Category Archives: Cisco UCS FlexFlash

UCS Blade unable to ping or connect to vCenter

Hi All,

I came across a strange issue where 2 blades was unable to ping I could get 2 ping and then Request time outs

Problem : 2 Servers( in the same chassis server 3,4 ) unable to ping their gateway. Ping drops are after 1-2 packets. We cannot ping/ssh to them from outside and they cannot be added to vCenter. Other blades in the same chassis are working ( 1,2)

Steps Taken :

  1. Confirmed that we do not have any IP conflicts
  2. Made sure that we do not use the same subnet anywhere else in the network
  3. Also checked and confirmed that the Mgmt(CIMC) subnet is different

ucs1

  1. Started a ping from inside a Host ( Server-3 ) to check if you are able to get to the gateway
  2. Checked vobd logs  to find if you can find any  entrie for duplicate ip/mac
  3. Checked the Mgmt Interface : vmk0
  4. It is connected to Port Group : Management Network  on VLAN ID, Check if we are  using the right vlan
  5. Found that the MAC Address of the vmk0 is same as vnic (vmnic0) : This is a known issue VMware KB article here. This is the vnic mac address of the service profile which is attached to the esx blade.
  6. Deleted and re-created the vmk0 interface
  7. Confirmed that the MAC Address has changed
  8. Started a continuous ping which work fine now
  9. Host can now be added to the vCenter

 

 

So let me go through of the process of how we found the duplicate mac address.

The vnic mac address was taken by vmknic  as you might know vmknic mad starts with 00:50:56 but in my case it was same as the mac address of vnic from the service profile. Read the rest of this entry

Cisco UCS Firmware Overview

Hello Everyone,

Cisco has recently launched a lot of  Firmware for CISCO UCS, it is becoming rather hard to keep up with the new release. We had 5 New Release in Version 2.2 starting from 2.2.(1b),  2.2.(1c), 2.2.(1d),  2.2.(1e), 2.2.(2c).

The good thing is, in every release CISCO  is adding some good features. In one of  the release 2.2.(1d) they have introduced boot from SD, FlexFlash, this option was not available on the older versions of  UCS Manager.

If you are intreasted in this, and want to find how you can boot the ESXi or any other OS off the Secure Digital (SD)  FlexFlash  and how this can be implemented do check  my post  here: Cisco UCS FlexFlash Configuration of Secure Digital (SD) Card

So, for the newbee  to Cisco UCS,  its confusing about the firmware. In this post I am trying to clarify few aspects of this, feel free to post comment below if you have any questions and I will get back to you.

The CISCO UCS firmware is bundled into two packages as given below:

ucs_firmware

 

1. Infrastructure Firmware

In Infrastructure Software firmware we update the firmware of the following

  • Cisco UCS Manager software
  •  Kernel and system firmware for the fabric interconnects
  •  I/O module firmware

2. Server Firmware

Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Server Software Bundle

  • CIMC firmware
  • BIOS firmware
  • Adapter firmware
  • Board controller firmware
  • Third-party firmware images required by the new server

This also includes the firmware of Adapter, BIOSFC Adapters,  HBA Option ROM, Storage, Controller, Local Disk

Cisco UCS C-Series Rack-Mount UCS-Managed Server Software

  • CIMC firmware
  • BIOS firmware
  • Adapter firmware
  • Board controller firmware
  • Third-party firmware images required by the new server

As most of you might be aware the UCS manager is the GUI Java based which allows you to fully manage the CISCO Unified Computing System.

Note I have noticed that the Java version  7 update 40 is only compatible with the UCS Manager. 

So, where does the UCS Manager run ?

This was one of my first questions, Well the Software of the UCS Manager runs on the FI ( Fabric Interconnect 62xx) as we have a pair of Fabric Interconnect it has got resilience.

The UCS System is designed to be highly scalable and available, so upgrading the firmware should not bring any outage to the environment. However Cisco still suggests to arrange a Change windows and get this done out of hours or the quite period of your business.

This UCS Manager is bundled in the Infrastructure Firmware Software along with the Kernal update of the FI which is the NXOS, Finally we have the I/O Module firmware which is a part of the Infrastructure firmware software too.

The Other Bundle is the Server Firmware which has the firmware for BIOS, the Blades, Adapter, Board controller etc.

If you want to learn more about the process of doing a Firmware update please checkout my link CISCO UCS Firmware Update Process

Hope this information is useful, feel free to comment.

Cisco UCS FlexFlash Configuration of Secure Digital (SD) Card

 Cisco UCS FlexFlash /SDCard Configuration for Booting Server Operating System.

As most of the Cisco UCS users might be aware that Cisco has now add a lot of improvements and new features on the latest upgrade 2.2(1e).

One of the feature which we have started using is Cisco FlexFlash which is an SD Card. Its fully support if you buy the SD  Card from Cisco and we can even do mirroring on the Flash cards for redundancy, we will be installing ESXi Server 5.5 on these blades after mirroring them.

So where and How to install the Secure Digital (SD) Card  ?

If the CISCO UCS B200 Blade is in the Chassis you will need to power it off and slide it out just half way through and you should find the SD Card slot on the left

 

cisco ucs sdcard slot

for more information on how about this can be found on the following link http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/unified_computing/ucs/hw/blade-servers/B200M3.html

As you might be aware that CISCO UCS blade is just as equal to a brick and all the configuration is done on the logical server called Service profile. you will need to create a new  / clone an existing Service profile template and modify with the below changes which I have shown below on this post.

You will have to create a boot policy with CD Drive (legacy ) and SD Card and Some time you may end up getting this error ‘ advanced boot or secure boot configuration cannot be applied to the specified server There are not enough resources overall ‘ if you see it follow my blog post.

I have to make you aware that if you want to use SD card with Mirroring or RAID 1 you have to create the following new policies and create a Boot policy as mentioned above.

1. Disk policy with Mirror and any configuration

Raid_policy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.   We have to create two Scrub policy under policy ( you can call it any thing you want which makes you understand what configuration you have selected)

  1. Flex Flash Scrub
  2. No Scrub

So where will you find the Flex Flash Controller?

Click on the Left pan on Equipment and Select the Chassis then the Server, on the right you will find the below details

click on Inventory and select the last tab which is Storage on the Storage tab you will find FlexFlash Controller

Note: this FlexFlash is only support if you are running 2.2 (d1) firmware.

(more…)

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