Cisco UCS Central Software

Cisco UCS Central Software Data Sheet

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Cisco Unified Computing System Multi-domain Management

The efficient management of distributed servers has been a challenge for decades. This is true whether you have a handful of systems in multiple locations or hundreds of servers in a single data center. Although virtualization has helped reduce some of the management constraints, all virtual machines still run on physical servers that need to be monitored, maintained, and updated.

The Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS®) was designed to help organizations efficiently manage servers at scale. This goal is achieved through the policy-based management first introduced in Cisco UCS Manager to efficiently manage up to 20 chassis. To address the challenge of managing multiple Cisco UCS domains with scale requirements, redundancy requirements, and location requirements, Cisco provides Cisco UCS Central Software.

Product Overview

Cisco UCS Central Software extends the functions and concepts of Cisco UCS Manager to the management of thousands of servers from a single management point. It dramatically simplifies operations, automates and simplifies routine tasks, enhances consistency, and reduces risk for environments with multiple UCS domains. Cisco UCS Central Software unifies management and scalability of multiple Cisco UCS domains for up to 10,000 servers. You can manage servers in multiple data centers and remote locations as easily as you can manage one. The software addresses the need to deploy workloads and infrastructure and enforce policy compliance across widely separated locations. It supports management of inventory and resources, such as resource pools, and Cisco UCS service profiles implement automated, role- and policy-based management on a global scale (Figure 1).

Figure 1.      Global Management Across Domains, Systems, and Locations

Cisco UCS Central Software does not replace Cisco UCS Manager, which is the basic engine for managing a Cisco UCS domain. The powerful Cisco UCS Central Software platform is designed to build on and enhance the capabilities of Cisco UCS Manager. It builds on the capabilities provided by Cisco UCS Manager and requires it to be in place to effect changes in individual domains. Cisco UCS Manager provides a single point of management for an entire Cisco UCS environment. It uses a policy-based approach to provision servers, applying a desired configuration to physical infrastructure. Using Cisco UCS service profiles, administrators can reproduce existing physical environments, including the I/O configuration, firmware, and settings. The configuration is applied quickly, accurately, and automatically, improving business agility. The policy-based management function continuously monitors the deployed state in comparison to the desired state, enabling straightforward updates to the environment and helping ensure constancy and no configuration drift. A role-based access control (RBAC) model helps ensure the security of system configurations, increasing compliance and reduces risk.

Cisco UCS Central Software extends this simplicity and agility across multiple Cisco UCS domains in one or more physical locations. It allows you to work easily on a global scale, putting computing capacity close to users while managing infrastructure with centrally defined policies. Cisco UCS Central Software also helps you ensure global policy compliance, with subject-matter experts choosing the resource pools and policies that need to be enforced globally or managed locally. With a simple operation, you can move Cisco UCS global service profiles between geographic locations to enable fast deployment of infrastructure, when and where it is needed, to support business workloads.

Cisco UCS Central Software eliminates the need for separate islands of management by providing support for the full range of Cisco UCS server models, including Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers, C-Series Rack Servers, and M-Series Modular Servers and Cisco UCS Mini. It provides a centralized means of managing daily operations in addition to performing provisioning and configuration tasks. It centrally collects health, fault, and inventory information for all infrastructure elements managed by Cisco UCS Manager. A dashboard and reports help you more easily monitor distributed environments and quickly isolate and resolve problems when they occur. Policy-based firmware upgrades can be coordinated and automatically applied to reduce manual activities and reduce the potential for errors.

Features and Benefits

Cisco UCS Central Software enables global management of multiple Cisco UCS domains, both local and remote, making staff more efficient and effective. Cisco UCS administrators can manage and gain a high-level view of all, or groups of, Cisco UCS domains with these capabilities:

   Centralized inventory and health status information for all Cisco UCS components for a definitive view of the entire infrastructure (Figure 2)

   Centralized keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM) manager to launch KVM sessions anywhere in the Cisco UCS environment from a single pane

   Centralized, policy-based firmware upgrades that can be applied globally or selectively through automated schedules or as business workloads demand

   Global ID pooling and multi-domain ID visibility to eliminate identifier conflicts

   Global administrative policies that enable both global and local management of Cisco UCS domains and that help ensure consistency and standardization across domains and eliminate the configuration drift typically experienced after servers are deployed

   An XML API that builds on the Cisco UCS Manager XML API for easy integration into higher-level data center management frameworks

   Bandwidth, power, and thermal statistics collection and aggregation

Figure 2.      Server Inventory Generated by Centralized Inventory Feature

These are just a few of the many features and benefits that Cisco UCS Central Software brings to data centers. Table 1 provides a list of the features and benefits.

Table 1.       Cisco UCS Central Software Features and Benefits



Personalized dashboard

Users can personalize their Cisco UCS Central Software dashboard with summary widgets and pins to provide a custom view of the information that is most important to them.

Centralized inventory

You no longer need manual inventory spreadsheets. Cisco UCS Central Software automatically aggregates a global inventory of all Cisco UCS components, organized by domain, with customizable refresh schedules. Cisco UCS Central Software provides even easier integration with ITIL processes, with direct access to the inventory through an XML interface.

Centralized fault summary

Quickly and easily view the status of all Cisco UCS infrastructure with a quick-look global fault summary panel. This panel provides a fault summary organized by domain and fault type, with views into individual Cisco UCS Manager domains for greater fault detail and more rapid problem resolution. You can view faults in increasing levels of detail, opening Cisco UCS Manager in context for an integrated experience.

Centralized KVM manager

Quickly and easily launch KVM sessions in any managed Cisco UCS domain from a single screen. Search capabilities help ensure that users find the intended service profile or server quickly. The KVM manager allows you to select the most appropriate IP address from all the available KVM IP addresses available for a particular system.

Global administrative policies

Help ensure compliance and staff efficiency with global administrative policies. You define these policies at the domain group level, and they can manage anything in the infrastructure, from date and time and user authentication to equipment power and system event log (SEL) policies.

Global Cisco UCS service profiles and templates

Just like Cisco UCS service profiles and templates, which have made IT departments so much more effective, Cisco UCS global service profiles and templates enable fast and simplified infrastructure deployment and help ensure consistency of configurations throughout the enterprise. This feature enables global bare-metal workload mobility in much the same way as a hypervisor enables virtualized workload mobility.


Cisco UCS Central Software has an automatic backup facility that enables quick and efficient back up of the configuration information for the registered Cisco UCS Manager instances and Cisco UCS Central Software.

Centralized, policy-based firmware upgrades

Eliminate the guesswork and manual errors from infrastructure firmware updates. You can download firmware updates automatically from the website to a firmware library within Cisco UCS Central Software. Then update firmware, globally or selectively, on an automated schedule or as your business workloads allow. Centralized firmware management helps ensure compliance with IT standards and makes reprovisioning of resources a point-and-click operation.

Global ID pooling

Eliminate identifier conflicts and help ensure portability of software licenses with Cisco UCS Central Software. Centralize the sourcing of all IDs, such as universal user IDs (UUIDs), MAC addresses, IP addresses, and World Wide Names (WWNs), from global pools and gain real-time ID use summaries. With centralized server identifier information, you can easily, for example, move a server identifier between Cisco UCS domains anywhere in the world and reboot an existing workload to run on the new server. Global pools even support domain-specific ID ranges so that service profiles can be assigned different IDs depending on the domain to which the server belongs.

Domain grouping and subgrouping

Simplify policy management by creating domain groups and subgroups. A domain group is an arbitrary grouping of Cisco UCS domains that can be used to group systems into geographical or organizational groups. Each domain group can have up to five levels of subdomains, which helps you more easily manage policy exceptions when administering large numbers of Cisco UCS domains. Each subdomain has a hierarchical relationship with the parent domain.

Centralized network configuration

Cisco UCS Central Software provides a single place to configure network settings, network policies, and ports for Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnects in one or more Cisco UCS domains.

Policy, template, resource, and ID pool import

Policies, templates, resources, and ID pools from existing Cisco UCS domains can be imported into Cisco UCS Central Software, optionally including any dependent policies and resources, eliminating the need to create all new global items and accelerating deployment times.

Statistics aggregation

Gain a better understanding of the way your Cisco UCS domains are functioning over time to improve operations so your systems can smoothly handle periodic peaks and shifts in workload. To accelerate the collection of statistics, the centralized database schema is open, and you can access data directly or through the Cisco UCS Central Software GUI, command-line interface (CLI), or XML API.


Cisco UCS Central Software, just like Cisco UCS Manager, has a high-level industry-standard XML API for interfacing with existing management frameworks and orchestration tools. The XML API for Cisco UCS Central Software is similar to the XML API for Cisco UCS Manager, making integration with high-level managers very fast.

Multiple-platform support

Some Cisco UCS platforms have platform-specific releases of Cisco UCS Manager. Cisco UCS Central Software supports all releases of Cisco UCS Manager 2.1(2a) and later, including the platform-specific release, helping ensure that customers can manage their complete Cisco UCS environment from a single management tool. In addition, Cisco UCS Central Software supports both local and remote domain management to better support remote and branch offices.

High availability

As with all Cisco UCS solutions, Cisco UCS Central Software is designed with no single point of failure. High availability for Cisco UCS Central Software allows organizations to run Cisco UCS Central Software using an active-standby model with a heartbeat that automatically fails over if the active Cisco UCS Central Software does not respond.

Ordering and Licensing Information

You can purchase Cisco UCS Central Software directly from Cisco or from any Cisco UCS partner. Cisco UCS Central Software is available both as standalone software and through the Cisco ONE Foundation for Compute Bundle. Cisco UCS Central Software can be licensed either per domain using the traditional product activation key (PAK) or per server using Cisco Smart Licensing (Table 2).

Table 2.       Licensing and Ordering Information

Standalone License Type


Cisco UCS Central Software Per Server license through the Cisco Smart Licensing


Suboptions are available depending on the quantity of licenses ordered.

Cisco UCS Central Software Per Domain license using traditional PAK-based licensing


Service and Support

You can purchase support for either the Per Server or Per Domain licensing model.

For more information about Cisco® Software Application Support plus Upgrades (SASU), please visit

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For More Information

Please contact your Cisco sales representative or your Cisco partner representative or visit the Cisco UCS website at