This is part 6 and also the last part of the following blog series:
- My first FlexPod! (Part 1 – Introduction)
- My first FlexPod! (Part 2 – Hardware Overview)
- My first FlexPod! (Part 3 – Hardware Configuration)
- My first FlexPod! (Part 4 – Quality of Services)
- My first FlexPod! (Part 5 – Hyper-V Cluster)
- My first FlexPod! (Part 6 – System Center)
If you haven’t read the previous part, then I recommend you read them. On the other hand this will be a short one, because there is not that much to tell. Although the title of this blog is about System Center I want to show you three topics.
Partner Ecosystem Software:
Cisco has a partner ecosystem with software for management of Cisco UCS. When you go to the Cisco support page you can download a lot of tools/add-ins. Please refer to the following link for a complete overview:
UCS Management Partner Ecosystem Software
Specific for UCS Manager integration with System Center the following is currently available:
- Unified Computing System – PowerTool Suite
- Unified Computing System – Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager
- Unified Computing System – Microsoft System Center Operations Manager
- Unified Computing System – Microsoft System Center Orchestrator
- Unified Computing System – Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager
I am not going discuss them all, mainly because I don’t use all System Center products. In this part I would like to talk very briefly about the following:
- UCS PowerTool Suite
- UCS Manager Add-in for SCVMM (System Center Virtual Machine Manager)
- UCS Manager Management Pack for SCOM (System Center Operations Manager)
UCS PowerTool Suite:
The UCS PowerTool Suite is a PowerShell module that helps automate all aspects of Cisco UCS Manager, Cisco UCS Central, and Cisco IMC. The suite enables easy integration with existing IT management processes and tools. The suite contains more than 1800 cmdlets which are included in the following components:
UCS Manager PowerTool
The UCS Manager PowerTool helps automate all aspects of UCS Manager including server, network, storage, and hypervisor management. These cmdlets can be used to execute read, create, modify, and delete operations on all the UCS Manager Managed Objects (MOs).
Because everything is controlled by UCS Manager (or UCS Central), the PowerShell cmdlets are executed against UCS Manager by first connecting to a UCS Domain.
The PowerShell module also includes a cmdlet ‘ConvertTo-UcsCmdlet ‘ that converts your tasks to a PowerShell format. To explain; As you might know, when you use an Exchange Management Console or an SCVMM Console you can save the PowerShell commands of that task to a file for later use. UCS Manager PowerTool offers you to do the same thing, with the difference it is some sort a simulator and does not run the actual task.
When you run the cmdlet it will autolaunch the UCS Manager GUI in a browser and you can do your task. When you are finished with your task, you can exit and you are presented with an output in PowerShell format.
Personally I don’t use these cmdlets that often. But if you have a large environment and have to do a lot of automation, you will certainly use it.
UCS Manager Add-in for SCVMM
The Cisco UCS Manager Add-in for SCVMM (System Center Virtual Machine Manager) provides an extended user interface to the SCVMM console that gives a certain view and control over UCS Manager. With the add-in you can monitor the health of each Hyper-V Server and do common remote management tasks with your UCS privileges. See the following example:
With this add-in you can also open a KVM console to each UCS Server. If you have an issue with an Hyper-V Server and their is an engineer at your datacenter, you can enable/disabled the server LED indicator on a UCS Server.
This might not seem that exciting, but since it is integrated in the SCVMM console a physical server is easier to identify. In fact it is quite handy. You can offer SCVMM Administrators a quick health view of the physical UCS servers, without having them to login on UCS Manager.
UCS Manager Management Pack for SCVMM
The Cisco UCS Manager Management Pack for SCOM (System Center Operations Manager) provides an extended user interface to the SCOM console that allows you to monitor the health of the entire UCS system.
As mentioned earlier, because everything is controller by UCS Manager, SCOM only has to connect to UCS Manager. This gives you a complete overview over the entire UCS system. Like the Fabric Interconnects, the Blade Chassis, the Blade-/Rack Servers and all their components. You can view the health of all equipment in a diagram. See the following example:
As you can see, Cisco offers enough management solutions that are developed within the partner ecosystem. And they continue to develop new and update their existing solutions.
Cisco UCS is a flexible system that I can highly recommend. As you might have noticed in part 1, 2 and 3 I am quite enthousiastic about Cisco UCS. Personally I like the way the entire infrastructure is interconnected. How easy it is to create a Server Profile and having the benifit from a CNA; add as many vNICs and vHBAs as you want. Assigning your VLANs and the correct properties to these vNICs is a breeze.
Getting to know Cisco UCS is a different story. You must take your time and follow an online training or bootcamp to understand how it fits together. But once you get to know UCS, you will love it. Cisco is also very innovative when it comes to new technologies. While writing these parts Cisco already released some new technology; like FlexPod Mini, HyperFlex and more. For me it was quite a job to write down all this information and trying to keep it simple 😉
P.S: I have published this part just recently. I going to review it and might add some more information later. Please we aware that Cisco has many validated designs that describe the entire deployment in detail.
We have now come to the end of this blog series. If hope the information was informative for you. If it was, feel free to leave a comment.
Entire series on the FlexPod is really informative. Thanks for putting this together and sharing it out.