Industry trends indicate a vast data center transformation toward shared infrastructure and cloud computing. Business agility requires application agility, so IT teams need to provision applications in hours instead of months. Resources need to scale up (or down) in minutes, not hours.
Cisco and NetApp have developed the solution called FlexPod Datacenter with Cisco UCS Unified Software Release and VMware vSphere 6.0 U1 to simplify application deployments and accelerate productivity. The Unified Software release is not a product, but a term to describe the 3.1.x release as a universal software distribution for all current Cisco UCS form factors. This FlexPod eliminates complexity making room for better, faster IT service, increased productivity and innovation across the business.
New to this design is the Cisco UCS 3rd Generation Fabric Interconnect providing a future proof 40Gbps connectivity compute, storage, and the network. Within this design and accompanying deployment guide, the 3rd Generation Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect is an available option with continued design support of the 6200 series Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect.
The audience for this document includes, but is not limited to; sales engineers, field consultants, professional services, IT managers, partner engineers, and customers who want to take advantage of an infrastructure built to deliver IT efficiency and enable IT innovation.
The following design elements distinguish this version of FlexPod from previous models:
· New release of Cisco UCS Manager (UCSM) 3.1(1h) that provides consolidated support of all current Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect models (6200, 6300, 6324(UCS Mini)), 2200/2300 series IOM, Cisco UCS B-Series, and Cisco UCS C-Series
· Introduction of the Cisco UCS 6300 series Fabric Interconnect and 2304 IOM providing 40Gbps capability to the Cisco UCS domain
· Cisco UCS B-Series and C-Series with availability to the Intel E5-2600 v4 Series Processors
· VMware vSphere 6.0 U1b
· NetApp All Flash FAS 8040 with Clustered Data ONTAP 8.3.2
Cisco and NetApp have carefully validated and verified the FlexPod solution architecture and its many use cases while creating a portfolio of detailed documentation, information, and references to assist customers in transforming their data centers to this shared infrastructure model. This portfolio includes, but is not limited to the following items:
· Best practice architectural design
· Workload sizing and scaling guidance
· Implementation and deployment instructions
· Technical specifications (rules for what is a FlexPod configuration)
· Frequently asked questions and answers (FAQs)
· Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) and NetApp Validated Architectures (NVAs) covering a variety of use cases
Cisco and NetApp have also built a robust and experienced support team focused on FlexPod solutions, from customer account and technical sales representatives to professional services and technical support engineers. The support alliance between NetApp and Cisco gives customers and channel services partners direct access to technical experts who collaborate with cross vendors and have access to shared lab resources to resolve potential issues.
FlexPod supports tight integration with virtualized and cloud infrastructures, making it the logical choice for long-term investment. FlexPod also provides a uniform approach to IT architecture, offering a well-characterized and documented shared pool of resources for application workloads. FlexPod delivers operational efficiency and consistency with the versatility to meet a variety of SLAs and IT initiatives, including:
· Application rollouts or application migrations
· Business continuity and disaster recovery
· Desktop virtualization
· Cloud delivery models (public, private, hybrid) and service models (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS)
· Asset consolidation and virtualization
FlexPod is a best practice datacenter architecture that includes three components:
· Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS)
· Cisco Nexus switches
· NetApp All Flash FAS (AFF) systems
Figure 1 FlexPod Component Families
These components are connected and configured according to best practices of both Cisco and NetApp to provide the ideal platform for running a variety of enterprise workloads with confidence. FlexPod can scale up for greater performance and capacity (adding compute, network, or storage resources individually as needed), or it can scale out for environments that require multiple consistent deployments (rolling out additional FlexPod stacks). The reference architecture covered in this document leverages the Cisco Nexus 9000 for the switching element.
One of the key benefits of FlexPod is the ability to maintain consistency at scale. Each of the component families shown (Cisco UCS, Cisco Nexus, and NetApp AFF) offers platform and resource options to scale the infrastructure up or down, while supporting the same features and functionality that are required under the configuration and connectivity best practices of FlexPod.
FlexPod addresses four primary design principles: availability, scalability, flexibility, and manageability. These architecture goals are as follows:
· Availability. Makes sure that services are accessible and ready to use for the applications.
· Scalability. Addresses increasing demands with appropriate resources.
· Flexibility. Provides new services or recovers resources without requiring infrastructure modification.
· Manageability. Facilitates efficient infrastructure operations through open standards and APIs.
Note: Performance is a key design criterion that is not directly addressed in this document. It has been addressed in other collateral, benchmarking, and solution testing efforts; this design guide validates the functionality.
FlexPod Datacenter with Cisco UCS Unified Software release and VMware vSphere 6.0 U1 is designed to be fully redundant in the compute, network, and storage layers. There is no single point of failure from a device or traffic path perspective. Figure 2 illustrates a FlexPod topology using the Cisco UCS 6300 Fabric Interconnect top-of-rack model while Figure 3 shows the same network and storage elements paired with the Cisco UCS 6200 series Fabric Interconnects.
The Cisco UCS 6300 Fabric Interconnect FlexPod Datacenter model enables a high-performance, low latency and lossless fabric supporting application with these elevated requirements. The 40GbE compute and network fabric with optional4/8/16G FC support increase the overall capacity of the system while maintaining the uniform and resilient design of the FlexPod solution. The remainder of this section describes the network, compute and storage connections and enabled features.
Figure 2 FlexPod Datacenter Design with 6300 Fabric Interconnect
Figure 3 FlexPod Datacenter Design with 6200 Fabric Interconnect
Network: Link aggregation technologies play an important role in this FlexPod design, providing improved aggregate bandwidth and link resiliency across the solution stack. The NetApp storage controllers, Cisco Unified Computing System, and Cisco Nexus 9000 platforms support active port channeling using 802.3ad standard Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP). Port channeling is a link aggregation technique offering link fault tolerance and traffic distribution (load balancing) for improved aggregate bandwidth across member ports. In addition, the Cisco Nexus 9000 series features virtual Port Channel (vPC) capabilities. vPC allows links that are physically connected to two different Cisco Nexus 9000 Series devices to appear as a single "logical" port channel to a third device, essentially offering device fault tolerance. The Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnects and NetApp FAS storage controllers benefit from the Cisco Nexus vPC abstraction, gaining link and device resiliency as well as full utilization of a non-blocking Ethernet fabric.
Compute: Each Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect (FI) is connected to the Cisco Nexus 9000. Figure 2 illustrates the use of vPC enabled 40GbE uplinks between the Cisco Nexus 9000 switches and Cisco UCS 6300 Fabric Interconnects. Figure 3 shows vPCs configured with 10GbE uplinks to a pair of Cisco Nexus 9000 switches from a Cisco UCS 6200 FI. Note that additional ports can be easily added to the design for increased bandwidth, redundancy and workload distribution. The Cisco UCS unified software release 3.1 provides a common policy feature set that can be readily applied to the appropriate Fabric Interconnect platform based on the organizations workload requirements.
Figure 4 each Cisco UCS 5108 chassis is connected to the FIs using a pair of ports from each IO Module for a combined minimum 160G uplink for the Cisco UCS 6300 FI. Current FlexPod design supports Cisco UCS C-Series connectivity both for direct attaching the Cisco UCS C-Series servers into the FIs or by connecting Cisco UCS C-Series to an optional Cisco Nexus 2232 Fabric Extender (not shown) hanging off of the Cisco UCS FIs. FlexPod Datacenter designs mandate Cisco UCS C-Series management using Cisco UCS Manager to provide a uniform look and feel across blade and rack mount servers.
Figure 4 Compute Connectivity (6300)
In Figure 5 shown below, the 6248UP connects to the Cisco UCS B-Series and C-Series servers through 10Gb converged traffic. In the Cisco UCS 5108 chassis FI connects through IO Module using a pair of ports for a combined minimum 40G uplink to the chassis.
Figure 5 Compute Connectivity (6200)
Storage: The FlexPod Datacenter with Cisco UCS Unified Software Release and VMware vSphere 6.0 U1 design is an end-to-end IP-based storage solution that supports SAN access by using iSCSI. Additionally, this FlexPod design is extended for SAN boot by using Fibre Channel (FC). FC access is provided by directly connecting the NetApp FAS controller to the Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnects as shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6 FC Connectivity - Direct Attached SAN (6300)
The 6248UP can be connected in the same manner as the 6300 based Fabric Interconnect as shown in Figure 7, with the primary difference being the 8Gb FC instead of the 16Gb FC supported by the 6332-16UP.
Figure 7 FC Connectivity – Direct Attached SAN (6200)
Both Figure 6 and Figure 7 show the initial storage configuration of this solution as a two-node high availability (HA) pair running clustered Data ONTAP in a switchless cluster configuration. Storage system scalability is easily achieved by adding storage capacity (disks and shelves) to an existing HA pair, or by adding more HA pairs to the cluster or storage domain.
Note: For SAN environments, NetApp clustered Data ONTAP allows up to 4 HA pairs or 8 nodes. For NAS environments, it allows 12 HA pairs or 24 nodes to form a logical entity.
The HA interconnect allows each node in an HA pair to assume control of its partner's storage (disks and shelves) directly. The local physical HA storage failover capability does not extend beyond the HA pair. Furthermore, a cluster of nodes does not have to include similar hardware. Rather, individual nodes in an HA pair are configured alike, allowing customers to scale as needed, as they bring additional HA pairs into the larger cluster.
For more information about the virtual design of the environment that consists of VMware vSphere, Cisco Nexus 1000v virtual distributed switching, and NetApp storage controllers, refer to the Solution Design section below.
The following components were used to validate the FlexPod Datacenter with Cisco UCS 6300 Fabric Interconnect and VMware vSphere 6.0 U1 design:
· Cisco Unified Computing System
· Cisco Nexus 9000 Standalone Switch
· NetApp All-Flash FAS Unified Storage
The Cisco Unified Computing System is a next-generation solution for blade and rack server computing. The system integrates a low-latency; lossless 40 Gigabit Ethernet unified network fabric with enterprise-class, x86-architecture servers. The system is an integrated, scalable, multi-chassis platform in which all resources participate in a unified management domain. The Cisco Unified Computing System accelerates the delivery of new services simply, reliably, and securely through end-to-end provisioning and migration support for both virtualized and non-virtualized systems. The Cisco Unified Computing System consists of the following components:
· Compute - The system is based on an entirely new class of computing system that incorporates rack mount and blade servers based on Intel Xeon E5 2600 v4 Series Processors.
· Network - The system is integrated onto a low-latency, lossless, 40-Gbps unified network fabric. This network foundation consolidates LANs, SANs, and high-performance computing networks which are separate networks today. Cisco security, policy enforcement, and diagnostic features are now extended into virtualized environments to better support changing business and IT requirements.
· Storage access - The system provides consolidated access to both SAN storage and Network Attached Storage (NAS) over the unified fabric. By unifying the storage access the Cisco Unified Computing System can access storage over Ethernet (SMB 3.0 or iSCSI), Fibre Channel, and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). This provides customers with storage choices and investment protection. In addition, the server administrators can pre-assign storage-access policies to storage resources, for simplified storage connectivity and management leading to increased productivity.
· Management - the system uniquely integrates all system components to enable the entire solution to be managed as a single entity by the Cisco UCS Manager. The Cisco UCS Manager has an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI), a command-line interface (CLI), and a powerful scripting library module for Microsoft PowerShell built on a robust application programming interface (API) to manage all system configuration and operations.
Cisco Unified Computing System fuses access layer networking and servers. This high-performance, next-generation server system provides a datacenter with a high degree of workload agility and scalability.
The Cisco UCS Fabric interconnects provide a single point for connectivity and management for the entire system. Typically deployed as an active-active pair, the system’s fabric interconnects integrate all components into a single, highly-available management domain controlled by Cisco UCS Manager. The fabric interconnects manage all I/O efficiently and securely at a single point, resulting in deterministic I/O latency regardless of a server or virtual machine’s topological location in the system.
Fabric Interconnect provides both network connectivity and management capabilities for the Cisco UCS system. IOM modules in the blade chassis support power supply, along with fan and blade management. They also support port channeling and, thus, better use of bandwidth. The IOMs support virtualization-aware networking in conjunction with the Fabric Interconnects and Cisco Virtual Interface Cards (VIC).
FI 6300 Series and IOM 2304 provide a few key advantages over the existing products. FI 6300 Series and IOM 2304 support 40GbE / FCoE port connectivity that enables an end-to-end 40GbE / FCoE solution. Unified ports support 4/8/16G FC ports for higher density connectivity to SAN ports.
Table 1 The key differences between FI 6200 series and FI 6300 series
FI 6200 Series
FI 6300 Series
Max 10G ports
96* + 2**
72* + 16
Max 40G ports
Max unified ports
Max FC ports
48 x 2/4/8G FC
96 x 2/4/8G FC
16 x 4/8/16G FC
Fabric Interconnect 6300 Series are new 40G Fabric Interconnect products that double the switching capacity of 6200 Series data center fabric to improve workload density. Two 6300 Fabric Interconnect models have been introduced supporting Ethernet, FCoE, and FC ports.
FI 6332 is a one-rack-unit (1RU) 40 Gigabit Ethernet, and FCoE switch offering up to 2.56 Tbps throughput and up to 32 ports. The switch has 32 40Gbps fixed Ethernet, and FCoE ports. This Fabric Interconnect is targeted for IP storage deployments requiring high performance 40G FCoE.
Figure 8 Cisco 6332 Interconnect – Front and Rear
FI 6332-16UP is a one-rack-unit (1RU) 40 Gigabit Ethernet/FCoE switch and 1/10 Gigabit Ethernet, FCoE and Fibre Channel switch offering up to 2.24 Tbps throughput and up to 40 ports. The switch has 24 40Gbps fixed Ethernet/FCoE ports and 16 1/10Gbps Ethernet/FCoE or 4/8/16G Fibre Channel ports. This Fabric Interconnect is targeted for FC storage deployments requiring high performance 16G FC connectivity.
Figure 9 Cisco 6332-16UP Fabric Interconnect – Front and Rear
For more information, see: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/servers-unified-computing/ucs-6300-series-fabric-interconnects/index.html
The Cisco UCS Fabric interconnects provide a single point for connectivity and management for the entire system. Typically deployed as an active-active pair, the system’s fabric interconnects integrate all components into a single, highly-available management domain controlled by Cisco UCS Manager. The Cisco UCS 6248UP is a 1-RU Fabric Interconnect that features up to 48 universal ports that can support Ethernet, Fiber Channel over Ethernet, or native Fiber Channel connectivity for connecting to blade, rack servers, as well as direct attached storage resources.
Figure 10 Cisco 6248UP Fabric Interconnect – Front and Rear
For more information, see: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/servers-unified-computing/ucs-6200-series-fabric-interconnects/index.html
The Cisco UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis is a crucial building block of the Cisco Unified Computing System, delivering a scalable and flexible blade server chassis. The Cisco UCS 5108 Blade Server Chassis is six rack units (6RU) high and can mount in an industry-standard 19-inch rack. A single chassis can house up to eight half-width Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers and can accommodate both half-width and full-width blade form factors.
For more information, see: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/servers-unified-computing/ucs-5100-series-blade-server-chassis/index.html
Figure 11 Cisco UCS 5108 Blade Chassis
The Cisco UCS 2304 Fabric Extender has four 40 Gigabit Ethernet, FCoE-capable, Quad Small Form-Factor Plugable (QSFP+) ports that connect the blade chassis to the fabric interconnect. Each Cisco UCS 2304 has eight 40 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 320 Gbps of I/O to the chassis.
Figure 12 Cisco UCS 2304 Fabric Extender(IOM)
The Cisco UCS 2204XP Fabric Extender has four 10 Gigabit Ethernet, FCoE-capable, SFP+ ports that connect the blade chassis to the fabric interconnect. Each Cisco UCS 2204XP has sixteen 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports connected through the mid-plane 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.
The Cisco UCS 2208XP Fabric Extender has eight 10 Gigabit Ethernet, FCoE-capable, Enhanced Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP+) ports that connect the blade chassis to the fabric interconnect. Each Cisco UCS 2208XP has thirty-two 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 160 Gbps of I/O to the chassis.
Figure 13 Cisco UCS 2204XP/2208XP Fabric Extender
Cisco UCS 2204XP FEX
Cisco UCS 2208XP FEX
The enterprise-class Cisco UCS B200 M4 Blade Server extends the capabilities of Cisco’s Unified Computing System portfolio in a half-width blade form factor. The Cisco UCS B200 M4 uses the power of the latest Intel® Xeon® E5-2600 v4 Series processor family CPUs with up to 768 GB of RAM (using 32 GB DIMMs), two solid-state drives (SSDs) or hard disk drives (HDDs), and up to 80 Gbps throughput connectivity.
Figure 14 Cisco UCS B200 M4 Blade Server
For more information, see: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/servers-unified-computing/ucs-b200-m4-blade-server/index.html
The Cisco UCS C220 M4 Rack Server presents a 1RU rackmount option to the Cisco UCS B200 M4. The Cisco UCS C220 M4 also leverages the power of the latest Intel® Xeon® E5-2600 v4 Series processor family CPUs with up to 768 GB of RAM (using 32 GB DIMMs), four large form-factor (LFF) or eight small form-factor (SFF) solid-state drives (SSDs) or hard disk drives (HDDs), and up to 240 Gbps throughput connectivity (with multiple VIC).
The Cisco UCS C220 M4 Rack Server can be standalone or UCS-managed by the FI. It supports one mLOM connector for Cisco’s VIC 1387 or 1227 adapter and up to two PCIe adapters for Cisco’s VIC 1385, 1285, or 1225 models, which all provide Ethernet and FCoE.
Note: When using PCIe adapters in conjunction with mLOM adapters, single wire management will configure the mLOM adapter and ignore the PCIe adapter(s).
Figure 15 Cisco UCS C220 M4 Rack Server
For more information, see: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/support/servers-unified-computing/ucs-c220-m4-rack-server/model.html
The Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Card (VIC) 1340 is a 2-port 40-Gbps Ethernet or dual 4 x 10-Gbps Ethernet, FCoE-capable modular LAN on motherboard (mLOM) designed exclusively for the M4 generation of Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers.
Figure 16 Cisco VIC 1340
For more information, see: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/interfaces-modules/ucs-virtual-interface-card-1340/index.html
The Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Card (VIC) 1227 is a 2-port 10-Gbps Ethernet, FCoE-capable modular LAN on motherboard (mLOM) designed for the M4 generation of Cisco UCS C-Series Blade Servers.
Figure 17 Cisco VIC 1227
For more information, see: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/interfaces-modules/ucs-virtual-interface-card-1227/index.html
The Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Card (VIC) 1387 is a 2-port 40-Gbps Ethernet or dual 4 x 10-Gbps Ethernet, FCoE-capable modular LAN on motherboard (mLOM) designed for the M4 generation of Cisco UCS C-Series Blade Servers.
Figure 18 Cisco VIC 1387
For more information, see: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/interfaces-modules/ucs-virtual-interface-card-1387/index.html
Cisco’s Unified Compute System is revolutionizing the way servers are managed in data-center. Following are the unique differentiators of Cisco Unified Computing System and Cisco UCS Manager.
· Embedded Management — In Cisco UCS, the servers are managed by the embedded firmware in the Fabric Interconnects, eliminating need for any external physical or virtual devices to manage the servers.
· Unified Fabric — In Cisco UCS, from blade server chassis or rack servers to FI, there is a single Ethernet cable used for LAN, SAN and management traffic. This converged I/O results in reduced cables, SFPs and adapters – reducing capital and operational expenses of overall solution.
· Auto Discovery — By simply inserting the blade server in the chassis or connecting rack server to the fabric interconnect, discovery and inventory of compute resource occurs automatically without any management intervention. The combination of unified fabric and auto-discovery enables the wire-once architecture of UCS, where compute capability of UCS can be extended easily while keeping the existing external connectivity to LAN, SAN and management networks.
· Policy Based Resource Classification — Once a compute resource is discovered by UCS Manager, it can be automatically classified to a given resource pool based on policies defined. This capability is useful in multi-tenant cloud computing.
· Combined Rack and Blade Server Management — Cisco UCS Manager can manage Cisco UCS B-series blade servers and C-series rack server under the same Cisco UCS domain. This feature, along with stateless computing makes compute resources truly hardware form factor agnostic.
· Model based Management Architecture — Cisco UCS Manager architecture and management database is model based and data driven. An open XML API is provided to operate on the management model. This enables easy and scalable integration of Cisco UCS Manager with other management systems.
· Policies, Pools, Templates — The management approach in Cisco UCS Manager is based on defining policies, pools and templates, instead of cluttered configuration, which enables a simple, loosely coupled, data driven approach in managing compute, network and storage resources.
· Loose Referential Integrity — In Cisco UCS Manager, a service profile, port profile or policies can refer to other policies or logical resources with loose referential integrity. A referred policy cannot exist at the time of authoring the referring policy or a referred policy can be deleted even though other policies are referring to it. This provides different subject matter experts to work independently from each-other. This provides great flexibility where different experts from different domains, such as network, storage, security, server and virtualization work together to accomplish a complex task.
· Policy Resolution — In Cisco UCS Manager, a tree structure of organizational unit hierarchy can be created that mimics the real life tenants and/or organization relationships. Various policies, pools and templates can be defined at different levels of organization hierarchy. A policy referring to another policy by name is resolved in the organization hierarchy with closest policy match. If no policy with specific name is found in the hierarchy of the root organization, then special policy named “default” is searched. This policy resolution practice enables automation friendly management APIs and provides great flexibility to owners of different organizations.
· Service Profiles and Stateless Computing — A service profile is a logical representation of a server, carrying its various identities and policies. This logical server can be assigned to any physical compute resource as far as it meets the resource requirements. Stateless computing enables procurement of a server within minutes, which used to take days in legacy server management systems.
· Built-in Multi-Tenancy Support — The combination of policies, pools and templates, loose referential integrity, policy resolution in organization hierarchy and a service profiles based approach to compute resources makes UCS Manager inherently friendly to multi-tenant environment typically observed in private and public clouds.
· Extended Memory — The enterprise-class Cisco UCS B200 M4 blade server extends the capabilities of Cisco’s Unified Computing System portfolio in a half-width blade form factor. The Cisco UCS B200 M4 harnesses the power of the latest Intel® Xeon® E5-2600 v4 Series processor family CPUs with up to 1536 GB of RAM (using 64 GB DIMMs) – allowing huge VM to physical server ratio required in many deployments, or allowing large memory operations required by certain architectures like big data.
· Virtualization Aware Network — Cisco VM-FEX technology makes the access network layer aware about host virtualization. This prevents domain pollution of compute and network domains with virtualization when virtual network is managed by port-profiles defined by the network administrators’ team. VM-FEX also off-loads hypervisor CPU by performing switching in the hardware, thus allowing hypervisor CPU to do more virtualization related tasks. VM-FEX technology is well integrated with VMware vCenter, Linux KVM and Hyper-V SR-IOV to simplify cloud management.
· Simplified QoS — Even though Fibre Channel and Ethernet are converged in Cisco UCS fabric, built-in support for QoS and lossless Ethernet makes it seamless. Network Quality of Service (QoS) is simplified in Cisco UCS Manager by representing all system classes in one GUI panel.
The following new features of Cisco UCS unified software release have been incorporated into this design.
· New 40Gbps capable Fabric Interconnect and IOM
Cisco UCS chassis, rack mount servers and upstream Nexus switches can be connected via 40Gbps ports available on the 6332 and 6332-16UP Fabric Interconnects. Continued support for the 6200 series Fabric Interconnects.
· Cisco UCS vMedia client for vSphere installation
Until recently, mapping and using external media within UCS was a manual process that typically required launching the Java-based KVM and mapping an external ISO image file as a CD. With the release of UCS Manager version 2.2(2c) and above, the new “vMedia” features allow for programmatic mapping/unmapping of external image files.
· Cisco Nexus 1000v vtracker
The vTracker feature on the Cisco Nexus 1000V switch provides information about the virtual network environment. Once you enable vTracker, it becomes aware of all the modules and interfaces that are connected with the switch. vTracker provides various views that are based on the data sourced from the vCenter, the Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP), and other related systems connected with the virtual switch. You can use vTracker to troubleshoot, monitor, and maintain the systems.
· Firmware Auto Sync Server policy
You can use the Firmware Auto Sync Server policy in Cisco UCS Manager to determine when and how firmware versions on recently discovered servers must be upgraded. With this policy, you can upgrade the firmware versions of recently discovered unassociated servers to match the firmware version defined in the default host firmware pack. In addition, you can determine if the firmware upgrade process should run immediately after the server is discovered or run at a later time.
· Policy-Based Port Error Handling
If Cisco UCS Manager detects any errors on active network interface ports, and if the Error-disable setting is enabled, Cisco UCS Manager automatically disables the respective FI port that is connected to the network interface port that had errors.
When a FI port is error disabled, it is effectively shut down and no traffic is sent or received on that port.
The Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Switches offer both modular and fixed 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet switch configurations with scalability up to 60 Tbps of non-blocking performance with less than five-microsecond latency, 2304 10 Gbps or 576 40 Gbps non-blocking Layer 2 and Layer 3 Ethernet ports and wire speed VXLAN gateway, bridging, and routing support.
FlexPod and Cisco 9000 Modes of Operation
The Cisco Nexus 9000 Series delivers proven high performance and density, low latency, and exceptional power efficiency in a broad range of compact form factors. Operating in Cisco NX-OS Software mode or in Application Centric Infrastructure(ACI) mode, these switches address traditional or fully automated data center deployments.
The 9000 Series offers modular 9500 switches and fixed 9300 and 9200 switches with 1/10/25/50/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet switch configurations. 9200 switches are optimized for high performance and density in NX-OS mode operations. The 9500 and 9300 are optimized to deliver increased operation flexibility in:
· NX-OS mode for traditional architectures and consistency across Nexus switches, or
· ACI mode to take advantage of ACI's policy-driven services and infrastructure automation features
Cisco Nexus 9000 NX-OS stand-alone mode FlexPod design consists of a single pair of Nexus 9000 top of rack switches. The traditional deployment model delivers:
· High performance and scalability with L2 and L3 support per port
· Virtual Extensible LAN (VXLAN) support at line rate
· Hardware and software high availability with
- Cisco In-Service Software Upgrade (ISSU) promotes high availability and faster upgrades
- Virtual port-channel (vPC) technology provides Layer 2 multipathing with all paths forwarding
- Advanced reboot capabilities include hot and cold patching
- The switches use hot-swappable power-supply units (PSUs) and fans with N+1 redundancy
· Purpose-built Cisco NX-OS Software operating system with comprehensive, proven innovations such as open programmability, Cisco NX-API and POAP to
When leveraging ACI fabric mode, the Nexus switches are deployed in a spine-leaf architecture. Although the reference architecture covered in this document does not leverage ACI, it lays the foundation for customer migration to ACI by leveraging the Nexus 9000 switches.
Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is a holistic architecture with centralized automation and policy-driven application profiles. ACI delivers software flexibility with the scalability of hardware performance. Key characteristics of ACI include:
· Simplified automation by an application-driven policy model
· Centralized visibility with real-time, application health monitoring
· Open software flexibility for DevOps teams and ecosystem partner integration
· Scalable performance and multi-tenancy in hardware
Networking with ACI is about providing a network that is deployed, monitored, and managed in a fashion that supports DevOps and rapid application change. ACI does so through the reduction of complexity and a common policy framework that can automate provisioning and managing of resources.
For more information, refer to: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/switches/nexus-9000-series-switches/index.html
VMware vSphere is a virtualization platform for holistically managing large collections of infrastructure (resources-CPUs, storage and networking) as a seamless, versatile, and dynamic operating environment. Unlike traditional operating systems that manage an individual machine, VMware vSphere aggregates the infrastructure of an entire data center to create a single powerhouse with resources that can be allocated quickly and dynamically to any application in need.
Among the changes new in vSphere 6.0 U1 used in this design, there is a new HTML 5 installer supporting options for install and upgrade of vCenter Server. Also included is a new Appliance Management user interface and a UI option for the Platform Services Controller.
For more information, refer to: http://www.vmware.com/products/datacenter-virtualization/vsphere/overview.html
NetApp solutions offer increased availability while consuming fewer IT resources. A NetApp solution includes hardware in the form of controllers and disk storage combined with the NetApp® Data ONTAP® operating system that runs on the controllers. Two types of controllers are currently available: FAS and All Flash FAS. FAS disk storage is offered in three configurations: serial attached SCSI (SAS), serial ATA (SATA), and solid state drive (SSD). All Flash FAS systems have only SSDs.
With the NetApp portfolio, you can select the controller and disk storage configuration that best suits your requirements. The storage efficiency built into Data ONTAP provides substantial space savings and allows you to store more data at a lower cost on FAS and All Flash FAS platforms.
NetApp offers a unified storage architecture, which simultaneously supports a storage area network (SAN), network-attached storage (NAS), and iSCSI across many operating environments, including VMware, Windows, and UNIX. This single architecture provides access to data with industry-standard protocols, including NFS, CIFS, iSCSI, Fibre Channel (FC), and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). Connectivity options include standard Ethernet (10/100/1000MbE or 10GbE) and FC (4, 8, or 16Gb/sec).
In addition, all systems can be configured with high-performance SSD or SAS disks for primary storage applications, low-cost SATA disks for secondary applications (such as backup and archive), or a mix of different disk types. See the NetApp disk options available in Figure 19. Note that the All Flash FAS configuration can only support SSDs. A hybrid cluster with a mix of All Flash FAS HA pairs and FAS HA pairs with HDDs and/or SSDs is also supported.
Figure 19 NetApp Disk Options
For more information, click the following links:
NetApp All Flash FAS addresses enterprise storage requirements with high performance, superior flexibility, and best-in-class data management. Built on the clustered Data ONTAP storage operating system, All Flash FAS speeds up your business without compromising on the efficiency, reliability, or flexibility of your IT operations. As true enterprise-class, all-flash arrays, these systems accelerate, manage, and protect your business-critical data, both now and in the future. With All Flash FAS systems, you can:
Accelerate the Speed of Business
· The storage operating system employs the NetApp WAFL® (Write Anywhere File Layout) system, which is natively enabled for flash media.
· FlashEssentials enables consistent submillisecond latency and up to four million IOPS.
· The All Flash FAS system delivers 4 to 12 times higher IOPS and 20 times faster response for databases than traditional hard disk drive (HDD) systems.
Reduce Costs While Simplifying Operations
· High performance enables server consolidation and can reduce database licensing costs by 50 percent.
· As the industry’s only unified all-flash storage solution that supports synchronous replication, All Flash FAS supports all your backup and recovery needs with a complete suite of integrated data-protection utilities.
· Data-reduction technologies can deliver space savings of five to ten times on average.
· Newly enhanced inline compression delivers near-zero performance effect. Incompressible data detection eliminates wasted cycles. Inline compression is enabled by default on all volumes in All-Flash FAS running Data ONTAP 8.3.1 and later.
· Always-on deduplication runs continuously in the background and provides additional space savings for use cases such as virtual desktop deployments.
· Inline deduplication accelerates virtual machine (VM) provisioning.
· Advanced SSD partitioning increases usable capacity by almost 20%.
Future-proof your Investment with Deployment Flexibility
· All Flash FAS systems are ready for the data fabric. Data can move between the performance and capacity tiers on premises or in the cloud.
· All Flash FAS offers application and ecosystem integration for virtual desktop integration (VDI), database, and server virtualization.
· Without silos, you can nondisruptively scale-out and move workloads between Flash and HDD within a cluster.
NetApp FlashEssentials is behind the performance and efficiency of All Flash FAS and encapsulates the flash innovation and optimization technologies in Data ONTAP. Although Data ONTAP is well known as a leading storage operating system, it is not widely known that this system is natively suited for flash media due to the WAFL file system. FlashEssentials encompasses the technologies that optimize flash performance and media endurance, including:
· Coalesced writes to free blocks, maximizing the performance and longevity of flash media
· A random read I/O processing path that is designed from the ground up for flash
· A highly parallelized processing architecture that promotes consistent low latency
· Built-in quality of service (QoS) that safeguards SLAs in multiworkload and multitenant environments
· Inline data reduction and compression innovations
For more information on All Flash FAS, click the following link:
With clustered Data ONTAP, NetApp provides enterprise-ready, unified scale-out storage. Developed from a solid foundation of proven Data ONTAP technology and innovation, clustered Data ONTAP is the basis for large virtualized shared storage infrastructures that are architected for non-disruptive operations over the system lifetime. Controller nodes are deployed in HA pairs in a single storage domain or cluster.
Data ONTAP scale-out is a way to respond to growth in a storage environment. As the storage environment grows, additional controllers are added seamlessly to the resource pool residing on a shared storage infrastructure. Host and client connections as well as datastores can move seamlessly and nondisruptively anywhere in the resource pool, so that existing workloads can be easily balanced over the available resources and new workloads can be easily deployed. Technology refreshes (replacing disk shelves or adding or completely replacing storage controllers) are accomplished while the environment remains online and continues serving data. Data ONTAP is the first product to offer a complete scale-out solution, and it offers an adaptable, always-available storage infrastructure for today's highly virtualized environment.
A cluster serves data through at least one and possibly multiple storage virtual machines (SVMs; formerly called Vservers). An SVM is a logical abstraction that represents the set of physical resources of the cluster. Data volumes and network logical interfaces (LIFs) are created and assigned to an SVM and may reside on any node in the cluster to which the SVM has been given access. An SVM may own resources on multiple nodes concurrently, and those resources can be moved non-disruptively from one node to another. For example, a flexible volume can be nondisruptively moved to a new node and aggregate, or a data LIF can be transparently reassigned to a different physical network port. The SVM abstracts the cluster hardware and it is not tied to any specific physical hardware.
An SVM is capable of supporting multiple data protocols concurrently. Volumes within the SVM can be joined together to form a single NAS namespace, which makes all of an SVM's data available through a single share or mount point to NFS and CIFS clients. SVMs also support block-based protocols, and LUNs can be created and exported by using iSCSI, FC, or FCoE. Any or all of these data protocols can be configured for use within a given SVM.
Because it is a secure entity, an SVM is only aware of the resources that are assigned to it and has no knowledge of other SVMs and their respective resources. Each SVM operates as a separate and distinct entity with its own security domain. Tenants may manage the resources allocated to them through a delegated SVM administration account. Each SVM may connect to unique authentication zones such as Active Directory, LDAP, or NIS. A NetApp cluster can contain multiple SVMs. One deployment scenario for multiple SVMs can be deploying a SVM delegated to a certain application. This would allow administrators of the application to access only the dedicated SVMs and associated storage, increasing manageability and reducing risk.
An IPspace defines a distinct IP address space in which SVMs reside. Ports and IP addresses defined for an IPspace are applicable only within that IPspace. A distinct routing table is maintained for each SVM within an IPspace. Therefore, no cross-SVM or cross-IP-space traffic routing occurs.
IPspaces enable you to configure a single Data ONTAP cluster so that it can be accessed by clients from more than one administratively separate network domain, even when those clients are using the same IP address subnet range. This allows the separation of client traffic for privacy and security.
For entry-level and All Flash FAS (AFF) platform models, aggregates can be composed of parts of a drive rather than the entire drive. This eliminates the need for three entire disks to be dedicated to a separate root aggregate.
Root-data partitioning is usually enabled and configured by the factory. It can also be established by initiating system initialization using option 4 from the boot menu. Note that system initialization erases all data on the disks of the node and resets the node configuration to the factory default settings.
When a node has been configured to use root-data partitioning, partitioned disks have two partitions. The smaller partition is used to compose the root aggregate, and the larger partition is used in data aggregates. The size of the partitions is set by Data ONTAP and depends on the number of disks used to create the root aggregate when the system is initialized. The more disks that are used in the root aggregate, the smaller the root partition. After system initialization, the partition sizes are fixed. Adding partitions or disks to the root aggregate after system initialization increases the size of the root aggregate, but does not change the root partition size.
The partitions are used by RAID in the same manner as physical disks are, and all of the same requirements apply. For example, if you add an unpartitioned drive to a RAID group consisting of partitioned drives, the drive is partitioned to match the partition size of the drives in the RAID group, and the rest of the disk is not used. If a partitioned disk is moved to another node or used in another aggregate, the partitioning persists unless manually removed. You can use the disk only in RAID groups composed of partitioned disks.
This section provides general descriptions of the domain and element managers used during the validation effort. The following managers were used:
· Cisco UCS Manager
· Cisco Performance Manager
· Cisco Virtual Switch Update Manager
· VMware vCenter™ Server
· NetApp OnCommand® System and Unified Manager
· NetApp Virtual Storage Console (VSC)
· NetApp OnCommand Performance Manager
· NetApp SnapManager® and SnapDrive® software
Cisco UCS Manager provides unified, centralized, embedded management of all Cisco Unified Computing System software and hardware components across multiple chassis and thousands of virtual machines. Administrators use the software to manage the entire Cisco Unified Computing System as a single logical entity through an intuitive GUI, a command-line interface (CLI), or an XML API.
The Cisco UCS Manager resides on a pair of Cisco UCS 6300 or 6200 Series Fabric Interconnects using a clustered, active-standby configuration for high availability. The software gives administrators a single interface for performing server provisioning, device discovery, inventory, configuration, diagnostics, monitoring, fault detection, auditing, and statistics collection. Cisco UCS Manager service profiles and templates support versatile role- and policy-based management, and system configuration information can be exported to configuration management databases (CMDBs) to facilitate processes based on IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) concepts. Service profiles benefit both virtualized and non-virtualized environments and increase the mobility of non-virtualized servers, such as when moving workloads from server to server or taking a server offline for service or upgrade. Profiles can be used in conjunction with virtualization clusters to bring new resources online easily, complementing existing virtual machine mobility.
For more information on Cisco UCS Manager, click the following link:
With technology from Zenoss, Cisco UCS Performance Manager delivers detailed monitoring from a single customizable console. The software uses APIs from Cisco UCS Manager and other Cisco® and third-party components to collect data and display comprehensive, relevant information about your Cisco UCS integrated infrastructure.
Cisco UCS Performance Manager does the following:
· Unifies performance monitoring and management of Cisco UCS integrated infrastructure
· Delivers real-time views of fabric and data center switch bandwidth use and capacity thresholds
· Discovers and creates relationship models of each system, giving your staff a single, accurate view of all components
· Provides coverage for Cisco UCS servers, Cisco networking, vendor storage, hypervisors, and operating systems
· Allows you to easily navigate to individual components for rapid problem resolution
For more information on Cisco Performance Manager, click the following link:
· Cisco VSUM is a virtual appliance that is registered as a plug-in to the VMware vCenter Server. Cisco VSUM simplifies the installation and configuration of the Cisco Nexus 1000v. Some of the key benefits of Cisco VSUM are:
· Install the Cisco Nexus 1000V switch
· Migrate the VMware vSwitch and VMware vSphere Distributed Switch (VDS) to the Cisco Nexus 1000V
· Monitor the Cisco Nexus 1000V
· Upgrade the Cisco Nexus 1000V and add hosts from an earlier version to the latest version
· Install the Cisco Nexus 1000V license
· View the health of the virtual machines in your data center using the Dashboard - Cisco Nexus 1000V
· Upgrade from an earlier release to Cisco VSUM 2.0
For more information on Cisco VSUM, click the following link:
VMware vCenter Server is the simplest and most efficient way to manage VMware vSphere, irrespective of the number of VMs you have. It provides unified management of all hosts and VMs from a single console and aggregates performance monitoring of clusters, hosts, and VMs. VMware vCenter Server gives administrators a deep insight into the status and configuration of compute clusters, hosts, VMs, storage, the guest OS, and other critical components of a virtual infrastructure.
New to vCenter Server is the Platform Services Controller (PSC). The PSC serves as a centralized repository for information which is shared between vCenters such as vCenter Single Sign-On, licensing information, and certificate management. This introduction of the PSC also enhances vCenter Linked mode, allowing both vCenter Windows based deployments and vCenter Server Appliance based deployments to exist in the same vCenter Single Sign-On domain. The vCenter Server Appliance now supports the same amount of infrastructure as the Windows Based installation, up to 1,000 hosts, 10,000 powered on virtual machines, 64 clusters, and 8,000 virtual machines per cluster. The PSC can be deployed on the same machine as vCenter, or as a standalone machine for future scalability.
For more information, click the following link:
With NetApp OnCommand System Manager, storage administrators can manage individual storage systems or clusters of storage systems. Its easy-to-use interface simplifies common storage administration tasks such as creating volumes, LUNs, qtrees, shares, and exports, saving time and helping to prevent errors. System Manager works across all NetApp storage systems. NetApp OnCommand Unified Manager complements the features of System Manager by enabling the monitoring and management of storage within the NetApp storage infrastructure.
This solution uses both OnCommand System Manager and OnCommand Unified Manager to provide storage provisioning and monitoring capabilities within the infrastructure.
For more information, click the following link:
OnCommand Performance Manager provides performance monitoring and incident root-cause analysis of systems running clustered Data ONTAP. It is the performance management part of OnCommand Unified Manager. Performance Manager helps you identify workloads that are overusing cluster components and decreasing the performance of other workloads on the cluster. It alerts you to these performance events (called incidents), so that you can take corrective action and return to normal operation. You can view and analyze incidents in the Performance Manager GUI or view them on the Unified Manager Dashboard.
The NetApp Virtual Storage Console (VSC) software delivers storage configuration and monitoring, datastore provisioning, VM cloning, and backup and recovery of VMs and datastores. VSC also includes an application programming interface (API) for automated control.
VSC is a single VMware vCenter Server plug-in that provides end-to-end VM lifecycle management for VMware environments that use NetApp storage. VSC is available to all VMware vSphere Clients that connect to the vCenter Server. This availability is different from a client-side plug-in that must be installed on every VMware vSphere Client. The VSC software can be installed either on the vCenter Server (if it is Microsoft Windows-based) or on a separate Microsoft Windows Server instance or VM.
NetApp SnapManager® storage management software and NetApp SnapDrive® data management software are used to provision and back up storage for applications in this solution. The portfolio of SnapManager products is specific to the particular application. SnapDrive is a common component used with all of the SnapManager products.
To create a backup, SnapManager interacts with the application to put the application data in an appropriate state so that a consistent NetApp Snapshot® copy of that data can be made. It then directs SnapDrive to interact with the storage system SVM and create the Snapshot copy, effectively backing up the application data. In addition to managing Snapshot copies of application data, SnapDrive can be used to accomplish the following tasks:
· Provisioning application data LUNs in the SVM as mapped disks on the application VM
· Managing Snapshot copies of application VMDK disks on NFS or VMFS datastores
Snapshot copy management of application data LUNs is handled by the interaction between SnapDrive and the SVM management LIF.
This section of the document will address the physical and logical topology of the FlexPod Datacenter Design.
Figure 20 details the FlexPod Datacenter Design, which is fully redundant in the compute, network, and storage layers. There is no single point of failure from a device or traffic path perspective.
Figure 20 FlexPod Datacenter Design
Note: While the connectivity shown in Figure 20 represents a Cisco UCS 6300 Fabric Interconnect based layout, the Cisco UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnect layout will use nearly identical connections, with the primary differences being the port capacity 40GbE versus 10GbE, and the 16Gb FC connections will instead of 8Gb FC.
As illustrated, the FlexPod Datacenter Design is an end-to-end IP-Based storage solution that supports SAN access using iSCSI as well as FC. The solution provides a 40GbE-enabled fabric, defined by Ethernet uplinks from the Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnects and NetApp storage devices connected to the Cisco Nexus switches. As the Nexus 9000 standalone design does not employ a dedicated SAN switching environment and requires no direct Fibre Channel connectivity, iSCSI is the SAN protocol leveraged within the Nexus 9000, with Fibre Channel passing directly between the Fabric Interconnect and the AFF controller.
Link aggregation technologies play an important role, providing improved aggregate bandwidth and link resiliency across the solution stack. The NetApp storage controllers, Cisco Unified Computing System, and Cisco Nexus 9000 platforms support active port channeling using 802.3ad standard Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP). Port channeling is a link aggregation technique offering link fault tolerance and traffic distribution (load balancing) for improved aggregate bandwidth across member ports. In addition, the Cisco Nexus 9000 series features virtual PortChannel (vPC) capabilities. vPC allows links that are physically connected to two different Cisco Nexus 9000 Series devices to appear as a single “logical” port channel to a third device, essentially offering device fault tolerance. vPC addresses aggregate bandwidth, link, and device resiliency. The Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnects and NetApp FAS controllers benefit from the Cisco Nexus vPC abstraction, gaining link and device resiliency as well as full utilization of a non-blocking Ethernet fabric.
Note: The Spanning Tree protocol does not actively block redundant physical links in a properly configured vPC-enabled environment, so all ports are forwarding on vPC member ports.
This dedicated uplink design leverages IP-based storage-capable NetApp FAS controllers. From a storage traffic perspective, both standard LACP and the Cisco vPC link aggregation technologies play an important role in the FlexPod network design. Figure 20 illustrates the use of dedicated 40GbE uplinks between the Cisco UCS fabric interconnects and the Cisco Nexus 9000 unified switches. vPC links between the Cisco Nexus 9000 and the NetApp storage controllers’ 10GbE interfaces provide a robust connection between host and storage.
This section of the document discusses the logical configuration validated for FlexPod.
Figure 21 shows design details of the FlexPod Datacenter, with storage providing iSCSI and NFS to connected Cisco UCS B-Series servers.
Figure 21 FlexPod Datacenter Design Connecting NFS and iSCSI to Cisco UCS B-Series
In these details we see HA and redundancy throughout the design, from the top going down:
· Cisco UCS B-Series servers connecting with UCS VIC 1340 mLOM adapters receiving 20Gb (40Gb is possible with the Cisco UCS VIC 1380 or mezzanine expander) to each fabric side via automatically generated port-channels of the DCE backplane ports coming from the 2304 IOMs. Connectivity is active/active or active/standby depending on configuration of the vNIC template configured for the server.
· Cisco UCS 2304 Fabric Extenders (IOM) connects one (single link not recommended in FlexPod designs), two, or four 40Gb uplinks from the Fabric Interconnects to each IOM. The Host Internal Ports of the IOM connect up to 4 10Gb KR lanes through the Cisco UCS 5108 (not pictured) chassis midplane to each half width blade slot.
· Cisco UCS 6332-16UP Fabric Interconnect delivering 40Gb converged traffic to the Cisco UCS 2304 IOM. Connections of two or four uplinks are configured as port-channels between the fabric interconnect and the IOM through the Link Grouping Preference of the Chassis/FEX Discovery Policy.
· Cisco Nexus 9372 Switch connects four 40Gb Ethernet uplinks to the fabric interconnect and four 10Gb Ethernet uplinks the NetApp AFF, with connections configured as vPCs pairs spanning both Nexus switches. With a peer link configured between the two switches, connectivity from the Nexus 9372 is delivered as active/active, non-blocking traffic to utilize the most out of configured connections.
· NetApp AFF 8040 Storage Array delivers NFS and iSCSI resources through LIFs (logical interfaces) connecting through ifgrps (interface groups) spanning both connected Nexus switches. The controllers of the array are configured directly to each other in a switchless manner, and are enabled to take over the resources hosted by the other controller.
With regard to the logical configuration of the clustered Data ONTAP environment shown in this design, the physical cluster consists of two NetApp storage controllers (nodes) configured as an HA pair and a switchless cluster. Within that cluster, the following key components allow connectivity to data on a per application basis:
· LIF: A logical interface that is associated to a physical port, interface group, or VLAN interface. More than one LIF may be associated to a physical port at the same time. There are three types of LIFs:
- NFS LIF
- iSCSI LIF
- FC LIF
LIFs are logical network entities that have the same characteristics as physical network devices and yet are logically separated and tied to physical objects. LIFs used for Ethernet traffic are assigned specific Ethernet-based details such as IP addresses and iSCSI-qualified names and then are associated with a specific physical port capable of supporting Ethernet traffic. NAS LIFs can be non-disruptively migrated to any other physical network port throughout the entire cluster at any time, either manually or automatically (by using policies).
In this Cisco Validated Design, LIFs are layered on top of the physical interface groups and are associated with a given VLAN interface. LIFs are then consumed by the SVMs and are typically associated with a given protocol and data store.
· SVM: An SVM is a secure virtual storage server that contains data volumes and one or more LIFs, through which it serves data to the clients. An SVM securely isolates the shared virtualized data storage and network and appears as a single dedicated server to its clients. Each SVM has a separate administrator authentication domain and can be managed independently by an SVM administrator.
For the Cisco UCS compute components, the comparable configuration for the Cisco UCS FI 6248UP will use a 2204 or 2208 IOM and will connect upstream to the Nexus 9372 via 10Gb Ethernet. A UCS B-Series server is shown here as an example, but the design is equally valid with UCS C-Series servers for iSCSI and NFS.
Figure 21 showed the initial storage configuration of this solution as a two-node switchless cluster HA pair with clustered Data ONTAP. A storage configuration comprised of an HA pair, which consists of like storage nodes such as AFF 8000 series and storage shelves housing disks. Scalability is achieved by adding storage capacity (disk/shelves) to an existing HA pair, or by adding HA pairs into the cluster or storage domain.
Note: For SAN environments, the NetApp clustered Data ONTAP offering allows up to four HA pairs or 8 nodes and for NAS environments, 12 HA pairs or 24 nodes to form a logical entity.
The HA interconnect allows each HA node pair to assume control of its partner’s storage (disk/shelves) directly without data loss. The local physical high-availability storage failover capability does not extend beyond the HA pair. Furthermore, a cluster of nodes does not have to include identical classes of hardware. Rather, individual nodes in an HA pair are configured alike, allowing customers to scale as needed, as they bring additional HA pairs into the larger cluster.
Figure 22 continues the design details of the FlexPod Datacenter Design, providing direct attached Fibre Channel storage between the Cisco UCS 6332-16P and the NetApp AFF 8040 connected to a Cisco UCS C-Series server.
Figure 22 FlexPod Datacenter Design Connecting FC to UCS C-Series
In these details we see HA and redundancy continued throughout the design, from the top going down:
· Cisco UCS C-Series servers connecting with Cisco UCS VIC 1387 mLOM adapters receiving 40Gb converged traffic from each fabric interconnect. Connectivity is active/active or active/standby depending on configuration of the vNIC template configured for the server.
· Cisco UCS B-Series (not shown) with connection through the Cisco UCS 2304 IOM (not shown) will receive the same connectivity as the Cisco UCS C-Series for the direct attached storage.
· Cisco UCS 6332-16UP Fabric Interconnect connects and manages the Cisco UCS C-Series via single wire management. Unified ports on the fabric interconnect are configured as 16Gb Storage FC interfaces and directly attached to each of the NetApp AFF Storage Arrays. The Fabric Interconnect is in FC switching mode and will handle the flogi table for the connecting interfaces. NFS and potential iSCSI traffic is still handled by connections to the Cisco Nexus 9372(not pictured) previously shown in Figure 22.
· NetApp AFF 8040 Storage Array delivers Fibre Channel resources through LIFs that connect to each fabric interconnect via 16GB FC configured unified target adapters. The controllers of the array are configured directly to each other in a switchless manner, and are enabled to take over the resources hosted by the other controller.
The comparable configuration for the Cisco UCS FI 6248UP will use the same ports, but will differ with the Cisco UCS C-Series using a VIC 1227 mLOM adapter at 10Gb converged instead of the VIC 1387 shown, and the AFF to fabric interconnect connections occurring as 8Gb FC.
The FlexPod Datacenter design supports both Cisco UCS B-Series and C-Series deployments connecting to either 6300 or 6200 series fabric interconnects. This section of the document discusses the integration of each deployment into FlexPod. The Cisco Unified Computing System supports the virtual server environment by providing a robust, highly available, and extremely manageable compute resource. The components of the Cisco UCS system offer physical redundancy and a set of logical structures to deliver a very resilient FlexPod compute domain. In this validation effort, there was a mixture of multiple Cisco UCS B-Series and Cisco UCS C-Series ESXi servers that are booted from SAN using iSCSI or fibre channel. The Cisco UCS B200-M4 series blades were equipped with Cisco 1340 VIC adapters and the Cisco UCS C220-M4 used a Cisco 1387 VIC or Cisco 1227 VIC. These nodes were allocated to a VMware DRS and HA enabled cluster supporting infrastructure services such as vSphere Virtual Center, Microsoft Active Directory and database services.
Cisco UCS vNIC Resiliency
The FlexPod defines vNICs that can trace their connectivity back to the two LAN port channels connecting the Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnects to the Cisco Nexus 9000. Both NFS and SAN (iSCSI) traffic from the servers use these two port-channels to communicate to the storage system. At the server level, the Cisco 1340 VIC presents four virtual PCIe devices to the ESXi node, two virtual 20 Gb Ethernet NICs (vNIC) and two 20 Gb iSCSI vNICs (Figure 22). These vNICs will be 40Gb with a Cisco UCS C-Series connecting to the fabric interconnect using the same Port-Profiles through the Cisco Nexus 1000v, and can be 40Gb with a B-Series provided it is equipped with a mezzanine port expander. The vSphere environment identifies these interfaces as vmnics and the ESXi operating system is unaware these are virtual adapters. The result is a dual-homed ESXi node to the remaining network.
Figure 23 ESXi server utilizing vNICs
Cisco Unified Computing System I/O Component Selection
FlexPod allows customers to adjust the individual components of the system to meet their particular scale or performance requirements. Selection of I/O components has a direct impact on scale and performance characteristics when ordering the Cisco UCS components. Each of the two Fabric Extenders (I/O module) has four 10GBASE KR (802.3ap) standardized Ethernet backplane paths available for connection to each half-width blade slot. This means that each half-width slot has the potential to support up to 80Gb of aggregate traffic depending on selection of:
· Fabric Extender model (2304, 2204XP or 2208XP)
· Modular LAN on Motherboard (mLOM) card
· Mezzanine Slot card
For Cisco UCS C-Series servers, the connectivity will be directly to the Fabric Interconnect, using 10Gb or 40Gb converged adapters. Options within Cisco UCS C-Series will be:
· Modular LAN on Motherboard (mLOM) card
· PCIe card
Fabric Extender Modules (FEX)
Each Cisco UCS chassis is equipped with a pair of Cisco UCS Fabric Extenders. The validation uses a Cisco UCS 2304 which has four 40 Gigabit Ethernet, FCoE-capable ports that connect the blade chassis to the blade chassis to the Fabric Interconnect. Optionally the 2208XP and 2204XP Fabric Extenders can be used for reduced bandwidth capacity. The Cisco UCS 2304 has four external QSFP ports with identical characteristics to connect to the fabric interconnect. Each Cisco UCS 2304 has eight 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports connected through the midplane, connecting one to each of the eight half-width slots in the chassis.
Table 2 Fabric Extender Model Comparison
Cisco Unified Computing System Chassis/FEX Discovery Policy
A Cisco UCS system can be configured to discover a chassis using Discrete Mode or the Port-Channel mode (Figure 24). In Discrete Mode each FEX KR connection and therefore server connection is tied or pinned to a network fabric connection homed to a port on the Fabric Interconnect. In the presence of a failure on the external “link” all KR connections are disabled within the FEX I/O module. In Port-Channel mode, the failure of a network fabric link allows for redistribution of flows across the remaining port channel members. Port-Channel mode therefore is less disruptive to the fabric and hence recommended in the FlexPod designs.
Figure 24 Chassis discover policy - Discrete Mode vs. Port Channel Mode
Cisco Unified Computing System – QoS and Jumbo Frames
FlexPod accommodates a myriad of traffic types (vMotion, NFS, FCoE, control traffic, etc.) and is capable of absorbing traffic spikes and protect against traffic loss. Cisco UCS and Nexus QoS system classes and policies deliver this functionality. In this validation effort the FlexPod was configured to support jumbo frames with an MTU size of 9000. Enabling jumbo frames allows the FlexPod environment to optimize throughput between devices while simultaneously reducing the consumption of CPU resources.
Note: When setting the Jumbo frames, it is important to make sure MTU settings are applied uniformly across the stack to prevent packet drops and negative performance.
Cisco UCS Physical Connectivity
Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnects are configured with two port-channels, one from each FI, to the Cisco Nexus 9000 and 16Gbps direct attached fibre channel connections to each AFF controller. The fibre channel connections are set as four independent links carrying the fibre channel boot and data LUNs from the A and B fabrics to each of the AFF controllers. The port-channels carry the remaining data and storage traffic originated on the Cisco Unified Computing System. The validated design utilized two uplinks from each FI to the leaf switches to create the port-channels, for an aggregate bandwidth of 160GbE (4 x 40GbE). The number of links can be easily increased based on customer data throughput requirements.
Cisco Unified Computing System – C-Series Server Design
Cisco UCS Manager 3.1 provides two connectivity modes for Cisco UCS C-Series Rack-Mount Server management. Starting in Cisco UCS Manager release version 2.2 an additional rack server management mode using Network Controller Sideband Interface (NC-SI). Cisco UCS VIC 1387 Virtual Interface Card (VIC) uses the NC-SI, which can carry both data traffic and management traffic on the same cable. Single-wire management allows for denser server to FEX deployments.
For configuration details refer to the Cisco UCS configuration guides at:
Cisco Nexus 9000 provides Ethernet switching fabric for communications between the Cisco UCS domain, the NetApp storage system and the enterprise network. In the FlexPod design, Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnects, NetApp storage systems, and an optional Nexus 1110 devices are connected to the Cisco Nexus 9000 switches using virtual PortChannels (vPC).
Virtual Port Channel (vPC)
A virtual PortChannel (vPC) allows links that are physically connected to two different Cisco Nexus 9000 Series devices to appear as a single PortChannel. In a switching environment, vPC provides the following benefits:
· Allows a single device to use a PortChannel across two upstream devices
· Eliminates Spanning Tree Protocol blocked ports and use all available uplink bandwidth
· Provides a loop-free topology
· Provides fast convergence if either one of the physical links or a device fails
· Helps ensure high availability of the overall FlexPod system
Figure 25 Nexus 9000 connections to UCS Fabric Interconnects and NetApp AFF
Figure 25 shows the connections between Nexus 9000, UCS Fabric Interconnects and NetApp AFF8040. vPC requires a “peer link” which is documented as port channel 10 in this diagram. In addition to the vPC peer-link, the vPC peer keepalive link is a required component of a vPC configuration. The peer keepalive link allows each vPC enabled switch to monitor the health of its peer. This link accelerates convergence and reduces the occurrence of split-brain scenarios. In this validated solution, the vPC peer keepalive link uses the out-of-band management network. This link is not shown in the figure above.
Cisco Nexus 9000 Best Practices
Cisco Nexus 9000 related best practices used in the validation of the FlexPod architecture are summarized below:
· Cisco Nexus 9000 features enabled
- Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP part of 802.3ad)
- Cisco Virtual Port Channeling (vPC) for link and device resiliency
- Enable Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP) for infrastructure visibility and troubleshooting
· vPC considerations
- Define a unique domain ID
- Set the priority of the intended vPC primary switch lower than the secondary (default priority is 32768)
- Establish peer keepalive connectivity. It is recommended to use the out-of-band management network (mgmt0) or a dedicated switched virtual interface (SVI)
- Enable vPC auto-recovery feature
- Enable peer-gateway. Peer-gateway allows a vPC switch to act as the active gateway for packets that are addressed to the router MAC address of the vPC peer allowing vPC peers to forward traffic
- Enable IP ARP synchronization to optimize convergence across the vPC peer link.
Note: Cisco Fabric Services over Ethernet (CFSoE) is responsible for synchronization of configuration, Spanning Tree, MAC and VLAN information, which removes the requirement for explicit configuration. The service is enabled by default.
- A minimum of two 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections are required for vPC
- All port channels should be configured in LACP active mode
· Spanning tree considerations
- The spanning tree priority was not modified. Peer-switch (part of vPC configuration) is enabled which allows both switches to act as root for the VLANs
- Loopguard is disabled by default
- BPDU guard and filtering are enabled by default
- Bridge assurance is only enabled on the vPC Peer Link.
- Ports facing the NetApp storage controller and UCS are defined as “edge” trunk ports
For configuration details refer to the Cisco Nexus 9000 series switches configuration guides:
The FlexPod storage design supports a variety of NetApp FAS controllers such as the AFF8000, FAS2500 and FAS8000 products as well as legacy NetApp storage. This Cisco Validated Design leverages NetApp AFF8040 controllers, deployed with clustered Data ONTAP.
In the clustered Data ONTAP architecture, all data is accessed through secure virtual storage partitions known as storage virtual machines (SVMs). It is possible to have a single SVM that represents the resources of the entire cluster or multiple SVMs that are assigned specific subsets of cluster resources for given applications, tenants or workloads.
For more information about the AFF8000 product family, click the following link:
For more information about the FAS8000 product family, click the following link:
For more information about the FAS2500 product family, click the following link:
For more information about clustered Data ONTAP, click the following link:
Network and Storage Physical Connectivity
The NetApp AFF8000 storage controllers are configured with two port channels, connected to the Cisco Nexus 9000 switches. These port channels carry all IP based data traffic for the NetApp controllers. This validated design uses two physical ports from each NetApp controller, configured as an LACP interface group (ifgrp). The number of ports used can be easily modified depending on the application requirements.
A clustered Data ONTAP storage solution includes the following fundamental connections or network types:
· HA interconnect. A dedicated interconnect between two nodes to form HA pairs. These pairs are also known as storage failover pairs.
· Cluster interconnect. A dedicated high-speed, low-latency, private network used for communication between nodes. This network can be implemented through the deployment of a switchless cluster or by leveraging dedicated cluster interconnect switches.
· Management network. A network used for the administration of nodes, cluster, and SVMs.
· Data network. A network used by clients to access data.
· Ports. A physical port such as e0a or e1a or a logical port such as a virtual LAN (VLAN) or an interface group.
· Interface groups. A collection of physical ports to create one logical port. The NetApp interface group is a link aggregation technology that can be deployed in single (active/passive), multiple ("always on"), or dynamic (active LACP) mode.
This validation uses two storage nodes configured as a two-node storage failover pair through an internal HA interconnect direct connection. The FlexPod design uses the following port and interface assignments:
· Ethernet ports e0b and e0d on each node are members of a multimode LACP interface group for Ethernet data. This design leverages an interface group that has LIFs associated with it to support NFS and iSCSI traffic.
· Ethernet ports e0a and e0c on each node are connected to the corresponding ports on the other node to form the switchless cluster interconnect.
· Ports e0M on each node support a LIF dedicated to node management. Port e0i is defined as a failover port supporting the “node_mgmt” role.
· Port e0i supports cluster management data traffic through the cluster management LIF. This port and LIF allow for administration of the cluster from the failover port and LIF if necessary.
NetApp FAS I/O Connectivity
One of the main benefits of FlexPod is that it gives customers the ability to accurately size their deployment. This effort can include the selection of the appropriate protocol for their workload as well as the performance capabilities of various transport protocols. The AFF8000 product family supports FC, FCoE, iSCSI, NFS, pNFS, and CIFS/SMB. The AFF8000 comes standard with onboard UTA2, 10GbE, 1GbE, and SAS ports. Furthermore, the AFF8000 offers up to 24 PCIe expansion ports per HA pair.
Figure 26 highlights the rear of the AFF8040 chassis. The AFF8040 is configured in a single HA enclosure, that is two controllers are housed in a single chassis. External disk shelves are connected through onboard SAS ports, data is accessed through the onboard UTA2 ports, and cluster interconnect traffic is over the onboard 10GbE ports.
Figure 26 NetApp AFF8000 Storage Controller
Clustered Data ONTAP and Storage Virtual Machines Overview
Clustered Data ONTAP enables the logical partitioning of storage resources in the form of SVMs. The following components comprise an SVM:
· Logical interfaces. All SVM networking is performed through LIFs that are created within the SVM. As logical constructs, LIFs are abstracted from the physical networking ports on which they reside.
· Flexible volumes. A flexible volume is the basic unit of storage for an SVM. An SVM has a root volume and can have one or more data volumes. Data volumes can be created in any aggregate that has been delegated by the cluster administrator for use by the SVM. Depending on the data protocols used by the SVM, volumes can contain either LUNs for use with block protocols, files for use with NAS protocols, or both concurrently.
· Namespace. Each SVM has a distinct namespace through which all of the NAS data shared from that SVM can be accessed. This namespace can be thought of as a map to all of the joined volumes for the SVM, no matter on which node or aggregate they might physically reside. Volumes may be joined at the root of the namespace or beneath other volumes that are part of the namespace hierarchy.
· Storage QoS. Storage QoS can help manage the risks associated with meeting performance objectives. You can use storage QoS to limit the throughput to workloads and to monitor workload performance. You can reactively limit workloads to address performance problems and you can proactively limit workloads to prevent performance problems. You can also limit workloads to support SLAs with customers. Workloads can be limited on either a workload IOPs or bandwidth in MB/s basis.
Note: Storage QoS is supported on clusters that have up to eight nodes.
A workload represents the input/output (I/O) operations to one of the following storage objects:
· A SVM with flexible volumes
· A flexible volume
· A LUN
This solution defines a single infrastructure SVM to own and export the data necessary to run the VMware vSphere infrastructure. This SVM specifically owns the following flexible volumes:
· Root volume. A flexible volume that contains the root of the SVM namespace.
· Root volume load-sharing mirrors. A mirrored volume of the root volume used to accelerate read throughput. In this instance, they are labeled root_vol_m01 and root_vol_m02.
· Boot volume. A flexible volume that contains ESXi boot LUNs. These ESXi boot LUNs are exported through iSCSI to the Cisco UCS servers.
· Infrastructure datastore volume. A flexible volume that is exported through NFS to the ESXi host and is used as the infrastructure NFS datastore to store VM files.
· Infrastructure swap volume. A flexible volume that is exported through NFS to each ESXi host and used to store VM swap data.
NFS datastores are mounted on each VMware ESXi host in the VMware cluster and are provided by NetApp clustered Data ONTAP through NFS over the 10GbE network. The SVM has a minimum of one LIF per protocol per node to maintain volume availability across the cluster nodes. The LIFs use failover groups, which are network polices defining the ports or interface groups available to support a single LIF migration or a group of LIFs migrating within or across nodes in a cluster. Multiple LIFs may be associated with a network port or interface group. In addition to failover groups, the clustered Data ONTAP system uses failover policies. Failover polices define the order in which the ports in the failover group are prioritized. Failover policies define migration policy in the event of port failures, port recoveries, or user-initiated requests. The most basic storage failover scenarios possible in this cluster are as follows:
· Node 1 fails, and Node 2 takes over Node 1's storage
· Node 2 fails, and Node 1 takes over Node 2's storage.
The remaining node network connectivity failures are addressed through the redundant port, interface groups, and logical interface abstractions afforded by the clustered Data ONTAP system.
The FlexPod Datacenter design optionally supports boot from SAN using FCoE by directly connecting the NetApp controller to the Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnects. The updated physical design changes are covered in Figure 27.
In the FCoE design, zoning and related SAN configuration is configured on Cisco UCS Manager and Fabric Interconnects provide the SAN-A and SAN-B separation. On NetApp, the Unified Target Adapter is needed to provide physical connectivity.
Figure 27 Boot from SAN using FCoE (Optional)
Domain managers from both Cisco and NetApp (covered in the Technical Overview section) are deployed as VMs within a cluster in the FlexPod Datacenter. These managers require access to FlexPod components, and can alternately be deployed in a separate management cluster outside of the FlexPod datacenter if connectivity to resources can be maintained.
Compute, Network and Storage Out-of-Band Network Connectivity
Like many other compute stacks, FlexPod relies on an out of band management network to configure and manage network, compute and storage nodes. The management interfaces from the physical FlexPod devices are physically connected to the out of band switches. To support a true out of band management connectivity all physical components within a FlexPod are connected to a switch provided by the customer.
A high level summary of the FlexPod Datacenter Design validation is provided in this section. The solution was validated for basic data forwarding by deploying virtual machine running IOMeter tool. The system was validated for resiliency by failing various aspects of the system under load. Examples of the types of tests executed include:
· Failure and recovery of iSCSI and FC booted ESXi hosts in a cluster
· Rebooting of iSCSI and FC booted hosts
· Service Profile migration between blades
· Failure of partial and complete IOM links
· Failure and recovery of redundant links to AFF nodes
· SSD removal to trigger an aggregate rebuild
· Storage link failure between one of the AFF nodes and the fabric interconnect
· Load was generated using IOMeter tool and different IO profiles were used to reflect the different profiles that are seen in customer networks
Table 3 describes the hardware and software versions used during solution validation. It is important to note that Cisco, NetApp, and VMware have interoperability matrixes that should be referenced to determine support for any specific implementation of FlexPod. Click the following links for more information:
· NetApp Interoperability Matrix Tool: http://support.netapp.com/matrix/
· Cisco UCS Hardware and Software Interoperability Tool: http://www.cisco.com/web/techdoc/ucs/interoperability/matrix/matrix.html
· VMware Compatibility Guide: http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php
Table 3 Validated Software Versions
Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnects 6300 Series and 6200 Series, UCS B-200 M4, UCS C-220 M4
Cisco Nexus 9000 iNX-OS
Data ONTAP 8.3.2
Cisco UCS Manager
Cisco Performance Manager
VMware vSphere ESXi
OnCommand Unified Manager for clustered Data ONTAP
NetApp Virtual Storage Console (VSC)
OnCommand Performance Manager
FlexPod with Cisco Nexus 9000 is the optimal shared infrastructure foundation to deploy a variety of IT workloads that is future proofed with 40Gb connectivity. Cisco and NetApp have created a platform that is both flexible and scalable for multiple use cases and applications. From virtual desktop infrastructure to SAP®, FlexPod can efficiently and effectively support business-critical applications running simultaneously from the same shared infrastructure. The flexibility and scalability of FlexPod also enable customers to start out with a right-sized infrastructure that can ultimately grow with and adapt to their evolving business requirements.
Cisco Unified Computing System:
Cisco UCS 6300 Series Fabric Interconnects:
Cisco UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis:
Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers:
Cisco UCS Adapters:
Cisco UCS Manager:
Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Switches:
VMware vCenter Server:
NetApp Data ONTAP:
Cisco UCS Hardware Compatibility Matrix:
VMware and Cisco Unified Computing System:
NetApp Interoperability Matrix Tool:
Ramesh Isaac, Technical Marketing Engineer, Cisco Systems, Inc.
Ramesh Isaac is a Technical Marketing Engineer in the Cisco UCS Data Center Solutions Group. Ramesh has worked in data center and mixed-use lab settings since 1995. He started in information technology supporting UNIX environments and focused on designing and implementing multi-tenant virtualization solutions in Cisco labs over the last couple of years. Ramesh holds certifications from Cisco, VMware, and Red Hat.
Lindsey Street, Solutions Architect, Infrastructure and Cloud Engineering, NetApp
Lindsey Street is a Solutions Architect in the NetApp Infrastructure and Cloud Engineering team. She focuses on the architecture, implementation, compatibility, and security of innovative vendor technologies to develop competitive and high-performance end-to-end cloud solutions for customers. Lindsey started her career in 2006 at Nortel as an interoperability test engineer, testing customer equipment interoperability for certification. Lindsey has her Bachelors of Science degree in Computer Networking and her Masters of Science in Information Security from East Carolina University.
For their support and contribution to the design, validation, and creation of this Cisco Validated Design, the authors would like to thank:
· John George, Cisco Systems, Inc.
· Haseeb Niazi, Cisco Systems, Inc.
· Chris O’Brien, Cisco Systems, Inc.
· Archana Sharma, Cisco Systems, Inc.
· Melissa Palmer, NetApp
· Dave Derry, NetApp