UCP-HC - Standing up a Cluster
UCP-HC is Hitachi's product that evolved on from their previous EVO:RAIL appliance offering to allow automation and standup of vSAN powered HCI. UCP-HC now uses UCP advisor for management. A few key hardware capabilities:
- 100gbps Ethernet
- FC HBA support for mixed-use with traditional arrays
- All NVMe configurations as well as Intel Optane support.
For standing up an environment UCP advisor Deployment Manager is used. This can run as a Docker container in a virtual machine. UCP Deployment Manager can:
- Configure out of band management (BMC)
- Update Firmware and BIOS
- Install of ESXi, VCSA and configuration of vSAN VMkernel ports, port groups in greenfield or brownfield configurations.
This is user-installable and the UCP deployment manager runs as a container. Host management is done entirely using native APIs and no custom VIBs or agents are required to be installed on hosts.
When standing up a cluster, UCP-HC can automatically identify the location of hosts in a rack based on the order they are powered on. This prevents the need to manually inspect locations, or physically rack servers in order of serial number or other methods for aligning server numbers to rack order. Node discovery is performed using multicast (either IPv4 or ipv6). Note this can be manually overridden if needed.
Demonstration of UCP-HC setup
This video runs through the setup of a UCP-HC cluster.
For customers who chose to run traditional arrays alongside vSAN, UCP supports the deployment of traditional arrays connected to UCP-HC nodes, or UCP blades. This helps prevent HCI and CI environments from being standalone stovepipes of management by allowing FC HBA's on the HCI hosts. UCP advisor is not tied to a single SSO domain and can be used to manage multiple tenant environments. VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) is supported with UCP-RS.
Switch and fabric management
Hyper-converged storage is only as good as its network. UCP Manager also integrates the lifecycle and management of Brocade, Cisco and now Arista switching.
Reviewing UCP 3.5 it includes some new capabilities:
1. Full feature parity in the HTML5 vCenter UI to support the full deprecation o the flash UI.
2. VLAN creation on managed switches, and zone creation on fibre channel switches
3. Full end to end VMFS volume setup when adding arrays (Zoning, rescanning for HBA's).
4. Full backup and restore of switch configuration (both FC and IP switches).
While I was at the Hitachi Next conference, I spoke with Fidelity and other customers of UCP-HC. They spoke positively about the speed, scalability, and simplicity of management that integrated well into their existing VMware environments.