C-Series Rack Mount Server

C-Series are rack mount or standalone servers from Cisco. I will describe the C200 M2 as this server is mostly on the exam:

  • 1 or 2 Intel Xeon Processors (5500, 5600). Supports many flavours of these processors.
  • 12 DIMM slots for 192 GB of RAM
  • Integrated Dual-Port Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Up to 8 Hot Swappable  hard drives with full raid support
  • UCS Integrated Management Controller. This is standalone server it has its management interface and this its name
  • Redundant Fans and Power Supplies
  • 2 PCIe 2.0 slots. These are used when you want to have converged fabric with FCoE for example

Wait a second. This is not it. There are many other c-series servers in Cisco offer. When you go to cisco.com and navigates through the Products->Servers->C-Series you can see all the products. Notice that they are organized into Enterprise-Critical, then Enterprise-Class and then Scale-Out.I have just checked and I see there is no C200 M2 in offer nowadays. Wait for pass4sure to check what server is most questioned and look at it.

Installing the C-Series Rack-Mount Server

When it comes to physically installing and mounting the server into the rack, Cisco provides step-by-step guide. Go to Support->All Product->Servers-Unified Computing->UCS-C-Series Rack Servers->Instalation and Upgrade guides->Choose your server type->Installing the server

We read the install guide and the server is now in the rack. We continue with the installing:

  1. Press Power
  2. Wait for prompt then press F8 to access the access the BIOS Cisco Integrated Management Controller (CIMC) Configuration Utility
  3. Set the NIC Mode from the management point of view, which is: (check the screen below how it looks like)
    1. Dedicated 10/100 management port – when you select this, you want to use this Single Dedicated port to configure and interact with the device. Notice when you use this NIC mode there is NO redundancy and you cannot choose any other option
    2. Shared LOM (Default) – when you use this mode you have to select the redundancy. By default you have active-active selected.
    3. Cisco Card – you want to use the Cisco UCS VIC installed into the PCIe slot 6 of the server. The only supported card for this is the Cisco UCS P81E VIC card. (nugget video is saying that, maybe there is some new in the marked already). This is very strict requirement and if you go with this option you have to choose the redundancy mode.
  4. Set the NIC Redundancy:
    1. None
    2. Active-Standby
    3. Active-Active
  5. DHCP – by default is utilized!
  6. VLAN – what VLAN you gonna use for management

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Updating the Firmware

There is a lot that can be updated on this C-Series device. Cisco utilizes the Host Upgrade Utility to easy the firmware update. Without that you would need to upgrade all the specific hardware one by one. So what does this utility specifically upgrade? Lets check that:

  • CIMC
  • System BIOS
  • LAN on Motherboard
  • RAID Controllers
  • Interface Cards:
    • UCS P81E Cards
    • Some Broadcome Adapters
    • Some Intel Adapters

Where do I get that awesome thing? Go to cisco.com->Support->Downloads->All Download->Servers-Unified Computing->UCS-C-Series Rack Mount Stand-alone servers->Choose your type->Unified Computing System (UCS) Server Firmware->Here you see the image. Check the screen below for more info. Notice the naming convention! ucs-c200-huu-1.4.3x.iso. huu stands for Host Upgrad Utility.

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How you gonna upgrade the stand-alone C-Series server? You access the server IP you configured in the installing step (by default this is DHCP). This will prompt you the CIMC. Then you:

  1. Log in
  2. Choose the Servers and under that Remote presence
  3. Enable vKVM properties
  4. Target Virtual Media TAB so you can add the image to virtual CD-ROM
  5. Go to Summary under the Servers TAB
  6. Launch KVM Console
  7. After launch you have two tabs. KVM and VM. VM stands for Virtual Media where you mount your ISO file.
  8. Under the KVM your update will iniciate. Its absolutely stupid-proofe you just accept the terms of license and follow the wizard.

Check the screens of firmware upgrade via the host upgrade utility. First shows the CIMC management tool and the second Launch KVM Window.

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