How to Optimize Cisco UCS Performance

by bluemedora_editor on July 31, 2017

By: Alain Geenrits

 

In today’s business environment, I’m seeing customers deploy vRealize Operations (vROps) in larger and larger environments. As a result, there are more requests to add adapters in vROps for greater number of servers especially, which requires specific functionality to adapt to these needs.

With Dell EMC PowerEdge, for instance, I’m seeing a growing need for adding your iDracs by specifying comma-separated ranges of IP addresses, which you can address with the Blue Medora Management Pack for Dell EMC PowerEdge.

Most recently, our Cisco UCS Management Pack has been updated with new functionality to adapt to these larger environments. Most notably, the ability to support Cisco UCS Central as an adapter endpoint, in addition to Cisco UCS Manager.

 

What is Cisco UCS Central?

While UCS Manager is a very popular tool to manage Cisco blade and rack servers as infrastructure-as-code, UCS Central takes that concept further, scaling up to 10,000 servers to manage Cisco UCS server domains across data centers and geographies. See this comparison over at Cisco. With the Blue Medora Management Pack for Cisco UCS, you are now able to connect thousands of Cisco servers using one adapter instance in UCS Central.

See Blue Medora's Cisco UCS Management Pack for vROps in action

Figure 1: Overview dashboard showing Cisco UCS Central and Manager

 

The management pack features some other new functionality, including:

 

  • Support for vROps 6.6. Like the rest of the management packs in the True Visibility Suite for vRealize Operations from Blue Medora, Cisco UCS is supported on vROps 6.6.
  • New Dashboard Functionality. Added the Cisco UCS Servers and Fabrics dashboard and redesigned the Cisco UCS Virtual Machines dashboard for better visibility.
  • Additional Metrics and Alerts. With the updated management pack, you can monitor more than 1,000 metrics and over 200 alerts and recommendations.

 

 

In addition, the Cisco UCS Management Pack from Blue Medora features relationship mapping to tie your Cisco UCS environment to the VMware hypervisor layer, complemented by extensive metrics on the IO-module level for throughput. In today’s blog post, I’ll highlight a few use cases of how this new functionality has helped our customers.

 

Use case: Strong relations to VMware hypervisor

See Blue Medora's Cisco UCS Management Pack for vROps in action

Figure 2: Virtual machines on Cisco UCS tag

 

As you can see in Figure 2, we build a tag for all virtual machines running on Cisco UCS directly — not just the ESX host tag. With this approach, you can gather and use more data in your dashboards and quickly consult vROps badges for accurate insight into your performance.

See Blue Medora's Cisco UCS Management Pack for vROps in action

Figure 3: Cisco UCS virtual machines standard dashboard

 

In Figure 3, you see our new Cisco UCS Virtual Machines Dashboard. It allows you to quickly scan some key metrics on virtual machines and see where they are running on Cisco hardware, as well as related alerts. This dashboard is very useful while troubleshooting to see how a virtual machine relates to its UCS layer and where alerts originate.

 

Use case: Strong IO metrics

The fabric interconnect switches and IO-modules are a critical factor in a Cisco UCS environment. Measuring performance serves as a crucial indicator of a healthy datacenter. That is why we monitor ports on all fabric interconnects and even their relation to Cisco networking switches in your environment. We also monitor vNICs and vHBA, as well as create IO-module objects so that you can monitor aggregated traffic very easily:

See Blue Medora's Cisco UCS Management Pack for vROps in action

Figure 4: Aggregate traffic and other metrics on IO-module

 

All this allows you to visualize traffic and issues very quickly. If a port fails — as we have seen in a recent customer case — you can quickly see which virtual machines are affected.

We also include a number of reports with the management pack. The Cisco UCS Traffic report will give you a complete overview on all traffic and ports:

See Blue Medora's Cisco UCS Management Pack for vROps in action

Figure 5: Cisco UCS traffic report

 

If you want to have a look at this report, you can download an example.

 

With the latest update to our Cisco UCS Management Pack, simplify how you manage your environment with more metrics, alerts, detailed dashboards and the addition of Cisco UCS Central support.

 

Ready to maximize your Cisco UCS performance? Try a free trial of our Cisco UCS Management Pack.

 

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