Recently we launched our FlashStack Converged Infrastructure (Read more about this here) with Cisco UCS blade server as compute, Cisco Nexus 5500UP series switches as network and Pure Storage FlashArray (FA-400 series) as the storage backend. The introductory solutions comprised of two main solutions:

  1. FlashStack CI for VMware vSphere 5.5 (Virtual Server Infrastructure (VSI))
  2. FlashStack CI for VMware Horizon View 6.0 (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI))

The blade servers were Cisco UCS B-series B200-M3 blade servers, with Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect 6248UP connected to Cisco Nexus 5500UP switches (See figure below). The hypervisor of choice was VMware ESXi 5.5U1.

Cisco UCS B-series B200-M3 blade servers

Figure: Architecture block diagram of FlashStack CI

This blog article and subsequent blogs will talk about some of the work that led to the development of the two solutions.

But first, let us get some of the basics out of the way, and answer few questions.

Q. Is Pure Storage certified on Cisco UCS Blade server platform?

A. Pure Storage is certified on Cisco UCS 2.1.2 onwards (in the 2.1 series) and Cisco UCS 2.2.2 (in the 2.2 series), the links for the HCL is listed below.

Q. Is Pure Storage FC and iSCSI both supported on Cisco UCS?

A. Yes, both FC and iSCSI are certified (see HCL above) and are deployed widely in our customer base.

Q. What are the other connectivity options supported on Pure Storage to Cisco UCS?

A. Traditional architecture with a Fibre channel SAN switch or Nexus 5500/5000 series 10G ethernet switch or a CAT 6k 10G switches is supported for FC and iSCSI connections.

Direct connect from Pure Storage FlashArray to the Cisco UCS fabric Interconnect (FI) is possible for both FC and iSCSI (appliance mode support). This is certified configuration along with iSCSI boot from SAN as well as FC boot from SAN. All these variations are deployed in several customers. We will talk in depth on this in later blogs.

Q. What are the special tweaks/tuning that were required to make Pure Storage work on Cisco UCS?

A. There is no special tweaks required, the combination works out of the box. The UCS deployment guides have the best practice recommendations for various OSes.

Q. Will Pure continue to support future versions of Cisco UCS firmware?

A. There are a lot of Pure Customers who use Cisco UCS as their compute and we want to assure them that we will always be current from Cisco UCS certification perspective. In short, Yes. Also it is one of the main criteria to be on the HCL.

Q. Is there any integration plans with Cisco UCS manager (UCSM) or UCS director?

A. Currently we don’t have any integration with UCSM. In the future we are planning to have UCS director integration, stay tuned on this.