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By: Alain Geenrits

 

Within vRealize Operations (vROps), you can connect different management packs to extend functionality — importing data from other platforms to turn vROps into a unique console for all the insight that you need.

The Cisco UCS Management Pack from Blue Medora offers customers extensive insight into their environments to drive better performance and simplify troubleshooting. Cisco created a modern, flexible computing platform with B-series blades and/or C-series rack servers in a chassis that connects to your Cisco networking infrastructure seamlessly through fabric interconnects, or special Nexus switches, in the rack. The fabric interconnects (FI) provide ethernet, FCoE or FC connectivity. In addition, the computing modules need no settings or updates to be put into production immediately. As a result, the UCS platform is used in a lot of hyperconverged platforms like NetApp FlexPod or VCE Vblock.

In this blog post, I will highlight two practical use cases of the Cisco UCS Management Pack from Blue Medora that you can test and use in your environment. For these examples I am using my own vRealize Operations setup, version 6.5, connected to a UCS chassis in the Blue Medora Lab and a Cisco Nexus switch (hey, it’s only a test lab!).

 

Networking Topology

Big environments require simple ways to get a quick overview in case things go wrong. Unfortunately, it’s not so simple in big Cisco UCS domains. You quickly lose sight of which ESX servers run on which blade — making it nearly impossible to see how they’re connected to network ports when they go down. Tools like UCS Manager are powerful, but do not provide easy-to-read visual clues and lack essential flexibility.

Cisco UCS Manager View

Figure 1: UCS Manager View

 

With vRealize Operations, you can easily and quickly create visual dashboards of your data. Relationship mapping in Blue Medora management packs make it even easier. In fact we added a new inventory tree — or traversal spec — to the Cisco Networking Management Pack to link Nexus ports to the Cisco UCS fabric interconnects.


As a result, you can see the whole picture in the out-of-the-box Cisco Networking overview dashboard when you click a Nexus switch.

Cisco Networking Overview Dashboard from Blue Medora

Figure 2: Cisco Networking Overview Dashboard from Blue Medora

 

When you hover over the end blocks in the links, you can see the actual port on the switch or fabric interconnect.

Of course, you can edit the dashboards or use the data in your own view to meet your unique requirements. What if you want a quick overview of the connections on your chassis, without diving into the detail of the standard UCS fabric interconnect dashboard? Well, this can easily be created!

Cisco UCS Connectivity Dashboard from Blue Medora

Figure 3: Cisco UCS Connectivity Dashboard from Blue Medora

 

In the object relationships widget, I selected only fabric interconnects, switches and ethernet ports on both. Plus, you can download a copy of my dashboard to try out for yourself! I used only object categories, so it should be fine if you import in dashboards in your vROps.

 

Power Metrics

When it comes to power metrics, the Blue Medora Management Pack for Cisco UCS collects all stats for chassis and power supplies and you can visualize those in “All Metrics” for the objects.

Cisco UCS power metrics

Figure 4: Cisco UCS power metrics

 

With access to all these metrics, you can build a dashboard that tracks power consumption in your racks in a rented datacenter, for example, making it easy to track power usage for your chassis.

Cisco power consumption dashboard

Figure 5: Cisco Power Consumption Dashboard

 

You can download this dashboard too. Of course you can add custom metrics to track the data that makes the most sense for your organization — perhaps average power consumption?

 

In this blog post, I provided insight into two popular use cases for the Cisco UCS Management Pack from Blue Medora. As you can see, the management pack enables you to access more metrics and dig deeper into root-cause issues — simplifying troubleshooting and optimizing performance across the IT stack.

To learn more about the Cisco UCS Management Pack or to get a free trial, visit the Blue Medora True Visibility Suite for vRealize Operations webpage today.