Data Centers

Pro tip: Configure ports for the Cisco UCS B-Series blades environment

This walk-through on configuring Cisco UCS B-Series blade servers will help you get them up and running and connected to your IP and storage networks.

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Cisco UCS B-Series
 Image: Cisco

I've taken you through racking and stacking Cisco UCS B-Series blade servers and provided an overview of UCS Manager. In this article, we'll start doing some of the configuration necessary to get the blades not only up and running, but also connected to your IP and storage networks so you can actually use them.

How to configure Cisco UCS servers

By this point, you should have all your networking and storage cables connected, and the blades and fabric interconnects powered on. All of this configuration will take place in the UCS Manager, so make sure you can also get to that using a browser to go to the cluster IP of the fabric interconnects. This article will focus on configuring the ports properly on the fabric interconnects.

Let's start by clicking Fabric Interconnect A so we can configure the ports and get network and storage connected. The ports you have connected to the chassis (perhaps via Twinax) will be configured as server ports. I'll be using the first four ports on each fabric interconnect to connect to the chassis in this example. You can either select the port from the tree or double click it in the picture; this will bring up the port's Properties. Click the Reconfigure link (Figure A) and then select Configure As Server Port. You'll do this for each port on both fabric interconnects.

Figure A

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Then we'll configure the uplink ports, or the ports that connect to your network switches in the same way — except this time we'll select Configure As Uplink Port from the menu. You'll need to find out from your network administrator how the connections are configured. For example, if the network admin configured them to use LACP, then we'll want to create a Port Channel from within the UCSM. We can do this by clicking the LAN tab and expanding Fabric A under LAN Cloud. Then right-click Port Channels and select Create Port Channel (Figure B). You can then name it and pull the uplink ports into the port channel. This will also need to be done on both fabrics.

Figure B

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Now we can move on to configuring the storage ports. Click the Equipment tab again and select Fabric Interconnect A. Then click the Configure Unified Ports action (Figure C). This will bring up a new window that shows a picture of your fabric interconnect with a slider under it. Click the slider and drag it left to assign these ports for storage. For example, if I'm going to have four fibre channel ports connected to my storage array I will drag the slider to the left as shown in Figure C. As you can see, it gives the selected ports a purple color. Please note that configure storage ports will require a reboot of the fabric interconnect. So you may want to put in a few extra so you don't need to restart later when you add more bandwidth.

Figure C

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At this point we can click Chassis1 in the Equipment tab (Figure D) and click the Acknowledge Chassis action. Then we can click Equipment at the top level of the tree and select the Policies tab and then Global Policies. From here we see the Chassis/FEX Discovery Policy. This setting will depend on how you'd like to configure your chassis to connect to the FEXs. I usually choose the number of links I actually have connected (again, usually via TwinAx) and then select the Port Channel option.

Figure D

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At this point we're done configuring the ports and we'll be able to go on to creating various pools and finally the service profiles.

This article is meant to be a supplement to official Cisco documents. Please consider reading all of the available documentation. If you have questions or comments please post them in the discussion.

About

Lauren Malhoit has been in the IT field for over 10 years and has acquired several data center certifications. She's currently a Technology Evangelist for Cisco focusing on ACI and Nexus 9000. She has been writing for a few years for TechRepublic, Te...

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