Cisco UCS C-Series Rack Servers

Cisco UCS C420 M3 Rack Server Data Sheet

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Product Overview

The Cisco UCS® C420 M3 Rack Server (Figure 1) is a high-density, 4-socket, 2-rack-unit (2RU) rack server designed for computing, I/O, storage, and memory-intensive standalone applications. The Cisco UCS C420 M3 extends the capabilities of the Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) using Intel Xeon processor E5-4600 Series multicore processors to deliver increased performance and efficiency.

The Cisco UCS C420 M3 is part of the Cisco UCS solution, which combines rack and blade servers with networking and storage access into a single unified system. Centrally configured through unified, model-based management, Cisco UCS simplifies and accelerates deployment of enterprise-class applications running in bare-metal, virtualized, and cloud-computing environments.

Designed for enterprise-class performance and scalability, the Cisco UCS C420 M3 combines the advantages of 4‑socket computing with the cost-effective Intel Xeon processor E5-4600 product family for demanding virtualization, database, and high-end high-performance computing (HPC) workloads. The dense and expandable Cisco UCS C420 M3 is a balanced, high-performance platform that complements the Cisco UCS Rack Server portfolio. The 2RU Cisco UCS C420 M3 supports 48 DIMM slots, 16 disk drives, seven PCIe expansion slots, and four 1 Gigabit Ethernet LAN-on-motherboard (LOM) ports. It uses unique Cisco UCS and virtual interface card (VIC) technology and delivers one-wire participation in Cisco UCS domains. The Cisco UCS C420 M3 interfaces with Cisco UCS using another Cisco innovation: the Cisco UCS VIC 1225. The Cisco UCS VIC 1225 is a dual-port Enhanced Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP+) 10 Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)-capable PCI Express (PCIe) card designed exclusively for Cisco UCS C-Series Rack Servers. It incorporates Cisco’s next-generation converged network adapter (CNA), providing investment protection for feature releases. The card enables a policy-based, stateless, agile server infrastructure that can present up to 256 PCIe standards-compliant interfaces to the host that can be dynamically configured as either network interface cards (NICs) or host bus adapters (HBAs). In addition, the Cisco UCS VIC 1225 supports Cisco® Data Center Virtual Machine Fabric Extender (VM-FEX) technology, which extends the Cisco UCS fabric interconnect ports to virtual machines, simplifying server virtualization deployment.

Figure 1.      Cisco UCS C420 M3 Rack Server


The Cisco UCS C420 M3 Rack Server continues Cisco’s commitment to delivering uniquely differentiated value, fabric integration, and ease of management that is exceptional in the marketplace for enterprise-class, storage-intensive applications:



   Virtualization and consolidation

   Enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer resource management (CRM)

   High-end HPC

Cisco UCS Servers Change the Economics of the Data Center

IT infrastructure matters now more than ever, as organizations seek to achieve the full potential of infrastructure as a service (IaaS), bare metal, virtualized servers, and cloud computing. Cisco continues to lead in data center innovation with the introduction of new building blocks for Cisco UCS that extend its exceptional simplicity, agility, and efficiency (Figure 2), including innovations such as the Cisco UCS C420 M3 Rack Server.

Figure 2.      Cisco UCS Components

Cisco innovations, such as Cisco UCS Manager, allows administrators to create a software definition for a desired server (using Cisco service profiles and templates) and then instantiate that server and its I/O connectivity by associating a service profile with physical resources. This approach contrasts with the traditional method of configuring each system resource manually, one at a time, through individual element managers. Unlike with the products of other vendors, Cisco service profiles can be moved from rack server to rack or blade server, or between blade or rack servers in different chassis. In other words, Cisco UCS Manager and service profiles are form-factor agnostic. Other Cisco UCS building blocks include enhanced server I/O options and expanded Cisco UCS fabric interconnects that extend scalability and management simplicity for both blade and rack systems across bare-metal, virtualized, and cloud-computing environments. Cisco helps ensure that nearly all parts of Cisco UCS offer investment protection and are backward compatible. For example, fabric extenders can be upgraded using the same fabric interconnects and the same Cisco UCS VIC 1225. Fabric interconnect hardware can be upgraded independently of fabric extenders and blade chassis. Cisco continues to innovate in all these areas, helping ensure that both now and in the future, more powerful rack servers with larger, faster memory have adequate I/O bandwidth and computing power. Cisco completes this vision through continuous innovation in VIC, application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), fabric extender, fabric interconnect, blade server, blade chassis, and rack-server technologies and in the form-factor-agnostic Cisco UCS Manager software that ties all these ever-advancing hardware pieces together.

The Cisco UCS C420 M3 is also part of a large family of rack servers: the Cisco C-Series Rack Servers. Designed to operate both in standalone environments and as part of Cisco UCS, the Cisco UCS C-Series servers employ Cisco technology to help customers handle the most challenging workloads. The Cisco UCS C-Series complements a standards-based unified network fabric with Cisco Data Center VM-FEX virtualization support, Cisco UCS Manager Software, Cisco fabric extender and fabric interconnect architectures, and Cisco Extended Memory Technology. Again, Cisco is innovating across all these technologies. With Cisco UCS architectural advantages, software advances, continuous innovation, and unique blade server and chassis designs, Cisco UCS is the first truly unified data center platform. In addition, Cisco UCS can transform IT departments through policy-based automation and deep integration with familiar systems management and orchestration tools.

Features and Benefits

The Cisco UCS C420 M3 has a built-in entry point to unified computing. Table 1 summarizes the features and benefits of the Cisco UCS C420 M3 Rack Server.

Table 1.       Features and Benefits



10-Gbps unified network fabric

  Low-latency, lossless, 10-Gbps Ethernet and industry-standard FCoE and native Fibre Channel fabric
  Wire-once deployment model in which changing I/O configurations no longer means installing adapters and recabling racks and switches
  Fewer interface cards, cables, and upstream network ports to purchase, power, configure, and maintain

Virtualization optimization

  Cisco Data Center VM-FEX and Adapter FEX technologies, I/O virtualization, and Intel Xeon processor E5-4600 product family features, extending the network directly to virtual machines
  Consistent and scalable operation model
  Increased security and efficiency with reduced complexity

Unified management (when integrated into Cisco UCS)

  Entire solution managed as a single entity with Cisco UCS Manager, improving operation efficiency and flexibility
  Service profiles and templates that implement role- and policy-based management, enabling more effective use of skilled server, network, and storage administrators
  Automated provisioning and increased business agility, allowing data center managers to provision applications in minutes rather than days
  Capability to move virtual machines and their security features and policies from rack to rack or rack to blade or blade to blade

Intel Xeon processor E5‑4600 product family

  Automated energy efficiency reduces energy costs by automatically putting the processor and memory in the lowest available power state while still delivering the performance required and flexible virtualization technology that optimizes performance for virtualized environments, including processor support for migration and direct I/O
  Up to twice the performance for floating-point operations is offered through Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX), which provides new instructions that can significantly improve performance for applications that rely on floating-point or vector computations
  Cisco C-Series servers keep pace with Intel Xeon processor innovation by offering the latest processors, with increased processor frequency and improved security and availability features. With the increased performance provided by the Intel Xeon processor E5-4600 product family, Cisco UCS C-Series servers offer an improved price-to-performance ratio, making Cisco UCS servers among the best values in the industry
  Advanced reliability features, including Machine Check Architecture Recovery, automatically monitor, report, and recover from hardware errors to maintain data integrity and keep mission-critical services online
  Intel provides hardened protection for virtual and cloud environments. You can establish trusted pools of virtual resources with Intel Trusted Execution Technology (TXT). Intel TXT helps ensure that physical servers and hypervisors boot only into cryptographically verified known good states. It safeguards your business more effectively by protecting your platform from the insertion of malware during or prior to launch

High-capacity, flexible

internal storage

  Up to 16 front-accessible, hot-swappable, SFF SAS, SATA, or SSD drives for local storage, providing redundancy options and ease of serviceability
  Balanced performance and capacity to meet application needs:
   15,000-rpm SAS drives for highest performance
   10,000-rpm SAS drives for high performance and value
   7200-rpm SATA drives for high capacity and value

RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, and 60 support

A choice of RAID controllers to provide data protection for up to 16 SAS, SATA, or SSD drives in PCIe and mezzanine card form factors

Cisco UCS C-Series

Integrated Management

Controller (IMC)

  Web user interface for server management; remote keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM); virtual media; and administration
  Virtual media support for remote CD and DVD drives as if local
  Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) 2.0 support for out-of-band management through third-party enterprise management systems
  Command-line interface (CLI) for server management

Fast-memory support

48 DIMM slots supporting up to 1600 MHz of memory for optimal performance

Redundant fans and

power supplies

  Dual-redundant fans and power supplies for enterprise-class reliability and uptime
  Power efficiency through Cisco Common Form-Factor Platinum Power Supplies (1200 watts [W])

7 PCIe 3.0 slots

  Flexibility, increased performance, and compatibility with industry standards
  PCIe 3.0 slots, which are estimated to substantially increase the bandwidth over the previous generation of PCIe and offer more flexibility while maintaining compatibility with PCIe 2.0
  2 full-height, half-length, x16 horizontal slots on riser cards
  5 half-height, half-length, x8 slots on the motherboard

For more information, refer to the Cisco UCS C420 M3 Rack Server specifications sheet:

Integrated quad-port

Gigabit Ethernet

  Outstanding network I/O performance and increased network efficiency and flexibility
  Increased network availability when configured in failover configurations

Trusted Platform Module


  TPM is a chip (microcontroller) that can securely store artifacts used to authenticate the platform (server)
  These artifacts can include passwords, certificates, and encryption keys
  TPM can also be used to store platform measurements that help ensure that the platform remains trustworthy, helping ensure authentication and authorization

Tool-free access

Enhanced serviceability through tool-free access to all serviceable items, and color-coded indicators to guide users to hot-pluggable and serviceable items

Cisco Flexible Flash


  The server supports 1 internal Cisco FlexFlash drive (secure digital [SD] card)
  The SD card is preloaded with 4 virtual drives, which contain the Cisco Server Configuration Utility, the Cisco Host Upgrade Utility, the Cisco C-Series server drivers, and a blank virtual drive on which you can install an OS or a hypervisor

Product Specifications

Table 2 lists the specifications for the Cisco UCS C420 M3 server.

Table 2.       Product Specifications




  2 or 4 Intel Xeon processor E5-4600 series processors
  Processor choices listed in the Cisco UCS C420 M3 Rack Server specifications sheet:


48 slots for registered DIMMs (RDIMM) and load-reduced DIMMs (LRDDIMMs)


Intel Patsburg-A platform controller hub (PCH) chipset

PCIe expansion slots

7 PCIe expansion slots:

  2 full-height, half-length, x16 horizontal slots on riser cards
  5 half-height, half-length, x8 slots on the motherboard

For more information, refer to the Cisco UCS C420 M3 Rack Server specifications sheet:

RAID cards

Plug-in PCIe cards:

  LSI MegaRAID 9271CV-8i with supercap for on-board 1-GB flash-backed write cache backup, supporting up to 16 internal drives and RAID levels 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, and 60
  LSI MegaRAID 9286CV-8e with supercap for on-board 1-GB flash-backed write cache backup, supporting up to 8 external drives and RAID levels 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, and 60

Internal storage devices

Disk drives

  Drives are installed in configurable (1 or 2) drive bay modules that provide hot-pluggable front-panel access
  Each drive bay module can hold up to eight 2.5 x 0.55 in. (63.5 x 14 mm) SAS or SATA hard disk drives (HDDs) or solid state drives (SSDs), for a total of 16 drives

USB flash drive

  An optional 4- or 8-GB USB drive is available
  A 16-GB SD drive is available

Hard drives

Up to 16 front-accessible, hot-swappable, 2.5-inch SAS, SATA, or SSD drives

Hard disk options

2.5-inch SAS, SATA, or SSD drive options; drive choices are listed in the Cisco UCS C420 M3 Rack Server specifications sheet:

Cisco FlexFlash

The server supports 1 internal 16-GB Cisco FlexFlash drive (SD card). The SD card is preloaded with 4 virtual drives. The 4 virtual drives contain, respectively, the Cisco Server Configuration Utility, the Cisco Host Upgrade Utility, the Cisco C-Series server drivers set, and a blank virtual drive on which you can install an OS or a hypervisor

Internal USB

The server supports 1 internal USB flash drive

Cisco UCS C-Series IMC

  Integrated Emulex Pilot-3 Baseboard Management Controller (BMC)
  IPMI 2.0 compliant for management and control
  One 10/100/1000 Ethernet out-of-band management interface
  CLI and WebGUI management tool for automated, lights-out management

Front-panel connector

1 KVM console connector (supplies 2 USB, 1 VGA, and 1 serial connector)

Front-panel locator LED

Indicator to help direct administrators to specific servers in large data center environments

Additional rear connectors

Additional interfaces including a VGA video port, 3 USB 2.0 ports, 1 Gigabit Ethernet dedicated management port, quad 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports, and an RS-232 serial connector (on an I/O riser card) serial port

Physical dimensions
(H x W x D)

2RU: 3.4 x 18.9 x 31.5 in. (8.9 x 48.1 x 80 cm)

Temperature: Operating

32 to 95°F (0 to 35°C) (at sea level; no fan fail and no CPU throttling)

Temperature: Nonoperating

-40 to 158°F (-40 to 70°C)

Humidity: Operating

10 to 90% noncondensing

Humidity Nonoperating

5 to 93% noncondensing

Altitude: Operating

0 to 10,000 ft (0 to 3000m); maximum ambient temperature decreases by 33.8°F per 984.252 ft (1°C per 300m)

Altitude: Nonoperating

40,000 ft (12,000m)

Regulatory Standards

Table 3 lists regulatory standards compliance information.

Table 3.       Regulatory Standards Compliance: Safety and EMC


  UL 60950-1 No. 21CFR1040 Second Edition
  CAN/CSA-C22.2 No. 60950-1 Second Edition
  IEC 60950-1 Second Edition
  EN 60950-1 Second Edition
  IEC 60950-1 Second Edition
  AS/NZS 60950-1
  GB4943 2001

EMC: Emissions

  47CFR Part 15 (CFR 47) Class A
  AS/NZS CISPR22 Class A
  CISPR2 2 Class A
  EN55022 Class A
  ICES003 Class A
  VCCI Class A
  KN22 Class A
  CNS13438 Class A

EMC: Immunity


Ordering Information

For a complete list of part numbers, please refer to the corresponding specifications sheet:

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 Cisco UCS C-Series Rack Server solution. Cisco Unified Computing Services helps you quickly deploy the servers, optimize ongoing operations to better meet your business needs, and migrate to Cisco’s unified computing architecture. For more information, refer to

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