Cisco UCS 2100 Series Fabric Extenders

Cisco UCS 2100 Series Fabric Extenders

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Cisco Unified Computing System Overview

The Cisco® Unified Computing System is a next-generation data center platform that unites compute, network, storage access, and virtualization into a cohesive system designed to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) and increase business agility. The system integrates a low-latency, lossless 10 Gigabit Ethernet unified network fabric with enterprise-class, x86-architecture servers. The system is an integrated, scalable, multichassis platform in which all resources participate in a unified management domain (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The Cisco Unified Computing System Is a Highly Available Cohesive Architecture

Product Overview

Cisco UCS 2100 Series Fabric Extenders bring the unified fabric into the blade server enclosure, providing 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections between blade servers and the fabric interconnect, simplifying diagnostics, cabling, and management.

The Cisco UCS 2100 Series extends the I/O fabric between the Cisco UCS 6100 Series Fabric Interconnects and the Cisco UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis, enabling a lossless and deterministic Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) fabric to connect all blades and chassis together. Since the fabric extender is similar to a distributed line card, it does not do any switching and is managed as an extension of the fabric interconnects. This approach removes switching from the chassis, reducing overall infrastructure complexity and enabling the Cisco Unified Computing System to scale to many chassis without multiplying the number of switches needed, reducing TCO and allowing all chassis to be managed as a single, highly available management domain.

The Cisco 2100 Series also manages the chassis environment (the power supply and fans as well as the blades) in conjunction with the fabric interconnect. Therefore, separate chassis management modules are not required.

Cisco UCS 2100 Series Fabric Extenders fit into the back of the Cisco UCS 5100 Series chassis. Each Cisco UCS 5100 Series chassis can support up to two fabric extenders, enabling increased capacity as well as redundancy (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Rear of Cisco UCS 5108 Blade Server Chassis with Two Cisco UCS 2104XP Fabric Extenders Inserted

Cisco UCS 2104XP Fabric Extender

The first product in the Cisco UCS 2100 Series is the Cisco UCS 2104XP Fabric Extender (Figure 3). It has four 10 Gigabit Ethernet, FCoE-capable, Small Form-Factor Pluggable Plus (SFP+) ports that connect the blade chassis to the fabric interconnect. Each Cisco UCS 2104XP has eight 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports connected through the midplane to each half-width slot in the chassis. Typically configured in pairs for redundancy, two fabric extenders provide up to 80 Gbps of I/O to the chassis.

Figure 3. Cisco UCS 2104XP Fabric Extender

Features and Benefits

Table 1 summarizes the main features and benefits of the Cisco UCS 2100 Series.

Table 1. Features and Benefits



Management by Cisco UCS Manager

Reduces TCO by removing management modules from the chassis, making the chassis stateless
Provides a single, highly available management domain for all system chassis, reducing administrative tasks


Simplifies operation by automatically synchronizing firmware levels between the fabric extenders and the interconnects

Unified fabric

Decreases TCO by reducing the number of network interface cards (NICs), host bus adapters (HBAs), switches, and cables needed
Transparently encapsulates Fibre Channel packets into Ethernet

Automatic failover

Increases availability with an active-active data plane

Scalable bandwidth

Reduces TCO by optimizing overall system capacity to match actual workload demands

Environmental monitoring

Removes the need for chassis management modules

Lossless fabric

Provides a reliable, robust foundation for unifying LAN and SAN traffic on a single transport

Priority flow control (PFC)

Simplifies management of multiple traffic flows over a single network link
Supports different classes of service, enabling both lossless and classic Ethernet on the same fabric

Systemwide bandwidth management

Enables consistent and coherent quality-of-service (QoS) management throughout the system

Cisco VM-FEX technology

Enables a consistent operational model between virtual and physical environments
Provides the same level of network visibility for virtualized and non-virtualized environments
Improves diagnostic and troubleshooting capabilities in a virtual environment
Simplifies network and security policy enforcement when migrating virtual machines from one host to another

SFP+ ports

Increases flexibility with a range of interconnect solutions, including copper Twinax cable for short runs and fiber for long runs
Consumes less power per port than traditional solutions

Product Specifications


Table 2 presents cabling specifications for the Cisco UCS 2100 Series.

Table 2. Cabling Specifications

Connector (Media)



Power (Each Side)

Transceiver Latency (Link)


SFP+ copper (CU)


1, 3, 5, 7 and 10m

~0.1 watt (W)

~0.1 microsecond

SFF 8431

SFP+ short reach (SR) and multimode fiber (MMF)






~0 microseconds

IEEE 802.3ae

SFP+ long reach (LR) and single mode fiber (SMF)


Up to 300m


~0 microseconds

IEEE 802.3ae


Hardware forwarding at 160 Gbps

Low-latency cut-through design provides predictable, consistent traffic latency regardless of packet size, traffic pattern, or enabled features

Layer 2

Layer 2 VLAN trunks

IEEE 802.1Q VLAN encapsulation

Support for up to 1024 VLANs and virtual SANs (VSANs)

Support for Cisco VM-FEX architecture

Jumbo frames on all ports (up to 9216 bytes)

Pause frames (IEEE 802.3x)


Layer 2 IEEE 802.1p (CoS)

CoS-based egress queuing

Egress strict-priority queuing

Egress port-based scheduling: Weighted Round-Robin (WRR)

Four hardware queues per port

High Availability

Up to two fabric extenders can work in the Cisco UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis

Active-active data plane operation with failover

Capability to fail over from one fabric extender to the other in the event of a failure

Active-passive management plane operation

Support for nonstop management plane functioning; if the active fabric extender fails, the passive fabric extender takes over the chassis management needs


Management of fabric extenders integrated into Cisco UCS Manager (please refer to the Cisco UCS Manager data sheet for more information about management interfaces)

Capability to manage blade server chassis components such as power supplies, fans, and blades in conjunction with the fabric interconnect

Firmware levels between the fabric extender and fabric interconnect always synchronized

Low-Latency, Lossless 10 Gigabit Ethernet Unified Network Fabric

PFC (per-priority pause frame support)

Data Center Bridging Exchange (DCBX) Protocol

IEEE 802.1Qaz: Bandwidth management

Industry Standards

IEEE 802.1p: CoS prioritization

IEEE 802.1Q: VLAN tagging

IEEE 802.3: Ethernet

IEEE 802.3ad: LACP

IEEE 802.3ae: 10 Gigabit Ethernet

SFP+ support

Physical Specifications

SFP+ Optics

Cisco Unified Computing System products support 10 Gigabit Ethernet SFP+ copper Twinax cables for short distances and SFP+ optics for longer distances. SFP+ has several advantages compared to other 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity options, including:

Small 10 Gigabit Ethernet form factor

Optical interoperability with XENPAK, X2, and 10 Gigabit Small Form-Factor Pluggable (XFP) interface types

Low power consumption

Hot-swappable device


Physical (height x width x depth): 7.64 x 1.36 x 7.2 in.

Operating temperature: 32 to 104°F (0 to 40°C)

Nonoperating temperature: -40 to 158°F -40 to 70°C)

Humidity: 5 to 95% (noncondensing)

Altitude: 0 to 10,000 ft (0 to 3000m)


2.5 lb (1.134 kg)

Regulatory Standards Compliance: Safety and EMC

Table 3 summarizes Cisco UCS 2100 Series regulatory compliance.

Table 3. Regulatory Standards Compliance: Safety and EMC



Regulatory compliance

Products should comply with CE Markings according to directives 2004/108/EC and 2006/95/EC


UL 60950-1
CAN/CSA-C22.2 No. 60950-1
EN 60950-1
IEC 60950-1
AS/NZS 60950-1

EMC: Emissions

47CFR Part 15 (CFR 47) Class A
CISPR22 Class A
EN55022 Class A
ICES003 Class A
VCCI Class A
KN22 Class A
CNS13438 Class A

EMC: Immunity

KN 61000-4 series


The product is RoHS 5-compliant with exceptions for leaded ball grid array (BGA) balls and lead press-fit connectors

Warranty Information

Find warranty information at on the Product Warranties page.

Cisco Unified Computing Services

Using a unified view of data center resources, Cisco and our industry-leading partners deliver services that accelerate your transition to a unified computing environment. Cisco Unified Computing Services help you quickly deploy your data center resources and optimize ongoing operations to better meet your business needs. For more information about these and other Cisco Data Center Services, visit

For More Information

For more information about the Cisco UCS 2100 Series Fabric Extenders, visit or contact your local Cisco representative.