UCS E-Series

Author
Peter Welcher
Architect, Operations Technical Advisor

Cisco announced the UCS E-Series in January. I haven’t been paying close attention to that particular market niche, ran across something about it at Networkers, and checked it out. This blog will briefly cover what the UCS E-Series is, and key items I gleaned about it from the datasheet. I hope this information will be of use to you!
The E-Series is a powerful replacement for the UCS Express platform. It is server hardware (hypervisor host caliber hardware) you run in a Cisco ISR G2 series router (selected 2900 / 3900 series models).

The UCS E-series has some  interesting use cases:

  • Remote office in a box (DNS, Active Directory, print and file services, patching services, local backup, etc.
  • Mission-critical business applications such as Point of Sale (POS), inventory management, electronic medical record (EMR) systems, etc.
  • Running Cisco virtual appliances such as vWAAS at remote sites (and going forward, perhaps other virtualized appliances)

In case you were wondering, the UCS E-series is managed locally off an Integrated Management Controller (CIMC). There is no current management off a central UCS Manager comparable to the way the C-series rack mount servers can be managed.

Operating System support is more broad than the UCS Express:

  • Microsoft Windows Server
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
  • SUSE Linux
  • Oracle Enterprise Linux

Hypervisors supported:

  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • VMware vSphere
  • Citrix XenServer

To better understand the hardware side of this new family of products and how it upgrades the capabilities of the UCS Express, I build the following table from the datasheets for the two product lines:

UCS Express SRE 700- 710 UCS Express SRE 900-910 UCS E 140S UCS E140D or DP UCS E160D, DP
CPU Intel Core 2, 1.86 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo 1, 1.86 Ghz Intel Xeon E3 quad-core Intel Xeon E5-2400 quad core Intel Xeon E5-2400 six core
DRAM 4 GB 4-8 GB 8-16 GB 8-48 GB 8-48 GB
Disk 500 GB 2 x 500 GB Up to 2 drives of 1 TB each,
SAS SSD 200 GB, other alternatives
D model: up to 3 drives
DP model: up to 2 drives
D model: up to 3 drives
DP model: up to 2 drives
NIC 3 x 1 Gbps 3 x 1 Gbps 2 internal, 1 external Gbps 2 internal, 2 external Gbps 2 internal, 2 external Gbps
IO 1 USB 1 USB 2 USB, 1 VGA, 1 serial 2 USB, 1 VGA, 1 serial 2 USB, 1 VGA, 1 serial
PCI card No No No PCI card support, 4 x 1 Gbps or 1 x 10 Gbps / FCoE PCI card support, 4 x 1 Gbps or 1 x 10 Gbps / FCoE

The servers are available in two form factors: a single-wide blade and a double-wide blade. The single-wide blade includes a four-core Intel Xeon E3 processor and occupies a single service module slot in the Cisco ISR G2 device. The double-wide blade occupies two Cisco ISR G2 service-module slots side by side and includes either a four-core or six-core Intel Xeon E5-2400 processor with more RAM and storage capacity than the single-wide module. The double-wide blade also has a PCIe card option for expanding external network and storage I/O.

The new server blades in general support additional RAID capabilities compared to the UCS Express products. See the datasheet for details.

Relevant product positioning from the Q&A sheet:

Cisco UCS Express is designed to host essential infrastructure services and business-critical applications in a lean branch office using a size-, weight-, and power-optimized form factor. Such branch offices typically require only a few physical servers with modest hardware resources. Therefore, Cisco UCS E-Series Servers do not include features such as Cisco® Unified Fabric, Cisco Extended Memory Technology, Cisco VN-Link, and other hardware and large deployment management features that are relevant to data centers and not necessary for most lean branch-office environments.

References

Cisco UCS E-Series datasheet: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/ps10265/ps12629/data_sheet_c78-705787.html

Cisco UCS E-Series Q&A: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/contnetw/ps5719/ps11273/qa_c67-625001.html

Cisco  UCS Express datasheet: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/contnetw/ps5719/ps11273/data_sheet_c78-625000.html

 

Leave a Reply

 

Nick Kelly

Cybersecurity Engineer, Cisco

Nick has over 20 years of experience in Security Operations and Security Sales. He is an avid student of cybersecurity and regularly engages with the Infosec community at events like BSides, RVASec, Derbycon and more. The son of an FBI forensics director, Nick holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is one of Cisco’s Fire Jumper Elite members. When he’s not working, he writes cyberpunk and punches aliens on his Playstation.

 

Virgilio “BONG” dela Cruz Jr.

CCDP, CCNA V, CCNP, Cisco IPS Express Security for AM/EE
Field Solutions Architect, Tech Data

Virgilio “Bong” has sixteen years of professional experience in IT industry from academe, technical and customer support, pre-sales, post sales, project management, training and enablement. He has worked in Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) as a member of the WAN and LAN Switching team. Bong now works for Tech Data as the Field Solutions Architect with a focus on Cisco Security and holds a few Cisco certifications including Fire Jumper Elite.

 

John Cavanaugh

CCIE #1066, CCDE #20070002, CCAr
Chief Technology Officer, Practice Lead Security Services, NetCraftsmen

John is our CTO and the practice lead for a talented team of consultants focused on designing and delivering scalable and secure infrastructure solutions to customers across multiple industry verticals and technologies. Previously he has held several positions including Executive Director/Chief Architect for Global Network Services at JPMorgan Chase. In that capacity, he led a team managing network architecture and services.  Prior to his role at JPMorgan Chase, John was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco working across a number of verticals including Higher Education, Finance, Retail, Government, and Health Care.

He is an expert in working with groups to identify business needs, and align technology strategies to enable business strategies, building in agility and scalability to allow for future changes. John is experienced in the architecture and design of highly available, secure, network infrastructure and data centers, and has worked on projects worldwide. He has worked in both the business and regulatory environments for the design and deployment of complex IT infrastructures.