One of my most popular posts ever is perhaps Cisco UCS Networking Best Practices (in HD) posted last June (2010). So what do you do with a good thing? You figure out how to make it even better, right? Of course!

On that note I am thrilled to present a new and improved 12 part video series covering Cisco UCS Networking! This series obsoletes the prior set with new, updated, and re-recorded content inspired from new developments in UCS Manager since the last series. Much of this content I created for and presented at Cisco Live Europe 2011 (London) for the session BRKCOM-2003 (UCS Networking 201 - Deep Dive) on February 4, 2011. Thanks to those that attended! It was a fun session and a great audience.

This content and video series is not really a “Deep Dive” in the true technical sense. Rather, this content is intended to be more of an Intermediate technical level geared towards the Data Center Architect, Network Designer, or IT Manager, to aid in understanding the overall architecture, best practices, and system level capabilities Cisco UCS brings to the data center.


Part 1 - The Physical Architecture of UCS

In this video we take a look at the physical network architecture of Cisco UCS and incorporate the new capability of connecting both blade and rack mount servers to UCS Manager.

Part 2 - Infrastructure Virtualization & Logical Architecture

Here we look at how Cisco UCS virtualizes every significant component of the physical architecture; switches, cables, adapters, and servers. Then we look at how that virtualization creates a more simplified logical architecture transposed from the physical architecture.

Part 3 - Switching Modes of the Fabric Interconnect

In this video the unique behavior and advantages of End Host mode are discussed and compared and contrasted to Switch Mode, and a traditional Layer 2 switch.

Part 4 - Upstream Connectivity for SAN

Here we take a look at the different ways to integrate Cisco UCS to the data center SAN with FC End Host mode, and the connecting storage directly to UCS with the new FC Switch Mode.

Part 5 - Appliance Ports and NAS direct attach

In this video we discuss the new Appliance Port and how it can be implemented for connecting NAS or iSCSI directly to the UCS Fabric Interconnect.

Part 6a - Fabric Failover

The unique Fabric Failover capability is explained and its “Slam Dunk” uses are shown such as with Hyper-V, and bare metal OS installations.

Part 6b - Fabric Failover (cont)

We continue with discussing the potential of using Fabric Failover with VMware software switches and VM FEX. The best practice design for integrating Nexus 1000V with Cisco UCS is also briefly discussed.

Part 7a - End Host mode Pinning

Here we take a look at the dynamic and static pinning behavior of End Host mode, and how load balancing works.

Part 7b - Upstream LAN connectivity

In this video we look at the different ways to uplink UCS to the upstream network, how failure scenarios are handled, and comparing individual uplinks vs. port channel upliks vs. vPC uplinks.

This video examines different examples of inter fabric traffic and the recommended topologies for linking UCS to the upstream LAN network that provide the best handling of all traffic flows.

Part 9 - Connecting UCS to Disjointed L2 Domains

Here we discuss the problems you can run into when connecting UCS to separate Layer 2 networks, and ways to make it work.

Part 10 - Gen2 Adapters

This is brief video covering the new Gen2 adapters from Emulex, Qlogic, Broadcom, and Intel. The Cisco VIC (Palo) adapter is also discussed and with it’s unique VM-FEX integration with VMware vSphere.

Part 11 - Cisco VIC QoS

In this video we take a deeper look at the advanced QoS capabilities of the Cisco VIC, and how that can be leveraged in server virtualization deployments as one example.

Part 12 - SPAN and IPv6

In closing the comprehensive SPAN capabilities of UCS are briefly discussed. Also, I pay some lip service to IPv6 (grin).

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily the views and opinions of the author’s employer. The author is not an official media spokesperson for Cisco Systems, Inc. For design guidance that best suites your needs, please consult your local Cisco representative.