Yesterday I posted about Cisco UCS supporting RDMA (SMB Direct) with firmware version 2.2(4b)B. Walter Dey, former Cisco Distinguished Engineer at Cisco informed me not only about the RDMA feature he also showed me that Cisco UCS now supports Consistent Device Naming which was introduced with Windows Server 2012. Consistent Device Naming (CDN) allows Ethernet interfaces to be named in a consistent manner. This makes Ethernet interface names more persistent when adapter or other configuration changes are made. To use CDN in Cisco UCS you need to run firmware version 2.2(4b)B. This will help to make it a lot easier to identify network interfaces used with Windows Server 2012 R2 and Hyper-V.
As you may know we use SMB as the storage protocol for several Hyper-V deployments using Scale-Out File Server and Storage Spaces which adds a lot value to your Hyper-V deployments. To boost performance Microsoft is using RDMA or SMB Direct to accelerate Storage network performance.
RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) allows direct memory access over an Ethernet network. RoCE is a link layer protocol, and hence, it allows communication between any two hosts in the same Ethernet broadcast domain. RoCE delivers superior performance compared to traditional network socket implementations because of lower latency, lower CPU utilization and higher utilization of network bandwidth. Windows Server 2012 and later versions use RDMA for accelerating and improving the performance of SMB file sharing traffic and Live Migration. If you need to know more about RDMA or SMB Direct checkout my blog post: Hyper-V over SMB: SMB Direct
With Cisco UCS Manager Release 2.2(4), Cisco finally supports RoCE for SMB Direct. It sends additional configuration information to the adapter while creating or modifying an Ethernet adapter policy.
Guidelines and Limitations for SMB Direct with RoCE
- SMB Direct with RoCE is supported only on Windows Server 2012 R2.
- SMB Direct with RoCE is supported only with Cisco UCS VIC 1340 and 1380 adapters.
- Cisco UCS Manager does not support more than 4 RoCE-enabled vNICs per adapter.
- Cisco UCS Manager does not support RoCE with NVGRE, VXLAN, NetFlow, VMQ, or usNIC.
- You can not use Windows Server NIC Teaming together with RMDA enabled adapters in Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 or you will lose RDMA feature on these adapters.
- Maximum number of queue pairs per adapter is 8192.
- Maximum number of memory regions per adapter is 524288.
- If you do not disable RoCE before downgrading Cisco UCS Manager from Release 2.2(4), downgrade will fail.
Checkout my post about Hyper-V over SMB:
As I already mentioned I did several Hyper-V and Microsoft Windows Server projects with Cisco UCS. With Cisco UCS you can now configure stateless offloads for NVGRE traffic which is needed for Hyper-V Network Virtualization.
Cisco UCS Manager supports stateless offloads with NVGRE only with Cisco UCS VIC 1340 and/or Cisco UCS VIC 1380 adapters that are installed on servers running Windows Server 2012 R2 operating systems.
To use this you have to create Ethernet Adapter Policy, and set the Configuring an Ethernet Adapter Policy to Enable Stateless Offloads with NVGREin the Resources area:
- Transmit Queues = 1
- Receive Queues = n (up to 8)
- Completion Queues = # of Transmit Queues + # of Receive Queues
- Interrupts = # Completion Queues + 2
And in the Option area set the following settings:
- Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation = Enabled
- Interrupt Mode = Msi-X
Make also sure you have installed eNIC driver Version 126.96.36.199 or later.
At the Worldwide Partner Conference 2014 Cisco and Microsoft announced a multi-year sales and go-to-market agreement designed to modernize data centers through the delivery and acceleration of integrated solutions. This will focus on bringing a deeper integration between the datacenter technologies of both companies. This includes Cisco UCS and Nexus products as well as Microsoft’s CloudOS solutions based Windows Server, Hyper-V, System Center, SQL Server and Microsoft Azure.
- Cisco and Microsoft agree to a three-year go-to-market plan focused on transforming data centers through the delivery of integrated solutions for enterprise customers and service providers.
- In year one, the companies will focus on six countries — the United States, Canada, UK, Germany, France, and Australia — with expansion to additional countries in the following years.
- Cisco and Microsoft will align partner incentive programs to accelerate solutions selling via mutual channel partners.
- Cisco and Microsoft sales teams will work together on cloud and data center opportunities, including an initial program focused on the migration of Windows 2003 customers to Windows 2012 R2 on the Cisco UCS platform.
- Integrated solutions will focus on private cloud, server migration, service provider, and SQL Server 2014
- Cisco technologies to include Cisco UCS, Cisco Nexus switching, Cisco UCS Manager with System Center integration modules, and Cisco PowerTool.
- Cisco-based integrated infrastructure solutions will include FlexPod with NetApp and Cisco Solutions for EMC VXPEX.
- Microsoft technology includes Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, PowerShell, Microsoft Azure and SQL Server 2014
- Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure and Cisco InterCloud Fabric to be integrated in the solutions in future releases
Source and More information: www.streetinsider.com
As you may know I am a Microsoft MVP and a Cisco Champion and I really like doing project with Cisco Hardware since they do a lot of integration with the Microsoft Stack especially System Center and PowerShell. In my opinion this could be a strong partnership and will make life of a lot of people a lot easier.
I feel honored to be awarded by Cisco with the Cisco Champion title. Cisco does a lot of great products and I focused on the datacenter solutions which Cisco offers with their Cisco UCS platform and the Microsoft solutions, such as the System Center Integration and the Cisco UCS PowerShell Module.
Passionate Experts, Global Champions for Change
What makes a Cisco Champion? Passion, plus a desire to share their perspectives with the community. There are Cisco Champions all over the world. They represent a variety of segments across the IT industry. And they offer their time to help others learn about Cisco and connect with Cisco in unique ways.
In addition to sharing their insights and expertise, Cisco Champions make a difference by:
- Supporting their peers in social communities, forums, and networks
- Sharing their relevant experiences and thoughts on Cisco blogs
- Providing valuable feedback directly to Cisco
- And more
Cisco Champions have a unique opportunity to contribute to and enhance the way people use the latest technologies. They also receive:
- Recognition for their contributions
- Invitations to exclusive events
- Opportunities to directly communicate with Cisco employees
In the Microsoft world PowerShell is the tool to automate everything especially in your datacenter. I already mentioned that Cisco offers some great enhancements for the Microsoft Datacenter stack. If you are using a Cisco UCS solution you can integrate System Center Virtual Machine Manager, Orchestrator and others. But Cisco does also offer a PowerShell module for the UCS called Cisco UCS PowerTool. The UCS PowerTool allows you to automate management and deployment tasks very easily via Windows PowerShell. By the way, one of the coolest features in the Cisco UCS PowerTool is the ConvertTo-UCScmdlet.
Cisco announced the UCS Power Scripting Contest
Everyone is invited to share their scripts and possibly win some prizes by entering the UCS Power Scripting Contest on the Cisco Communities. The contest will run until May 11th. A distinguished panel of judges (Jeffery Snover, Rob Willis, Don Jones, Hal Rottenberg and Thomas Maurer) along with other members of the community will select the grand prize winner from a set of five finalists.
I am proud to be one of the Distinguished Judges for the UCS Power Scripting Contest and I hope we will see some great solutions. To get more information about the contest check out the Cisco Blog from Bill Shields and the UCS Power Scripting Contest website.
This week I had a chance to be part of a Cisco UCS course and the trainer Walter Dey (ex Cisco Distinguished Engineer) showed me a great feature in the Cisco UCS PowerShell Module called Cisco UCS PowerTools. The Convertto-UCSCmdlet allows you to record the things you do in the UCS Manager (GUI) and converts this into Windows PowerShell cmdlets.
To use this, this is pretty simple first install the UCS PowerTools and Connect to your UCS with the same user you connect to the UCS Manager. Checkout my blog post about the Cisco UCS PowerTools.
After that run the cmdlet:
After that open the UCS Manager session and do the steps you want to recored.
I have to say, this is just great feature included in the Cisco UCS PowerTools.
My name is Thomas Maurer. I am a Senior Cloud Advocate at Microsoft. I am part of the Azure engineering team (Cloud + AI) and engage with the community and customers around the world. I am located in Switzerland. I am focusing on Microsoft technologies, especially cloud and datacenter solutions based on Microsoft Azure, Azure Stack and Windows Server. Opinions are my own.