vRealize Operations Management Pack for Cisco UCS Review

Cisco UCS blade system is the best blade system I used so far. Whatever the hardware, software or support is perfect. I recommend leverage the system for primary system of virtualization. UCS blade system architecture is different with HP. I feel it more likes a network system. Fabric Interconnect (FI) modules exchange data between uplinks and internal components. IOMs on each chassis controls data routing. Architecture is complicate, but it’s powerful to manage large datacenter. Talking about large datacenter, you may have hundred chassis or blades. Data goes through FIs, IOMs and blades, you could see issues on any layer. It’s hard to find out where exactly the problem is. UCS Manager provides statistics for ports just like how Cisco does on network switches. You can show statistics of a particular port. But it doesn’t tell you when and which layer it happened. I tested Cisco UCS adapter for vRealize Operation Manager before I reviewed NetApp adapter for vRealize Operation Manager. It’s developed by same company Blue Medora. I’d like to introduce few of this product, it’s just my personal review.

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Installation is easy. Download PAK file from their website, import to vROps, assign proper license, and create instance. You need to input Cisco UCS Manager address and credential. I recommend you select True for Support Autodiscovery and HTTPS for Protocol if you are doing POC or monitoring over all systems.

033016_1421_vRealizeOpe1.pngWait about 30 minutes after new instances are created. You will see similar collection status like following screenshot. It indicates the adapter is up and running.

033016_1445_vRealizeOpe2.pngGo back to Home in vROps left panel, then go to Environment – Cisco UCS System. You will see UCS Manager name on left panel. Cisco chassis, integrated rack mount server and Fabric Interconnect Modules (It calls Switch-A and Switch-B) are primary sub-nodes of each UCS system. Expand chassis node you will see discovered blades, fans, power supplies and IOMs of the chassis. The blade node can be expanded if it’s a monitored ESXi host. The adapter collects data on each level.033016_1434_vRealizeOpe3.png033016_1434_vRealizeOpe4.pngThe adapter has 5 out-of-box dashboards for chassis, blades, Fabric Interconnect Modules, Relationship and UCS events. For example, blade dashboard. If you select a blade of a ESXi host, the Hypervisor widget shows associated ESXi host object. This is a nice view to find relationship between ESXi and physical blade.033016_1421_vRealizeOpe5.pngAs you may know customized dashboard data comes from metrics, so I think it’s important to know what metrics the adapter can collects. You can see statistics in UCS Manager, but you cannot know when it happened but this adapter can. Following is the major metrics collected on blade level. It’s pretty much everything I need in performance troubleshooting. I still remember we got pause frame issue on HP enclosures one year ago. It struggled me in few months. When it happened it leaded to some ESXi blades lost network and huge number of VMs went down. I asked HP if they have some monitor tool can show Flex-10 uplink traffics they said NO. This adapter is able to aggregate traffic counters to performance chart. I think this is biggest benefit of this adapter. The screenshot below indicates there was a peak around 10PM 1/6/2016. You can also see similar charts on blade, blade adapters, IOMs, FIs, each port of FIs…etc. It impressed me, I can easy figure out where is bottleneck.033016_1434_vRealizeOpe6.png033016_1421_vRealizeOpe7.png

You may know the performance collection feature is also part of Cisco UCS Central. But if you compare cost of both tools, it’s significantly different. The adapter is licensed by blade. If you implemented vRealize Operation Manager and large volume of Cisco UCS blades in your infrastructure, this adapter could be an option for performance monitor. Personally I like it! J

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