February 17, 2013 Leave a comment
I’ve been mentioning to customers who have more than one Cisco UCS fabric interconnect cluster that UCS Central is out and that it provides management of both clusters in one tool (editor: I really dislike the term “single pane of glass”). At its most simple level, UCS Central is UCS Manager for UCS Managers. It’s designed for customers who have UCS at different sites or multiple installations in a single site. I figured I’ve been mentioning it to customers so much that I should probably understand the deployment and real world capabilities of the product.
Before you go through the process of installing UCS Central, make sure all UCS clusters that you plan on adding to UCS Central are on the 2.1 firmware. Older firmware is not supported with UCS Central. From a deployment standpoint, there are two options. One is a clean build from an ISO, the other (and my preference) is a pre-built virtual appliance. Deploy the OVA into your virtual host and power it up. If you’ve ever configured a brand new fabric interconnect, the setup prompt will look very familiar. The only difference is the addition of the shared secret. The shared secret is the password you’ll use to register UCS domains (clusters) with UCS Central. It cannot be a dictionary word, and you’d be surprised what’s in the dictionary. I recommend doing a letter/number replacement. 0 for o, 4 for a, etc. After you apply the configuration, you’ll have successfully deployed UCS Central.
There are some things you’ll need to do before you register a UCS domain with UCS Central. First, configure NTP on UCS Central. This is located on the Operations Management tab under Domain Groups, Domain Group root, Operational Policies, Time Zone.
Next, configure NTP on the UCS domain. This is under the Admin tab, Time Zone Management:
Time synchronization is very important. If the time is off, a UCS domain will fail to register.
Wait for the System Time in the bottom right corner to match up. The hour may not match up, but that’s OK. If it doesn’t match, it’s the time zone difference between where you are and UTC. In my screenshots, that’s 6 hours (Eastern Daylight Savings Time). Once the time sync is complete, it’s time to register with UCS Central. Under the Admin tab, go to Communication Management, UCS Central.
Click “Register With UCS Central”. A new window will appear. Enter the IP or hostname of UCS Central in the Hostname/IP Address field and the Shared Secret you configured in the initial deployment of UCS Central.
The options in the window are to determine what has control, the local configuration or the global configuration in UCS Central. This can be changed later, so you can register it with everything on the local configuration being left alone. This could be used as a configuration tool for a new install if you had a standard build to use with it.
Click OK to kick off the Registration. If you want to see the progress (which isn’t much), click the FSM tab. When it’s done, you’ll see the following in UCS Central:
At this point, UCS Central is able to manage that UCS domain. At this point, UCS Central is limited to mostly view-only things. It can see service profiles, templates, pools, etc. but can only make limited changes to them. In later versions, you’ll be able to create global service profiles and templates. This will allow you to move service profiles between domains, which is an amazing idea.
Here’s Cisco’s data sheet on all of the features of UCS Central. You can build this in your home lab (like I did), using the UCS Platform Emulator. It’s a fantastic tool for playing around with UCS and testing out the features of new products like UCS Central.
Get in there and dig around. Let me know what you think in the comments.