UCS Product Overview – The Fabric Extenders (FEX)

Cisco UCS Fabric Extenders
The Fabric Extender (FEX ) component,  also referred to as the I/O Module (IOM), is the component used to extend the unified fabric from the Fabric Interconnects into the UCS 5100 Series Blade Server chassis.   Literally speaking – there is no switching happening between the Fiber Interconnects and the Fabric Extenders… the FEX are managed as an extension of the Interconnects.

The picture on the right shows the rear of the chassis with the fabric extenders inserted.  Each UCS 5100 chassis can support up to two fabric extenders.

UCS 2100 Series Fabric Extenders
The Cisco UCS 2104XP Fabric Extender is the first and currently the only product in the 2100 series.

• It has 4 GigE, FCoE capable, SFP+ ports (the ports shown in the picture above).
• This extender has 8 10GigE ports connected to the midplane to each half-width slot in the chassis.

Typically configured for redundancy, two FEX provide up to 80Gbps of I/O to the chassis.

Industry Standards
• IEEE 802.1p: CoS prioritization
• IEEE 802.1Q: VLAN tagging
• IEEE 802.3: Ethernet
• IEEE 802.3ad: LACP
• IEEE 802.3ae: 10 Gigabit Ethernet
• SFP+ support

UCS 2100 Series Fabric Extenders
The Cisco UCS 2208XP Fabric Extender is the first product in the UCS 2200 series.  This model has 8 10GigE Ethernet, FCoE-capable, SFP+ ports.  Each Cisco UCS 2208XP has 32 10GigE ports connected to the midplane to each half-width slot in the chassis.  Two of these FEX provide up to 160 Gbps of I/O to the chassis.

Check out the data sheets on Cisco.com for full specs.

Looking forward to looking at the UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis next…. 😀

Sayonara!

~

Gabe @ networkdojo.net

UCS Product Overview – The Fabric Interconnect

I want to start off with an overview the current UCS product line up… beginning with the fabric interconnects.   Listing it out this way is simply to help me quickly determine what differentiates one component from the next and learn the Unified Computing solution as a whole..  I will try to find and add prices so we can price out a solution.   So without further delay…

Cisco UCS6120XP 20-port (top) and 6140XP 40-port Fabric Interconnect (Bottom)

The Fabric Interconnects
What is the fabric interconnect?  The  interconnects provide a management domain, I/O consolidation in a high capacity loss-less fabric, and network connectivity for all attached devices.  You might say that the interconnects are the communications core or backbone.  They are currently available in two models… the 6100 series and 6200 series.  I’ll review both.

Cisco UCS 6100 Series Fabric Interconnects

Model    Port         Size     Throughput                             Expansion slots
6120XP   20-port  1RU         520Gbps  (386.9mil packets)             1
6140XP   40-port  2RU        1.04Tbps                                                  2

Performance
● Cisco UCS 6120XP: Layer 2 hardware forwarding at 520 Gbps or 386.9 million packets per second (mpps)
● Cisco UCS 6140XP: Layer 2 hardware forwarding at 1.04 Tbps or 773.8 mpps
● MAC address table entries: 16,000
● Low-latency (3.2 ms port-to-port latency).

Layer 2
● Layer 2 interconnect ports and VLAN trunks
● IEEE 802.1Q VLAN encapsulation
● Support for up to 1024 VLANs and virtual SANs (VSANs) per interconnect
● Rapid Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus (PVRST+)
● Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) Versions 1, 2, and 3 snooping
● Cisco EtherChannel technology
● Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP): IEEE 802.3ad
● Advanced EtherChannel hashing based on Layer 2, 3, and 4 information
● Jumbo frames on all ports (up to 9216 bytes)
● Pause frames (IEEE 802.3x)

QoS
● Layer 2 IEEE 802.1p (class of service [CoS])
● Eight hardware queues per port
● Per-port QoS configuration
● CoS trust
● Per-port virtual output queuing
● CoS-based egress queuing
● Egress strict-priority queuing
● Egress port-based scheduling: Weighted Round-Robin (WRR)

High Availability
● Hot-swappable field-replaceable power supplies, fan modules, and expansion modules
● 1+1 power redundancy
● N+1 fan module redundancy

Cisco UCS 6200 Series Fabric Interconnects
Comes in a single model, the 48-port UCS6248XP

The UCS 6248UP 48-Port Fabric Interconnect

Management on Cisco UCS Manager
Performance
• Cisco UCS 6248UP: Layer 2 hardware forwarding at 960 Gbps or 714.24 million packets per second (mpps
• MAC address table entries: 32,000
• Low-latency cut-through design provides predictable, consistent traffic latency regardless of packet size, traffic pattern, or enabled features

Layer 2
• Layer 2 interconnect ports and VLAN trunk
• IEEE 802.1Q VLAN encapsulation
• Support for up to 1024 VLANs and virtual SANs (VSANs) per interconnect
• Rapid Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus (PVRST+)
• Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) Versions 1, 2, and 3 snooping
• Cisco EtherChannel technology
• Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP): IEEE 802.3ad
• Advanced EtherChannel hashing based on Layer 2, 3, and 4 information
• Jumbo frames on all ports (up to 9216 bytes)
• Pause frames (IEEE 802.3x)

Layer 3
• Layer 3-ready (with future Layer 3 expansion module and daughter card)

QoS
• Layer 2 IEEE 802.1p (class of service [CoS])
• Eight hardware queues per port
• Per-port QoS configuration
• CoS trust
• Per-port virtual output queuing
• CoS-based egress queuing
• Egress strict-priority queuing
• Egress port-based scheduling: Weighted Round-Robin (WRR)

High Availability
• Hot-swappable field-replaceable power supplies, fan modules, and expansion modules
• 1+1 power redundancy
• N+1 fan module redundancy

Management
• Interconnect management using redundant 10/100/1000-Mbps management or console ports
• All management provided through Cisco UCS Manager; please refer to the Cisco UCS Manager data sheet for more information about management interfaces

Low-Latency, Lossless 10 Gigabit Ethernet Unified Network Fabric
• PFC (per-priority pause frame support)
• Data Center Bridging Exchange (DCBX) Protocol
• IEEE 802.1Qaz: Bandwidth management
• Layer 2 multipathing (future)

Unified Ports
• All ports configurable as 1/10 Gigabit Ethernet or 8/4/2/1-Gbps Fibre Channel

Industry Standards
• IEEE 802.1p: CoS prioritization
• IEEE 802.1Q: VLAN tagging
• IEEE 802.1s: Multiple VLAN instances of Spanning Tree Protocol
• IEEE 802.1w: Rapid reconfiguration of Spanning Tree Protocol
• IEEE 802.3: Ethernet
• IEEE 802.3ad: LACP
• IEEE 802.3ae: 10 Gigabit Ethernet
• SFP+ support
• RMON

So that the beast that is the Fiber Interconnect management consolidation on a super high performance fabric.  3 models .. the 6120XP, 6140XP and the 6248UP.

Next time I will discuss the Fabric extenders, the hardware component that links the Fabric Interconnect to the UCS 5108Blade Server Chassis or the rack mount servers.

Good nite folks!

Try out the Cisco UCS Manager, Emulator available for download at

Cisco Unified Computing System Platform Emulator