Some little things that make Cisco UCS awesome

Posted by on March 21, 2011 in Cisco, Hardware | 5 comments

I was recently introduced to Cisco UCS and have been really enjoying working with the product. After working with HP, Dell and IBM products for almost 20 years it has been a refreshing change. Sure I was keeping an eye on what Cisco was doing with UCS and reading what others have been writing. But after working with the UCS and sitting for the UCS class I am a firm believer in what they have created now.

So I figured that it would be good just to write down a few of the little things that have impressed me so far. I will be writing a lot more about UCS in the coming weeks. But these are just some UCS features that I thought were cool.

This is no surprise but does the back of your server rack look this clean? Unless you have a UCS blade chassis I doubt it does. Sure other vendors have been creating Blade Chassis for years and they have done many things to cut down on cable clutter. But nothing comes close to making things this simple and clean.

The next one is maybe not so much a technology innovation but it’s just something so simple that I can’t believe no one has done this before. On each UCS blade server that is a little paper card that flips out. This can be used to write server names, put asset tags or other labeling details. No more are the days were you are forced to paste labels on the front of servers reducing the air flow by partially covering up some of the vents. This seems so dang easy but I’ve not seen any other vendor do this yet.

This will probably have people split on if its good or bad. Every UCS blade and C series rack mount server has the console port on the front and you can use the dongle in the picture below to access. The UCS dongle provides you with a video port, 2 USB ports and a 9 pin serial connection. This gives you the ability to connect monitor, keyboard and mouse to any blade or server. You could also use it for a console connection to a nearby switch if your laptop like many does not have a serial port. Sure others will probably say why would you want this when I just cable up my chassis to a KVM and forget about it. But after years of working with remote data centers and having a wide variety of skilled and non-skilled works there to be your hands in a crisis. This makes things dead simple just connect this dongle to server 1 and what do you see on the screen. No more try to remotely talk someone through how to use a KVM and never really being sure if they are looking at the right screen.

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

5 Comments

  1. Great pictures and post, looking forward to seeing more

  2. I think you’re excitement is more for blade server/chassis tech than UCS tech. The back of my HP C7000 chassis have looked clean for years. No need to label the blades – turn on the UID LED via the mgmt interface. BTW, Cisco uses the same dongles HP has been using for years – they’re taking advantage of economies of scale to keep cost down – can’t blame them for that. HP’s is also on the front – I’d rather have it here than in the back where someone could accidentily pull a cable.

  3. Not to be picky but my IBM Bladecenter H has also a information card in the front for the purpose of information. none the less. it’s the small things that make the difference.

  4. Is there a way to attach USB GSM modem to Cisco UCS Blade? It’s needed for sending SMS reports on certain events. I don’t want to leave KVM cable connected. I also don’t want to use internal usb (under the cover).

    • Pretty sure the only option is to use the KVM cable to the blade. I don’t think any blade models have a USB directly on the front of the blade.

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