Cisco UCS Central Deployment Guide, Release 1.0
Overview of Cisco UCS Central
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Overview of Cisco UCS Central

Overview of Cisco UCS Central

This chapter includes the following sections:

About Cisco UCS Central

Cisco UCS Central allows you to manage multiple Cisco UCS domains or through a single management point. Cisco UCS Central works with Cisco UCS Manager to provide a scalable management solution for a growing Cisco UCS environment. Cisco UCS Central does not replace Cisco UCS Manager, which is the basic engine for managing a Cisco UCS domain. Instead, it builds on the capabilities provided by Cisco UCS Manager and works with Cisco UCS Manager to effect changes in individual domains.

For a Cisco UCS domain to be managed by Cisco UCS Central, you must first register that domain with Cisco UCS Central.

Cisco UCS Central allows you to 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 drag-and-drop operation, service profiles can be moved between geographies to enable fast deployment of infrastructure, when and where it is needed, to support business workloads.

You can use Cisco UCS Central to view and manage data that is distributed over a large number of individual domains. For example, you can do the following in Cisco UCS Central:

  • View the hardware inventory in one or more registered domains.
  • Launch the KVM Console to view an individual server in a registered domain.
  • Launch Cisco UCS Manager in a registered domain.
  • View faults, events, and audit logs in one or more registered domains.
  • Handle one-to-many functions, such as global ID pools, global policies, and firmware management across all registered domains.

Cisco UCS Central does not reduce or change any local management capabilities of Cisco UCS Manager, such as its API. This allows administrators to continue usingCisco UCS Manager the way they did before even in the presence of Cisco UCS Central and also allows all existing third party integrations to continue to operate without change. Selectively they can allow polices to be globalized providing them with an easy transition to centralized management.

Cisco UCS Central Features

Cisco UCS Central includes the following features:

Centralized inventory

Manual inventory spreadsheets are no longer needed. Cisco UCS Central automatically aggregates a global inventory of all Cisco UCS components, organized by domain, with customizable refresh schedules. Cisco UCS Central 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 registered Cisco UCS domains with a quick-look global fault summary panel, a fault summary organized by domain and fault type, with views into individual Cisco UCS domains for greater fault detail and more rapid problem resolution.

Centralized policy-based firmware upgrades

Take the guesswork and manual errors out of updating infrastructure firmware. You can download firmware updates automatically from the website to a firmware library within Cisco UCS Central. Then you can update the firmware for registered domains, globally or selectively, on an automated schedule or as your business workloads allow. Managing firmware centrally 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. Centralize the sourcing of all IDs, such as universal user IDs (UUIDs), MAC addresses, IP addresses, and worldwide names (WWNs), from global pools and gain real-time ID use summaries. Centralizing server identifier information makes it simple to, for example, move server identifiers between Cisco UCS domains anywhere in the world and reboot an existing workload to run on the new server.

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 makes it easy to manage policy exceptions when administering large numbers of Cisco UCS domains. Each subdomain has a hierarchical relationship with the parent domain.

Global administrative policies

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

Cisco UCS Central XML API

Cisco UCS Central, 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 is similar to the XML API for Cisco UCS Manager, making integration with high-level management software very fast.

Cisco UCS Manager backups

The backup facility in Cisco UCS Central enables you to quickly and efficiently back up the configuration from Cisco UCS Manager in registered Cisco UCS domains. You can configure automated backups to occur on a specific schedule, or perform manual backups as your business needs require.

Domain Groups

Cisco UCS Central creates a hierarchy of Cisco UCS domain groups for managing multiple Cisco UCS domains. You will have the following categories of domain groups in Cisco UCS Central:

  • Domain Group— A group that contains multiple Cisco UCS domains. You can group similar Cisco UCS domains under one domain group for simpler management.
  • Ungrouped Domains—When a new Cisco UCS domain is registered in Cisco UCS Central, it is added to the ungrouped domains. You can assign the ungrouped domain to any domain group.

If you have created a domain group policy, a new registered Cisco UCS domain meets the qualifiers defined in the policy, it will automatically be placed under the domain group specified in the policy. If not, it will be placed in the ungrouped domains category. You can assign this ungrouped domain to a domain group.

Each Cisco UCS domain can only be assigned to one domain group. You can assign or reassign membership of the Cisco UCS domains at any time. When you assign a Cisco UCS domain to a domain group, the Cisco UCS domain will automatically inherit all management policies specified for the domain group.

Before adding a Cisco UCS domain to a domain group, make sure to change the policy resolution controls to local in the Cisco UCS domain. This will avoid accidentally overwriting service profiles and maintenance policies specific to that Cisco UCS domain. Even when you have enabled auto discovery for the Cisco UCS domains, enabling local policy resolution will protect the Cisco UCS domain from accidentally overwriting policies.


Cisco UCS Central acts as a global policy server for registered Cisco UCS domains. Configuring global Cisco UCS Central policies for remote Cisco UCS domains involves registering domains and assigning registered domains to domain groups.

In addition, the policy import capability allows a local policy to be globalized inside of Cisco UCS Central. You can then apply these global policies to other registered Cisco UCS domains.

You can define the following global policies in Cisco UCS Central that are resolved by Cisco UCS Manager in a registered Cisco UCS domain:

Backup Policies

The full state backup policy allows you to schedule regular full-state backups of a snapshot of the entire system. You can choose whether to configure the full-state backup to occur on a daily, weekly, or bi-weekly basis.

The all configuration backup policy allows you to schedule a regular backup and export of all system and logical configuration settings. This backup does not include passwords for locally authenticated users. You can choose whether to configure the all configuration backup to occur on a daily, weekly, or bi-weekly basis.

Call Home Policy

Call Home provides an email-based notification for critical system policies. A range of message formats are available for compatibility with pager services or XML-based automated parsing applications. You can use this feature to page a network support engineer, email a Network Operations Center, or use Cisco Smart Call Home services to generate a case with the Technical Assistance Center.

Capability Catalog

This policy is a set of tunable parameters, strings, and rules. Cisco UCS Manager uses the catalog to update the display and component configurations such as newly qualified DIMMs and disk drives for servers.

Core Files Export Policy

Cisco UCS Manager uses the Core File Exporter to export core files as soon as they occur to a specified location on the network through TFTP. This functionality allows you to export the tar file with the contents of the core file.

Fault Collection Policy

The fault collection policy controls the life cycle of a fault inCisco UCS domains, including when faults are cleared, the flapping interval (the length of time between the fault being raised and the condition being cleared), and the retention interval (the length of time a fault is retained in the system).

Firmware Image Management

Cisco UCS uses firmware obtained from and certified by Cisco to support the endpoints in Cisco UCS domains. Each endpoint is a component in Cisco UCS domains that requires firmware to function. The upgrade order for the endpoints in Cisco UCS domains depends upon the upgrade path, and includes Cisco UCS Manager, I/O modules, fabric interconnects, endpoints physically located on adapters, and endpoints physically located on servers. Cisco delivers all firmware updates to Cisco UCS components in bundles of images. Cisco UCS firmware updates are available for download to fabric interconnects in Cisco UCS domains.

Host Firmware Package

This policy enables you to specify a set of firmware versions that make up the host firmware package (host firmware pack). The host firmware pack includes the firmware for server and adapter endpoints including adapters, BIOS, board controllers, Fibre Channel adapters, HBA option ROM, and storage controllers.

Management Interface Monitoring Policy

This policy defines how the mgmt0 Ethernet interface on the fabric interconnect should be monitored. If Cisco UCS detects a management interface failure, a failure report is generated. If the configured number of failure reports is reached, the system assumes that the management interface is unavailable and generates a fault.

Role-Based Access Control and Remote Authentication Policies

Role-based access control is a method of restricting or authorizing system access for users based on user roles and locales. A role defines the privileges of a user in the system and the locale defines the organizations (domains) that a user is allowed access. Because users are not directly assigned privileges, management of individual user privileges is simply a matter of assigning the appropriate roles and locales.

SNMP Policy

Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is an application-layer protocol that provides a message format for communication between SNMP managers and agents. SNMP provides a standardized framework and a common language used for the monitoring and management of devices in a network.

Syslog Policy

A syslog policy is a collection of four policy attributes including console, file, monitor, and remote destination attributes. The syslog policy includes creating, enabling, disabling, and setting attributes.

Time Zone and NTP Policies

Cisco UCS requires a domain-specific time zone setting and an NTP server to ensure the correct time display in Cisco UCS Manager. If you do not configure both of these settings in Cisco UCS domains, the time does not display correctly.

Equipment Policies

Cisco UCS Central supports global equipment policies defining the global power allocation policy (based on policy driven chassis group cap or manual blade level cap methods), power policy (based on grid, n+1 or non-redundant methods), and SEL policy. Registered Cisco UCS domains choosing to define power management and power supply units globally within that client's policy resolution control will defer power management and power supply units to its registration with Cisco UCS Central.


Pools are collections of identities, or physical or logical resources, that are available in the system. All pools increase the flexibility of service profiles and allow you to centrally manage your system resources. Pools that are defined in Cisco UCS Central are called Global Pools and can be shared between Cisco UCS domains. Global Pools allow centralized ID management across Cisco UCS domains that are registered with Cisco UCS Central. By allocating ID pools from Cisco UCS Central to Cisco UCS Manager, you can track how and where the IDs are used, prevent conflicts, and be notified if a conflict occurs. Pools that are defined locally in Cisco UCS Manager are called Domain Pools.


The same ID can exist in different pools, but can be assigned only once. Two blocks in the same pool cannot have the same ID.

You can pool identifying information, such as MAC addresses, to preassign ranges for servers that host specific applications. For example, you can configure all database servers across Cisco UCS domains within the same range of MAC addresses, UUIDs, and WWNs.