Design a Remote-Office or Branch-Office Data Center with Cisco

White Paper
Design a Remote-Office or Branch-Office Data
Center with Cisco UCS Mini
June 2016
© 2016 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public.
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Contents
Executive Summary ................................................................................................................................................. 3
Introduction .............................................................................................................................................................. 3
Cisco UCS Mini Solution Components .................................................................................................................. 4
Cisco UCS B200 M3 Blade Server ....................................................................................................................... 4
Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Card 1240 ................................................................................................................. 4
Cisco UCS Mini Blade Server Chassis ................................................................................................................. 4
Cisco UCS 6324 Fabric Interconnect .................................................................................................................... 4
Cisco UCS C240 M3 Rack Server ........................................................................................................................ 4
Cisco UCS VIC 1225: 10 Gigabit Ethernet Option ................................................................................................ 5
Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 ...................................................................................................................... 5
Design Considerations ............................................................................................................................................ 5
Solution Design ....................................................................................................................................................... 7
Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................................... 8
For More Information ............................................................................................................................................... 9
© 2016 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public.
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Executive Summary
This document describes a typical remote-office or branch-office (ROBO) data center deployment using Cisco
UCS® Mini. The design provides a cost-effective deployment of computing, storage, and networking resources all in
a single chassis using Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Release 2 features such as Windows File and Storage
services and Cisco UCS Mini.
This document provides a reference design that can be deployed in remote and branch offices using Cisco UCS
Mini and Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 File and Storage services. Typical remote and branch offices don’t
need lot of computing and storage capacity. It is, however, very important that remote- and branch-office IT
infrastructure be monitored and maintained by IT to help ensure business continuity, but deploying dedicated IT
staff in remote and branch offices does not make sense financially.
The design presented in this document shows how IT infrastructure in remote and branch offices can be simplified
by deploying Cisco UCS Mini for computing and Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 File and Storage services
running on Cisco UCS C240 M3 Rack Servers. With Cisco UCS Central Software in the data center managing
Cisco UCS Mini, the operational aspect of the ROBO IT infrastructure can be managed entirely from the data
center. Such a solution tremendously reduces both the capital expenditures (CapEx) and operating expenses
(OpEx) needed to manage the ROBO IT infrastructure.
Introduction
With Cisco UCS Mini, the Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS), originally designed for the data center,
is now optimized for ROBO, point-of-sale, and smaller IT environments, making it an excellent fit for supporting
your Microsoft workload needs. Cisco UCS Mini delivers servers, storage, and 10 Gigabit networking in an easy-todeploy, compact form factor. Expandable to 15 servers, Cisco UCS Mini provides a scalable solution with the
proven management simplicity of the Microsoft Tech Ed award-winning Cisco UCS Manager. If you have more
than one site, Cisco UCS Central Software provides multisite remote management, helping ensure server
consistency across every site: updating 100 sites is as easy as updating one site.
A highly manageable computing and networking platform, Cisco UCS Mini provides the optimal infrastructure for
deploying and managing a Microsoft-based IT environment: from Microsoft Active Directory to a Microsoft Hyper-V
based private cloud deployment.
Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 offers a wide variety of storage features and capabilities to address the storage
challenges faced by your organization. Whether you intend to use cost-effective industry-standard hardware for
most of your workloads, or SANs for your most demanding workloads, Windows Server 2012 R2 provides you with
a comprehensive set of features that can help you increase the return on all your storage investments.
Windows Server 2012 R2 is designed with a strong focus on storage capabilities: from the foundation of the
storage stack to improvements ranging from storage provisioning to the way that is clustered, transferred across
the network, and ultimately accessed and managed. With flexible capabilities that can be combined to meet your
business needs, Windows Server 2012 R2 storage solutions deliver the efficiency, performance, resiliency,
availability, and versatility you need at every level.
The combined power of Cisco UCS Mini computing and Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 File and Storage
services provides a solid infrastructure platform for ROBO applications. And with the powerful Cisco UCS
management framework, the solution is cost effective to deploy and manage.
© 2016 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public.
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Cisco UCS Mini Solution Components
Cisco UCS B200 M3 Blade Server
Delivering performance, versatility, and density without compromise, the Cisco UCS B200 M3 Blade Server
addresses a broad set of workloads, including IT and web infrastructure and distributed database, enterprise
resource planning (ERP), and customer relationship management (CRM) applications. The Cisco UCS B200 M3
server harnesses the power of the Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 v2 product family, with up to 768 GB of RAM,
two hard drives, and 10 Gigabit Ethernet, to deliver exceptional levels of performance, memory expandability, and
I/O throughput for almost all applications.
Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Card 1240
A Cisco innovation, the Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Card (VIC) 1240 is a 4-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel
over Ethernet (FCoE)–capable modular LAN on motherboard (mLOM) designed exclusively for the M3 generation
of Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers. When used in combination with an optional port expander, the Cisco UCS
VIC 1240 capabilities can be expanded to eight ports of 10 Gigabit Ethernet. With Receive-Side Scaling (RSS)–
enabled VIC, a Server Message Block (SMB) client can make use of multichannel-enabled SMB for data transfer.
Cisco UCS Mini Blade Server Chassis
The blade server chassis for the Cisco UCS Mini can accommodate up to eight half-width Cisco UCS B200 M3
Blade Servers. The 6-rack-unit (6RU) chassis can be mounted in an industry-standard 19-inch rack such as the
Cisco® R Series Racks, or it can be placed on any sturdy surface. Dual-voltage AC (100 to 120V and 200 to 240V)
DC power supplies make the Cisco UCS Mini ready for global deployment.
Cisco UCS 6324 Fabric Interconnect
The Cisco UCS 6324 Fabric Interconnect extends the Cisco UCS architecture into environments that require
smaller domains. Providing the same unified server and networking capabilities as the top-of-rack Cisco UCS 6200
Series Fabric Interconnects, the Cisco UCS 6324 Fabric Interconnect embeds the connectivity within the Cisco
UCS 5108 Blade Server Chassis to provide a smaller domain of up to 15 servers: 8 blade servers and up to 7
direct-connect rack servers.
Cisco UCS C240 M3 Rack Server
The Cisco UCS C240 M3 Rack Server (Figure 1) is designed for both performance and expandability over a wide
range of storage-intensive infrastructure workloads, from big data to collaboration. The enterprise-class Cisco UCS
C240 M3 server further extends the capabilities of the Cisco UCS portfolio in a 2RU form factor with the addition of
the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 and E5-2600 v2 product families, which deliver an outstanding combination of
performance, flexibility, and efficiency gains. The Cisco UCS C240 M3 offers up to two Intel Xeon processor E52600 or E5-2600 v2 processors, 24 DIMM slots, 24 disk drives, and four 1 Gigabit Ethernet LAN-on-motherboard
(LOM) ports to provide exceptional levels of internal memory and storage expandability and exceptional
performance.
© 2016 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public.
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Figure 1.
Cisco UCS Mini with Cisco UCS C240 M3 as SMB File Server
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Cisco UCS VIC 1225: 10 Gigabit Ethernet Option
The Cisco UCS VIC 1225 is a dual-port Enhanced Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP+) 10 Gigabit Ethernet and
FCoE–capable PCI Express (PCIe) card designed exclusively for Cisco UCS C-Series Rack Servers. With its halfheight design, the card preserves full-height slots in servers for third-party adapters certified by Cisco. It
incorporates next-generation converged network adapter (CNA) technology. The Cisco VIC 1225 supports the RSS
feature, which is used by the Microsoft Windows File and Storage service to enable the SMB multichannel feature.
This feature takes full advantage by aggregating all the available bandwidth for SMB traffic.
Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2
Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2, with its many unique features, has changed the way that operating systems
design storage, Hyper-V functions, and networking.
SMB 3.0 protocol introduced in Windows Server 2102 included many new features like SMB Transparent Failover,
SMB Multichannel, SMB Direct, and SMB Scale out for high availability, better performance and management.
The new and updated Windows File and Storage Services with SMB 3.02 protocol in Windows Sever 2012 R2
makes it easier and less expensive to set up rack servers such as the Cisco UCS C240 M3, because it is now
possible for applications like Hyper-V and SQL Server to access file shares over SMB 3.x protocol. Hyper-V can
store virtual machine files, such as configuration, Virtual hard disk (VHD) files, and snapshots, in file shares over
the SMB 3.0 protocol. SQL Server can store user database files on SMB file shares.
Design Considerations
Remote and branch offices typically have smaller numbers of users running a few main applications, with the
critical transactions occurring in the main data center. Remote and branch offices serve most data requirements
locally, but are connected to the data center through dedicated or other Internet connectivity options. The design of
this solution aims to provide a simple computing and storage architecture that serves applications that can use
locally cached data and coordinate with data center applications for business-critical transactions.
© 2016 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public.
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The storage subsystem design uses the file server feature of Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 to provide costeffective SMB file share for storing virtual machines files running on the Cisco UCS B200 M3 computing blades in
the Cisco UCS Mini chassis. The Hyper-V role in Windows Server 2012 R2 is enabled to provide the virtualization
platform on Cisco UCS B200 M3 blade servers.
Cost and ease of management are the main criteria for this design. With the Cisco UCS Mini chassis, you can
scale to up to 15 servers to serve typical ROBO computing requirements. The Cisco UCS C240 M3 provides up to
240 terabytes (TB) of raw storage capacity. By mixing disks such as SSD, SAS, and SATA media, you can achieve
an optimal balance between cost and performance.
With cost-effective infrastructure, you can reduce CapEx. However, you should not have to spend a lot of time
maintaining this infrastructure, because doing so negates the benefits gained through reduced CapEx. With Cisco
UCS Central Software, you can manage the Cisco UCS Mini solution as a domain within Cisco UCS Central
Software. This approach allows you to employ a uniform management framework integrated with Microsoft System
Center 2012 R2.
Although the Cisco UCS C240 M3 provides RAID protection for the storage through the LSI MegaRAID controller,
the solution is unlike a traditional SAN, which has redundant storage controllers built in to protect from failures at
the controller level.
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Solution Design
The design in Figure 2 shows two Cisco UCS B200 M3 servers that are hosting a Microsoft Windows Server 2012
R2 Hyper-V cluster. Virtual machines are running on these Hyper-V clusters, which provide high-availability
capabilities for the hosted virtual machines. The Cisco UCS C240 M3 connected to Cisco UCS Mini over the 10Gbps link acts as an SMB file share for storing virtual machine Hyper-V virtual hard disk (VHDX) files as well as
any virtual machine–related data files. Windows Server 2012 R2 runs on the Cisco UCS B200 M3 blades installed
on the local disks with a RAID 1 configuration. The shared disk for the cluster configuration is provided by the SMB
share.
Figure 2.
Physical Design of Cisco UCS Mini with Cisco UCS C240 M3
Figure 3 shows the logical design of the proposed solution. The Cisco UCS C240 M3 is configured as the Microsoft
Windows SMB file server. The Cisco UCS 240 M3 can host up to 24 SFF SAS disks, which can be both SSD and
SAS disks. In the design, three virtual disks are configured using an LSI MegaRAID card on the Cisco UCS C240
M3. A RAID 1 virtual disk is used for hosting the Windows Server 2012 R2 OS for the Cisco UCS C240 M3.
The RAID 5 virtual disks are used for SMB file shares. Two RAID volumes are created here: one for storing virtual
machine VHDX files, and another for storing virtual machine–specific data. SMB file shares are created and
presented to Hyper-V and virtual machines running on the Cisco UCS B200 M3.
Because there are two 10-Gbps links between the Cisco UCS C240 M3 and the Cisco UCS Mini chassis, the SMB
multichannel function is automatically configured to use the full bandwidth of both links. With this configuration, you
can achieve up to 2 GB of storage bandwidth.
In this design, Microsoft Windows infrastructure management components such as Active Directory and the
domain controller are outside the scope of this solution and are assumed to be provided separately.
© 2016 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public.
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Figure 3.
Logical Configuration of the Individual Components
Conclusion
Cisco UCS Mini offers an excellent self-sufficient infrastructure solution for remote and branch offices that meets
both computing and networking requirements. With Cisco UCS C240 M3 servers using Microsoft Windows Server
2012 R2 File and Storage services features, you can design a cost-effective storage solution for to serve the Cisco
UCS Mini computing stack without any additional infrastructure. With Cisco UCS Central Software, the solution is
cost effective to deploy and manage. This complete end-to-end ROBO solution looks like an extension of the main
data center infrastructure from the deployment and management perspectives.
© 2016 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public.
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For More Information
●
Cisco UCS mini
http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/servers-unified-computing/ucs-mini/index.html
●
Cisco UCS 240 M3 Rack Server
http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/servers-unified-computing/ucs-c240-m3-rack-server/index.html
●
Microsoft Windows 2012 R2 File and Storage Services
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831487.aspx
Printed in USA
© 2016 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public.
C11-734147-01
06/16
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