Category Archives: UCS

Hybrid cloud recent solutions from Microsoft and VMWare – 2 different ends of the hybrid cloud spectrum

Public clouds have grown tremendously over the last few years and there are very few companies who do not use public cloud at this point. Even traditional enterprises with in-house data centers have some presence in the public cloud. I was looking at Amazon’s re:Invent conference details and I was amazed by the number of new services and enhancements that were announced this year.  It is very difficult for private clouds to keep up in pace with the new features of public cloud. There is no doubt that public clouds will overtake private clouds in the long term. Private clouds still have a wide deployment and there will be enough use cases for quite some time to deploy private cloud. The use cases includes regulated industries, compute needed in remote locations not having access to public cloud and some specialized requirements that public clouds cannot meet. For some enterprises, private cloud would make more sense from a costing perspective. Having hybrid cloud option is a safe bet for most companies as it provides the best of both worlds. I saw 2 recent announcements in hybrid cloud that captured my attention. One is Azure stack that allows running Azure stack in private cloud. Another is VMWare cloud on AWS that allows running entire VMware stack in AWS public cloud. I see these two services as 2 ends of the hybrid cloud spectrum. In 1 case, public cloud infrastructure software is made to run on private cloud(Azure stack) and in another case, private cloud infrastructure software is made to run on public cloud(Vmware cloud on AWS). In this blog, I have tried to capture more details on these 2 services.

Hybrid cloud

There are predominantly 2 options currently to run Private cloud. 1 option is to use vendor based cloud management software along with hardware from same vendor.

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Cisco UCS Platform Emulator

Earlier, I had written a blog on Cisco UCS automation using Python SDK. At that time, I used real UCS system to test my scripts. Cisco UCS PE(Platform Emulator) emulates UCSM(UCS Manager) software and we can run this as a VM. Different types of hardware(Fabric Interconnect, FEX/IOM, Servers, adapters, power supply) can be added to create a complex UCS system. We can do majority of the configurations and can trigger different conditions to see how UCSM reacts. Obviously, traffic related testing cannot be done with this. For scripting, UCS PE is a perfect solution. In this blog, I will cover what I did to get UCS PE up and running.


VMWare Player 6.05 running on Windows 7.


Download the PE zip files. I used version 2.2(3a). Unzip them and import into VMplayer. Choose the default configurations, 3 NAT interfaces are created by default.

Basic configuration:

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Ansible for Network Automation – Part 2

This blog is part of my series on Devops for Networking. In the previous blog, I covered basics of Ansible and how to get started with it. In this blog, I will cover a sample application that I wrote with Ansible. This Ansible application builds on UCS sdk utility that I covered in a previous blog. The UCS python utility displays the inventory of UCS system. I have made that utility as an Ansible module and extended the application to display the inventory of a list of UCS systems that are defined in the host list. This project is more to illustrate the usecase for Ansible.

The source code for the project can be found here. There are 3 files listed here:

getucs.yml - YAML file that defines the playbook
getucsinfo - New module that is defined. This file needs to be in "usr/share/ansible" - getucsinfo module uses functions in this library. This file needs to be in PYTHONPATH.The library provides utility functions to get UCS inventory.

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Cisco UCS automation using Python SDK

This blog is part of my series on Devops for Networking. In this blog, I will cover a brief overview of UCS management model, management tools and how to automate configuration and monitoring of Cisco UCS using Python SDK. UCS is Cisco’s Unified computing system that provides a tightly integrated compute, networking and storage solution.

UCS Management

Cisco UCS management information model is a hierarchical tree with each node in the tree representing either physical or logical entity. The node is referred to as MO(Managed object). Physical entities could be chassis, servers, switches and logical entities could be policies, service profiles etc. XML based interface is provided to set and get managed objects. Following picture shows a sample Management tree with Chassis, blades and adapters.

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