UCS C-Series Servers Architecture

UCS C-Series Rack Servers extend unified computing innovations to an industry-standard form factor. These servers operate in both standalone environments and as part of the Cisco Unified Computing System. The C-Series incorporates all the key technological innovations of the B-Series like standards-based unified network fabric, Cisco VN-Link virtualization support, and Cisco Extended Memory Technology. They can be mixed and matched with the B-Series servers.


C-Series can be one, two or four RU high depending on model. I will describe the C210 Server.

UCS C210

The Cisco UCS C210 is a two RU high-capacity server with two Westmere-EP/Nehalem-EP sockets. It is a general-purpose server for workloads requiring economical, high-capacity, internal storage. In the figure below you can see front view:

  • The optional DVD-RW unit
  • The power button (it acts also as reset) and LED
  • The UID (Unit IDentification) button and LED
  • The status LEDs (PSU, Mem, CPU, and NIC)
  • The same console dongle connector used on the B-Series servers.
  • On the bottom, there are the sixteen bays for the 2.5” SAS-2 and SATA-2 drives that are hot swappable from the front of chassis.


The rear view of C210 includes:

  • The UID LED
  • Two USB v2.0 ports
  • A 10/100BaseT Out-of-Band management interface
  • A DB15 video port
  • A DB9 serial port
  • Two 10/100/1000BaseT LOM (LAN ON Motherboard) interfaces based on Intel 82576 NIC
  • Five standard high PCIe Slots two full-length slots, three half-length slots. All the slots have x8 PCIe Gen 2 interface, with x16 connectors



All Cisco UCS C-Series Rack Servers are equipped with a Cisco Integrated Management Controller (CIMC). The CIMC is Cisco’s version of the Baseboard Management Controller (BMC), a Service Processor, and it is the primary component responsible for the remote management of the server. The CIMC was designed with UCS Manager in mind: It provides the same look and feel as UCS Manager, without breaking any rack server management processes currently in place in customer datacenters.

Depending on the model, the UCS C-Series Servers have one (C200 and C210) or two (C250 and C460) management ports connected to the CIMC. Multiple management interfaces allow for redundant management traffic paths, which reduce the risk of losing connectivity to the CIMC and the management capabilities in case of a failure. The CIMC is compliant with standards-based Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) Specification v2.0. Any third-party products or custom-built solutions that support IPMI v.2.0 can both monitor and manage the C-Series. The CIMC also provides additional functionality and interfaces like KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse, and Virtual Media), web-based User Interface, CLI (SMASH), SoL, and SNMP. The C-Series also provides physical ports for connection of local Keyboard, Video, and Mouse.

 The CIMC incorporates a similar firmware management concept as the UCS Manager, with two images, one active and one backup (Ready). The new firmware image is always uploaded to the non-active image.

Please note that the CIMC box is a hardware component on the baseboard of the C-Series, while the Operating System box is a user-installed OS with agents located on a local hard disk or a SAN LUN.

The C-Series is a part of the UCS family, but in 2010, the UCS Manager manages the B-Series only and for C-Series you had to use the CIMC. Now you can use UCS for both.