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Deployment and Operations of Cloud-Scale Storage with Cisco Intersight and SwiftStack White Paper

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Updated:January 21, 2020

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Updated:January 21, 2020


This document describes how to use the Cisco Intersight platform to build and manage a cloud-scale storage infrastructure with SwiftStack on the Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS®). This guide provides an overview of the design, deployment, and day-2 infrastructure lifecycle management of the SwiftStack software-defined storage solution using Cisco Intersight.

Executive summary

This document describes how to use the Cisco Intersight and Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS®) platforms to deploy and manage the day-2 infrastructure lifecycle of cloud-scale storage with SwiftStack. This design and deployment guide provides the framework for deploying a software-defined storage solution on three-node Cisco UCS C240 M5L Rack Servers and two Cisco UCS C220 M5 Rack Servers for Swift controllers. Cisco UCS provides computing, network, and storage components as a unified platform for software-defined storage solutions. Cisco Intersight is Cisco’s systems-management platform that delivers intuitive computing through cloud-powered intelligence. Cisco Intersight software provides infrastructure management for Cisco UCS and Cisco HyperFlex platforms.


Cisco Intersight

Cisco Intersight provides benefits for the entire infrastructure lifecycle. Our existing tools, Cisco UCS Manager, Cisco UCS Director, and Cisco Integrated Management Controller (IMC) focus on day-0 and day-1 activities addressing deployment and configuration. Cisco Intersight provides benefits for day 2 and beyond as well. This includes more than just monitoring and alerting; its integration with the Cisco® Technical Assistance Center (TAC), predictive analytics, and resource optimization addresses ongoing operations and systems upgrades.

Figure 1 shows a high-level view of the multiple management stages of Cisco Intersight.

Title: Cisco Intersight infrastructure lifecycle

Figure 1.            

Cisco Intersight infrastructure lifecycle

Figure 2 shows the Cisco Intersight consumption model.

Title: Cisco Intersight consumption model

Figure 2.            

Cisco Intersight consumption model

Data sheets about Cisco Intersight software and Cisco Intersight privacy can be found here:

    Cisco Intersight data sheet: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/servers-unified-computing/intersight/datasheet-c78-739433.html

    Cisco Intersight privacy data sheet: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/switches/asset-management-suite/datasheet-c78-741197.html

SwiftStack storage

Software-defined storage replaces traditional, purpose-built storage. It can be managed as a single platform and automates delivery of services based on built-in intelligence and best practices. The preconfigured, standardized storage components that are typical of today’s software-defined storage solutions deliver many of the same task-specific capabilities as standalone systems. They just use a different approach to get there: a faster, easier, more cost-effective approach that relies on software-based specialization and automation to meet different requirements quickly and economically. This approach leads to more consistent, predictable storage solutions that don’t require proprietary expertise to build or maintain them.

With SwiftStack software running on Cisco UCS C-Series Servers, you get hybrid cloud storage, giving you the freedom to move workloads between clouds with universal access to data across on-premises and public infrastructures. SwiftStack was built from day 1 to have the fundamental attributes of the cloud — such as having a single namespace across multiple geographic locations, policy-driven placement of data, and consumption-based pricing.

SwiftStack storage is optimized for unstructured data, which is growing at an ever-increasing rate inside most thriving enterprises. When media assets, scientific research data, and even backup archives live in a multitenant storage cloud, utilization of this valuable data increases while driving out unnecessary costs.

SwiftStack is a fully distributed storage system that horizontally scales to hold your data today and tomorrow. It scales linearly, allowing you to add additional capacity and performance independently . . . whatever your applications need.

While scaling storage is typically complex, it’s not with SwiftStack. No advanced configuration is required. It takes only a few simple commands to install software on a new Cisco UCS C240 M5L server and deploy it in the cluster. Load balancing capabilities are fully integrated, allowing applications to automatically take advantage of the distributed cluster.

Powered by OpenStack Swift at the core, with SwiftStack you get to utilize what drives some of the largest storage clouds and leverage the power of a vibrant community. SwiftStack is the lead contributor to a Swift project that has over 220 additional contributors worldwide. Having an engine backed by this community and deployed in demanding customer environments makes SwiftStack the most proven, enterprise-grade object storage software available.

Key SwiftStack features for an active archive:

    Starts as small as 150 TB of usable capacity, and scales to 100s of PB

    Spans multiple data centers while still presenting a single namespace

    Handles data according to defined policies that align to the needs of different applications

    Uses erasure coding and replicas in the same cluster to protect data

    Offers multitenant support with authentication via Active Directory, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), and Keystone

    Supports file protocols (Server Message Block [SMB], Network File System [NFS]) and object APIs (Amazon S3, Swift) simultaneously

    Automatically synchronizes to Google Cloud Storage and Amazon S3 with the Cloud Sync feature

    Encrypts data and metadata at rest

    Manages highly scalable storage infrastructure via a centralized out-of-band controller

    Ensures that all functionality touching data is open by leveraging an open-source core

    Optimizes TCO with pay-as-you-grow licensing with support and maintenance included

Cisco UCS

From the beginning, Cisco UCS was designed with the entire state of each server—identity, configuration, and connectivity—abstracted into software. This foundation makes the system 100 percent programmable and easy to adapt to the requirements of both modern workloads and traditional monolithic business applications. With a completely programmable system, your clients get the level of control they need to manage their workloads. Cisco Intersight software helps you to align the infrastructure precisely with the needs of the business. It enables administrators to automate configurations or tasks based on specific requirements that are tied to business objectives and application performance. Rather than having to be concerned with every detail of system configuration, intent-based management describes the accomplishment. The policy-based approach to management provides the simplicity, automation, and capabilities needed to increase productivity and support a fast-paced business environment.

Cisco UCS is the only system designed from the beginning to enable every aspect of system personality, configuration, and connectivity to be abstracted from the hardware and configured through software. This foundation makes Cisco UCS a fully composable infrastructure. With everything from firmware revisions to network profiles abstracted into more than 125 configuration variables that fully specify each server, the system is, essentially, stateless.

Cisco UCS can solve the problem of complex configurations and installations for software-defined storage infrastructure through several approaches:

    Cisco fabric interconnects plus Cisco UCS Manager

    Cisco UCS Unified API

    Cisco Intersight software

The first two approaches have been demonstrated in many solutions and documentation since Cisco UCS was released 10 years ago. The combination of Cisco Intersight, Cisco UCS, and SwiftStack storage provides a new approach that can deliver the same benefits, building a flexible and simplified storage solution. Cisco Intersight software helps you build policies for the overall storage infrastructure and summarize them in a server profile. The server profiles can then be assigned to servers to configure them to support the storage infrastructure. This approach can significantly reduce the amount of time needed to set up a software-defined storage environment, especially for larger environments.

SwiftStack software-defined storage solution with Cisco UCS and Cisco Intersight

Cisco Intersight provides a comprehensive architecture for deploying and managing SwiftStack software-defined storage on Cisco UCS C240 M5L servers. One of the primary design goals of this scale-out architecture was to deploy all elements on 25 Gigabit Ethernet networking from end to end, using Cisco Intersight. The whole solution uses the robust throughput and low latency provided by the Cisco Nexus® C93240YC-FX2 fixed-port switch. Additionally, software-defined storage takes advantage of the flexibility provided by the stateless nature of Cisco UCS server profiles within the Cisco Intersight solution.

This design uses the Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Switches in Cisco NX-OS Software standalone mode (NX-OS mode), but it provides investment protection through the capability to migrate to Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI) or higher network bandwidths. It also enables innovative analytics and visibility using the Cisco Tetration platform and automation, with in-device and off-device Python scripting and Cisco Open NX-OS, supporting DevOps tools (such as Chef, Puppet, and Ansible).

Design and deployment of SwiftStack software-defined storage infrastructure with Cisco Intersight on Cisco UCS C240 M5L Rack Server and C220 M5 as SwiftStack Controller to show how such a solution can be built. Figure 3 shows the design.

Title: Design of SwiftStack storage with Cisco UCS C240 M5L and Cisco Intersight software

Figure 3.            

Design of SwiftStack storage with Cisco UCS C240 M5L and Cisco Intersight software

    Cisco Intersight deployed as SasS (software as a service)

    SwiftStack Controller deployed on Cisco C220 M5

    SwiftStack storage nodes deployed on Cisco UCS C240 M5L

    Cisco UCS C240 M5L and C220 M5 rack server connected to Cisco Nexus C93240YC-FX2 with 25-Gbps line speed

Each Cisco UCS C240 M5L rack server is equipped with a 4th Generation Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Card (VIC) supporting dual 25-Gbps fabric connectivity. The Cisco UCS VICs eliminate the need for separate physical interface cards on each server for data and management connectivity. For this solution, the VIC is configured with four virtual Network Interface Cards (vNICs): two on each physical VIC uplink interface.

Validated computing design

The connectivity of the solution is based on 25 Gbps. All components are connected together through 25-Gbps Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP) cables. Between both Cisco Nexus C93240YC-FX2 Switches there are two 25-Gbps cables. Each Cisco UCS C240 M5L Rack Server is connected with two 25-Gbps cables to each Cisco Nexus switch.

Cisco UCS provides redundancy at the component and link levels and end-to-end path redundancy to the LAN. The Cisco UCS C240 M5L server is highly redundant, with redundant power supplies and fans. Each server is deployed using vNICs that provide redundant connectivity through Link Access Control Protocol (LACP) at the OS level.

Deploying Cisco Intersight and Cisco UCS for SwiftStack software-defined storage

The deployment of the whole solution consists of several main steps:

1.     Create an account in Cisco Intersight.

2.     Update firmware for rack servers.

3.     Configure server policies and profiles.

4.     Deploy server profiles.

5.     Install the operating system.

6.     Install drivers and verify hardware and software compatibility.

7.     Deploy SwiftStack software.

The configuration of the Cisco Integrated Management Controller (IMC) is not covered in this deployment guide, because the IMC is assumed to be already configured on each server.

Create an account in Cisco Intersight

You create an account in Cisco Intersight by claiming a Cisco IMC device. Before you claim the device, you should perform a preliminary check of the Cisco Intersight device connector in the IMC. The current device connector requirements are described in https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/unified_computing/Intersight/b_Cisco_Intersight_Appliance_Getting_Started_Guide/b_Cisco_Intersight_Appliance_Install_and_Upgrade_Guide_chapter_010.pdf and summarized in Table 1.

Table 1.        Device connector requirements


Minimum software version

Supported device connector version

Releases that include supported device connectors

Cisco UCS Manager



4.0(2a) or later

Cisco IMC Supervisor

For M5 servers: 3.1(3a)

For M4 servers: 3.0(4)


4.0(2c) or later

Cisco HyperFlex Connect and Cisco HyperFlex HX Data Platform



3.5(2a) or later

Follow the steps below to make sure that Cisco IMC contains the supported version of the device connector.

1.     To verify the current version of the device connector in the Cisco IMC, log on to the IMC, and from the top-left menu choose Admin > Device Connector. The red circle in Figure 4 shows the device connector version.

Title: Device Connector screen in Cisco IMC

Figure 4.            

Device Connector screen in Cisco IMC

2.     Make sure that Intersight Management is enabled.

3.     If the device connector does not meet the requirements, follow the steps described in https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/unified_computing/Intersight/b_Cisco_Intersight_Appliance_Getting_Started_Guide/b_Cisco_Intersight_Appliance_Install_and_Upgrade_Guide_chapter_010.pdf, page 1.

4.     Once everything is configured, you should get “Device ID” and “Claim Code.”

To create an account in Cisco Intersight, follow these steps:

1.     Log in to https://www.intersight.com/.

2.     Sign in with your Cisco ID.

Title: Cisco Intersight main screen

Figure 5.            

Cisco Intersight main screen

3.     Read the offer description and accept.

4.     Copy Device ID and Claim Code in the Intersight Account Creation wizard from Cisco IMC.

5.     Give a name to the account, and click on Create.

The device claim process could take a few minutes. If required, the device connector will automatically be upgraded as part of the process. Account creation and basic configuration are now finished.

6.     From the Cisco Intersight dashboard, choose Devices > Claim a New Device.

Title: Claiming a new device

Figure 6.            

Claiming a new device

7.     Copy the Device ID and Claim Code for the second UCS C240 M5L server, and click on Claim.

8.     Repeat this step for the third UCS C240 M5L server and for the C220 M5 servers.

After you claim all three devices, you should see the devices under the server tab on the left (Figure 7).

Title: Server summary

Figure 7.            

Server summary

Firmware upgrade

We recommend upgrading the firmware for the C240 M5L servers to the suggested release.

Firmware upgrade in Cisco Intersight is performed using a noninteractive Cisco Host Upgrade Utility (HUU) to upgrade the BIOS, Cisco IMC, PCI adapters, RAID controllers, and other firmware to compatible versions.

You can upgrade firmware either through network share or using utility storage. In this example, we will consider firmware upgrades through network share, utilizing NFS/CIFS/HTTP/HTTPS protocols. The HUU image file is mounted directly in Cisco IMC; it therefore requires uninterrupted connectivity between the remote file server and Cisco IMC. By default, the firmware upgrade happens on the next device reboot.

To upgrade the firmware, follow the steps below:

1.     Go to https://software.cisco.com/download/home and download the suggested release for C240 M5L and C220 M5 servers.

2.     Copy the firmware image to your local NFS/CIFS/HTTP share.

3.     Click on Servers in the left pane, choose one server by clicking on it then click on Upgrade Firmware.

Title: Upgrading firmware

Figure 8.            

Upgrading firmware

4.     Enter all the required details, and click on Upgrade Firmware. Choose “Reboot Immediately to Begin Upgrade” if you choose to reboot and upgrade immediately. (Figure 9).

Title: Upgrading firmware through network share

Figure 9.            

Upgrading firmware through network share

5.     Repeat for all other servers.

Configure policies for SwiftStack storage

You need to configure the necessary server policies listed below, and apply the policies to Service Profiles.

    Adapter Configuration

    Boot order

    Disk group

    Ethernet adapter

    Ethernet network

    Ethernet quality of service

    LAN connectivity

    Network Time Protocol


Log in to the Cisco Intersight and select Policies at the left and then Server Policies at the top.

To create a server policy, click on Create Server Policy (Figure 10).

Title: Server policies overview

Figure 10.         

Server policies overview

Policy type: Adapter Configuration

In the first task, you configure the adapter with the appropriate transmit and receive queues.

    Click on Adapter Configuration and then on Next.

a.   Type a name and click on Next.

b.   Click on Add VIC Adapter Configuration.

c.   Under PCI Slot, enter MLOM if you have a modular LAN-on-motherboard (mLOM) VIC adapter.

d.   Keep LLDP and Port Channel enabled.

e.   Disable Fibre Channel over Ethernet Initialization Protocol (FIP) and click on Add.

f.     Click on Add (Figure 11).

Title: Ethernet adapter configuration

Figure 11.         

Ethernet adapter configuration

Policy type: Boot order

The next configuration sets the boot order.

    Choose Policy Type > Boot Order and click on Next.

a.   Type a name and click on Next.

b.   Select Legacy and click on Add Boot Device.

c.   Type a device name.

d.   Type MRAID for the boot drives in slots 13 and 14 of the Cisco UCS C240 M5L configuration.

e.   Click on Add Boot Device again.

f.     Select Virtual Media.

g.   Type a device name.

h.   For Sub-Type, choose CIMC Mapped DVD and click on Create (Figure 12).

Title: Boot order configuration

Figure 12.         

Boot order configuration

Policy type: Disk group

SwiftStack requires only the boot disks in a RAID configuration. The data disks remain in a JBOD architecture.

    Create the disk group policy by selecting Disk Group and then click on Next.

a.   Type a name and click on Next.

b.   Select RAID Level 1.

c.   Under Slot Number, type 13 and 14.

d.   Enable “Set Disks in JBOD state to Unconfigured Good.”

e.   Click on Create (Figure 13).

Title: Disk group configuration for boot disks

Figure 13.         

Disk group configuration for boot disks

Policy type: Ethernet adapter

The next configuration contains the settings for the Ethernet adapter.

    Choose Policy Type > Ethernet Adapter and click on Next.

a.   Type a name and click on Next.

b.   For Interrupts, type 32.

c.   Type 8 for Receive Queue Count and type 4096 for Receive Ring Size.

d.   Type 8 for Transmit Queue Count and type 4096 for Transmit Ring Size.

e.   For Completion Queue Count, type 16.

f.    Leave everything else at the default settings and click on Create (Figure 14).

Title: Ethernet adapter policy configuration

Figure 14.         

Ethernet adapter policy configuration

Policy type: Ethernet network

Create four Ethernet Network policies following the details given in Table 2.

Table 2.        Network details

Network name










Choose Policy Type > Ethernet Network and click on Next.

a.   Type a name and click on Next.

b.   For VLAN Mode, choose Trunk.

c.   Type the number of your default VLAN and click on Create (Figure 15).

Repeat the above steps for all VLANs.

Title: Ethernet network policy configuration

Figure 15.         

Ethernet network policy configuration

Policy type: Ethernet quality of service

In the next task, create a policy for Quality of Service (QoS).

    Choose Policy Type > Ethernet QoS and click on Next.

a.   Type a name and click on Next.

b.   For MTU, Bytes, enter 9000 and click on Create (Figure 16).

Title: Policy configuration for Ethernet QoS

Figure 16.         

Policy configuration for Ethernet QoS

Policy type: LAN connectivity

The next configuration contains the LAN settings. We use four vNICs. The details are in Table 3.

Table 3.        Connectivity details



Network name


















    Choose Policy Type > LAN Configuration and click on Next.

a.   Type a name and click on Next.

b.   Open eth0 and configure the following:

    For Slot ID, type MLOM.

    Under Ethernet Network, select your previously configured policy.

    Under Ethernet QoS, select your previously configured policy.

    Under Ethernet Adapter, select your previously configured policy.

c.   Repeat the same steps for eth1 but change the uplink port to 1.

d.   Click on “Add vNIC” and for the new vNIC, edit the properties and add details for eth2.

e.   Repeat the above step for eth3 as well.

Title: LAN connectivity policy configuration for eth0

Figure 17.         

LAN connectivity policy configuration for eth0

Policy type: Network Time Protocol

In the next task, you create a policy for Network Time Protocol (NTP).

    Choose Policy Type > NTP and click on Next.

a.   Type a name and click on Next.

b.   Under NTP Server, type an IP address or DNS name and click on Create (Figure 18).

Title: NTP policy configuration

Figure 18.         

NTP policy configuration

Policy type: Storage

Now create the storage policy.

    Choose Policy Type > Storage and click on Next.

a.   Type a name and click on Next.

b.   Under Unused Disk State, choose JBOD.

c.   Click Add Virtual Drives and configure the following:

    Type a name for the virtual drive.

    Select the Disk group policy created earlier.

    For Access Policy, choose Read Write.

    For Write Policy, choose Write Back Good BBU.

    Select Expand to Available.

    Select Set as Boot Drive and click on Add.

d.   Click on Create (Figure 19).

Title: Virtual drive boot configuration

Figure 19.         

Virtual drive boot configuration

The formal process for creating the policies is now finished, and you can move on to the next step: the creation of the service profiles.

Create and deploy server profiles for scale-out storage

You have now created the policies. The next step is to create the service profiles for the Cisco UCS C240 M5L servers.

1.     Click on Service Profiles in the left pane and then click on Server Profiles at the top. Click on Create Server Profile.

a.   Type a name for the server profile and click on Next.

b.   Under Compute, select the Boot Order and NTP.

c.   Under Network, select the Adapter Configuration and LAN Connectivity policies.

d.   Under Storage, select the Storage policy and click on Next.

e.   Select the server to which you want to assign the profile and click on Next.

f.    Click on Deploy.

Title: Server profile for Cisco UCS C240 M5L server

Figure 20.         

Server profile for Cisco UCS C240 M5L server

You can monitor the server profile deployment process with the tasks buttons at the top.

2.     Repeat the same steps for the other two service profiles and deploy them on the remaining two Cisco UCS C240 M5L servers and C220 M5 servers.

The formal process of deploying service profiles is now finished, and you can install and configure the scale-out storage software on each of the three servers.

Installing the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system

The operating system we chose was Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5. This is based on supportability as per the Cisco UCS Hardware and Software Compatibility Matrix and support from SwiftStack.

You can install the operating system manually or through Cisco Intersight. However, this feature is in preview and is not meant for use in your production or commercial operating environment or with live data. Also note that when you install an operating system, any existing OS, system files, applications, and application data on the server are overwritten.

Adding an RHEL OS image

Before you install RHEL, you must add the operating system image source and the details of the file-share location and protocol (CIFS/NFS/HTTP/HTTPS) to the software repository. Follow the steps below to add an OS image to the software repository.

    An external configuration file to install RHEL is still not available through Cisco Intersight; therefore, you need to embed the configuration file along with the OS ISO.

More details on embedding can be found at https://access.redhat.com/solutions/60959.

    Copy the custom RHEL image you created to your local CIFS/NFS/HTTP share.

    From the left navigation panel, click Software Repository> Add Operating System Images or click on Add Operating System Image on the Operating System page in the OS Installation wizard.

Title: Adding a Red Hat Enterprise Linux image

Figure 21.         

Adding a Red Hat Enterprise Linux image

Installing the Operating System (OS)

1.     From the left navigation panel, click on Servers and select a server or multiple servers on which you want to install the OS.

2.     Select Install Operating System from the server actions menu from the ... (ellipsis) in the table view and continue with the wizard.

3.     Select the Operating System Image you created and click on Next (Figure 22).

Title: Installing the operating system

Figure 22.         

Installing the operating system

4.     In Configuration, select the “Embedded” option and click on Next. (Figure 23)

Title: Choosing a kickstart file embedded image

Figure 23.         

Choosing a kickstart file embedded image

5.     Server Configuration Utility is Optional.

6.     On the Summary page, verify the details about the Selected Servers you want to install the OS on, the Operating System Image, the Server Configuration Utility, and the Configuration source. Click on Install to begin the installation.

7.     After the installation begins, you can track the progress from Requests in the Cisco Intersight dashboard for Cisco/Custom-based installations. Click on a specific task on the Requests panel to view details about the installation process.

Compliance with Hardware Compatibility List

Cisco Intersight evaluates the compatibility of your Cisco UCS and HyperFlex systems to check if the hardware and software have been tested and validated by Cisco or Cisco partners. Cisco Intersight reports validation issues after checking the compatibility of the server hardware (server model, CPU, and server firmware version), server software (current OS vendor and OS version), and adapter compliance (adapter model, driver protocol, and driver version for the firmware).

You can manually determine the recommended hardware and firmware version for your server configuration with the Cisco UCS Hardware and Software Compatibility tool, which can be found at https://ucshcltool.cloudapps.cisco.com/public/.

Cisco Intersight provides an open-source tool called the OS Discovery Tool to collect OS and driver information to evaluate HCL compliance in Linux operating system flavors.

Title: Overview of the OS Discovery tool

Figure 24.         

Overview of the OS Discovery tool

Follow the steps below to evaluate compliance with HCL:

1.     Generate Cisco Intersight API keys.

    From Settings, click on the Settings menu.

    In the General page, click on API > API Keys > Generate API Key.

Title: Generating API keys

Figure 25.         

Generating API keys

    In the Generate New API Key screen, enter the purpose for the API Key, and click on Generate. The API Key ID and RSA Private Key are displayed.

    Save the private key information in a .pem file.

    Copy the API key.

2.     Set up any Linux virtual/physical machine that has access to the on-premises network. Install Python 2.7 on this control node.

3.     On this control node, clone the Intersight Python SDK repository.

git clone https://github.com/CiscoUcs/intersight-python.git

4.     Install Python SDK.

cd intersight-python

python setup.py install

5.     In intersight-python directory, go to os-discovery-tool.

6.     Edit the discovery_config_linux.json to include your intersight_api_key and path intersight_secret_file.

7.     Run the script below:

./get_linux_inv_to_intersight.py --log-inventory --configfile=discovery_config_linux.json

The script collects information about the operating system and drivers on all the nodes, and routes it to Cisco Intersight to help evaluate compliance with HCL.

8.     Once this is done, you should be able to see the HCL compliance status.

9.     On the Servers page, choose one of the servers and navigate to the HCL tab. You should be able to see the HCL status. (Figure 26)

Title: Hardware and software compatibility

Figure 26.         

Hardware and software compatibility

10.  For all the components, you can also get recommended versions and download the drivers by clicking on “Get Recommended Drivers”. (Figure 27)

Title: HCL recommendations

Figure 27.         

HCL recommendations

Deploy SwiftStack software

There are two components you need to install - SwiftStack controller and claiming storage nodes. This is followed by configuring the cluster. We deploy controllers on Cisco UCS C220 M5 and C240 M5L for storage nodes.

Detailed information on SwiftStack software deployment can be found in the Cisco UCS S3260 Storage Server with SwiftStack Software Defined Object Storage Validated Design and Deployment document at https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/unified_computing/ucs/UCS_CVDs/ucs_s3260_m5_swiftstack.html.

Detailed information for deploying SwiftStack storage can be found at https://www.swiftstack.com/docs/install/index.html.

Install on-premise controller software

The high-level steps are as follows:

1.     Download the Installer software from portal.swiftstack.com by navigating to the “Downloads” section.

2.     Run the SwiftStack controller installer shell script and complete the installation.

3.     Log in to the URL pointed out after the installation, with the user as localadmin and the default password.

4.     Enter the license key obtained from SwiftStack, and enter the hostname and a new password to proceed. You may leave the other values at default, and click on Submit.

5.     After relogging in with the new password, the system will prompt you to add the nodes and create the cluster.

Claiming storage nodes

Before running the installer software, make sure that Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates are installed. They will be copied from controller node to storage node.

1.     On the controller node:

[root@swiftcontroller ~]# cd /opt/ss/etc/

[root@swiftcontroller etc]# ls -l ssman.crt

-rw-r--r-- 1 root 668 Jun 6 11:16 ssman.crt

2.     Copy this certificate to all server nodes.

scp ssman.crt root@swiftstack-node:/etc/pki/ca-trust/source/anchors/

3.     Once copied, run update-ca-trust extract as root user on storage node.

[root@swiftstack-server28-2 .ssh]# update-ca-trust extract

[root@swiftstack-server28-2 .ssh]#

4.     Run the curl command on the storage node.

curl https://swiftcontroller.cisco.com:443/install | sudo bash

After completing this command, the system will print the claim URL.

Configure SwiftStack Controller for Nodes

1.     Claim Nodes: Run the Claim URL in a browser to claim the nodes.

2.     Create and configure the cluster.

Title: Create a new cluster

Figure 28.         

Create a new cluster

3.     Click on the Configure button and configure the basic settings as shown, and submit the changes.

Title: Basic cluster configuration

Figure 29.         

Basic cluster configuration

4.     Click on User and Accounts on the right side of the page to create Swift users. These are Swift Cluster accounts; a minimum of one account is needed for a cluster.

Title: Cluster navigation tabs

Figure 30.         

Cluster navigation tabs

5.     Click on Nodes on the left pane and ingest the nodes.

6.     Confirm the networks when prompted by the system for outward-facing, cluster, and replication networks.

7.     Click on Setup for each node.

a.   Select all the disks and format the drives.

b.   Select the SSD drive. Click on Add Policies, and select Account and Container, as shown below (Figure 31).

Title: Add the policies

Figure 31.         

Add the policies

c.   Select HDD disks (12 disks), click on Add Policies, and select Standard-Replica.

8.     Once completed, validate that the policies are displayed correctly on their respective disks, as shown in Figure 32.

Title: Summary of disks and associated policies

Figure 32.         

Summary of disks and associated policies

9.     Enable the node.

10.  This completes the setup of one node. Repeat this procedure for all the storage nodes.

Deploy the configuration

Go to Home > Clusters > Deploy, and click on Deploy Config to Swift Nodes.

Title: Deploy the configuration

Figure 33.         

Deploy the configuration


The Cisco Intersight Software-as-Service (SaaS) platform transforms the way that customers deploy and manage Cisco UCS and Cisco HyperFlex systems. This platform offers a more intelligent level of management that enables IT organizations to analyze, simplify, and automate their environments in ways that were not possible with prior generations of tools. It offers an excellent way to build and lifecycle management of SwiftStack scale-out storage environments with Cisco UCS servers connected to a switched environment.

For more information

For additional information, see the following:

    Cisco Intersight online help: https://intersight.com/help/home

    Cisco Intersight data sheet: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/servers-unified-computing/intersight/datasheet-c78-739433.html#FlexibleDeploymentOptions

    Cisco UCS S3260 Storage Server with SwiftStack Software Defined Object Storage Design and Deployment Guide: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/unified_computing/ucs/UCS_CVDs/ciscoswiftstack_ucs3260ss_deploy.html#_Toc490645500

About the authors

Paniraja Koppa, Cisco Systems, Inc.

Paniraja Koppa is a technical marketing engineer for Cisco UCS solutions. He has more than 13 years of experience, with a primary focus on data center technologies such as Cisco UCS, storage, operating systems, automation, virtualization, and cloud. In his current role at Cisco, he works on best practices, optimization, automation, and performance tuning of software-defined storage on Cisco UCS platforms. Prior to this, he led quality-assurance efforts on the firmware and software features of four new virtual adapter cards for Cisco UCS. He also worked as a customer-support engineer and advocate in the data center virtualization space.


For their support and contribution to the design, validation, and creation of this Cisco Validated Design, the authors would like to thank:

    David Soper, Cisco Systems, Inc.

    Oliver Walsdorf, Cisco Systems, Inc.

    Chris O'Brien, Cisco Systems, Inc.

    Jawwad Memon, Cisco Systems, Inc.

    Anup Paul, SwiftStack

    Hiren Chandramani, SwiftStack

    Chris Lo, SwiftStack

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