support the UCS.  As you can see here in NPM 10.1 UCS Monitoring - Adding Blades, SNMP Possible? thread, there has already been quite a bit of discussion on thwack about UCS support in Orion.
  2.    
  3. It is my opinion that the line that used to exist between the server, application and networking teams are blurring together.  No longer does the network end at the wall jack or the switch port.    
    Ex. 1 – VMWare vSwitch and vDS or virtual distributed switch resides on the ESX server that contains a software based switch.  Who owns and manages this?     
    Ex. 2 – the Cisco UCS includes a fabric interconnect with physical Ethernet ports and fibre channel ports, which distributes converged traffic through “extended line cards” to server blades with virtual ports running VN-Link technology.
 

As these complexities of running your IT infrastructure increase, so must your IT Management solutions.

 

I can already hear your next question, “Can’t I just use the UCS Manager software.  Why do I need Orion?”  Orion is not meant to replace UCS Manager.  UCS Manager is great for advanced provisioning and management of the UCS itself, but does not extend to other types of infrastructure.  Orion NPM provides the following advantages:

 
      
  • single pane of glass to monitor your wired and wireless infrastructure, as well as your servers (both physical and virtual) and applications
  •    
  • UCS Manager only retains a week’s worth of historical data, whereas Orion can retain it for as long as required
  •    
  • Orion is pulling UCS information directly from the UCS API as well as SNMP, which allows Orion to report and alert on UCS events
 

Let’s walk through adding a UCS chassis to Orion and what it looks like after we start monitoring it.  You will notice in adding a new node there is a new check box dialog for UCS Manager credentials.  Also, you will want to enter in the primary fabric interconnect IP Address of the chassis as this is what we will use to monitor the UCS.

 

image

 

Once added and we start polling the key new data we are gathering as shown in the screenshot below:

 
      
  1. Fabric Interconnects status
  2.    
  3. Chassis and blade status including fan and power supply (PSU) status
  4.    
  5. UCS Events (polled from the API)
  6.    
  7. Fibre Channel information including Connectivity Unit Status, VSAN’s and WWN Port information
 

UCS-Orion-Node-Detailpage

 

We are also gathering port/interface data for all the virtual interfaces, fabric interconnect ports etc. as seen below.

 

 

 

Screen shot 2010-11-22 at 10.02.29 AM

 

 

 

 

 

Tell us what you think.  Are you using Cisco UCS?  What else would you like to see in Orion as it pertains to monitoring Cisco UCS?

 

Also if you are going to Cisco Live in London, come on by the SolarWinds booth to learn more about UCS and Orion NPM 10.1 and get some cool free geeky stuff.  We will be in booth # G4.