Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cisco UCS Pools, Policies, Profiles and Templates

As I discussed in my previous post on UCS Pools, a service profile is the glue that holds Cisco UCS together at the server level.  Without service profiles being associated to the hardware, the blades won't boot!  As with everything else UCS, there is an high level of customization power around service profiles.  The other day I mentioned on Twitter that there is an amazing number of knobs you can turn.  Think of Cisco UCS something like this:

How do make sense of all of this?  As tends to be my way, I'll start with some definitions and then glue them together into the concept.

Pools - A group of objects that will have a one to one (unique) relationship to a service profile.  Examples of this are UUID, MAC, WWPN, and even the physical server itself if you create pools of servers.  Like The Highlander, there can be only one!

Policies - A group of attributes or rules that will have a one to many relationship to the service profiles.  Examples of this would be boot order policy, VLAN and VSAN membership, etc.  Many blades can have this same value.

Templates - A template bundles together various features and attributes into a logical object that can be copied in a consistent way.  Examples of templates can be virtual nics (vNIC's) and hba's (vHBA's) and most importantly service templates.  Templates may also contain both policies and pools.

A mapping of all the objects into a service profile would look something like this:

(For those of you who don't get the Frankenstein, see my previous article on Pools here)

Now, not every server profile needs to be this complex.  Remember, there are three ways to give an object in UCS a value 1. Take the hardware defaults, 2. Manually override the hardware default, or 3. Pull your attributes from a pool/policy/template.

The really sexy part of all of this is the ability to configure all of your typical server deployment features into bundles that can easily be recreated and transferred from one blade to the next.  Need to configure one blade, no problem!  Need to configure 64 blades, no problem!  I have also started to investigate the world of scripting and XML API modification of the service profile objects.  Expect future updates on this subject as well.

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