Cisco Expands UC Virtualization Support to add HP and IBM Platforms

William Bell
Vice President, Solutions and Products

Before going into the new support model, let’s define the Trusted Reference Configuration (TRC). TRCs are configuration “bundles” defined and supported by Cisco. These configurations outline platform hardware specifications that have been tested by Cisco for guaranteed performance for real-time applications in a virtual environment. TRCs are further defined to include specific capacity and application co-residency scenarios.

Three key benefits to the TRC approach is that:

  • A simplified platform selection process
  • Installation and maintenance documentation supporting the TRC models
  • Cisco TAC directly supports the TRC models.

On June 7th, Cisco added an alternative to the TRC model called: “Specifications Based Hardware Support“.  That is a mouth full, so I’ll refer to it as the “Specs-Based” model. Anyway, customers now have three deployment options:

  1. TRC: UC on UCS
  2. Specs-Based Model: UC on UCS
  3. Specs-Based Model: HP and IBM*
* The HP and IBM servers supported are listed on the VMware Hardware Compatibility List.
* Supported servers must use Intel Xeon 5600 or 7500 series processors

Not all UC applications are supported with the Specs-based model. Apparently, support will be phased in. As of June 7, the following products and versions are supported with the Specs-based model:

  • CUCM 8.0(2)+ and 8.5(1)+
  • CUCM – Session Manager Edition 8.5(1)
  • Cisco UC Management Suite 7.1+
  • Unity Connection 8.0(2)+ and 8.5(1)+
  • Unity 7.0(2)+
  • UCCX and IP IVR 8.5(1)+

Support for additional UC products is expected over the rest of CY2011.

This announcement isn’t limited to simply stating one can use HP and IBM compute services. The Specs-based model also adds support for the following:

  • Storage support for DAS, SAN (Fibre Channel, iSCSI, FCoE), and NAS (NFS)
  • More co-resident UC VMs per physical server as long as:
    • CPU physical core count is equal to the sum of UC VM core requirements and co-residency support policies
    • Minimum RAM is 2GB (for hypervisor) plus the sum of UC VM vRAM requirements
NOTE: Cisco UC applications and 3rd party or non-UC co-residency is still not supported

Whereas the TRC model is meant to simplify platform selection, the Specs-based model is intended to provide more flexibility.  Cisco has laid out requirements and considerations for the Specs-based model on the Cisco UC Virtualization DocWiki.  I highly recommend taking the time to read through the DocWiki.

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