Home > cisco, Hardware refresh > A Major Milestone Has Been Reached!!

A Major Milestone Has Been Reached!!

We did it, and we did it early.  We completed the move of our existing VMware infrastructure onto the Cisco UCS platform.    At the same time, we also moved from ESX 3.5 to vSphere.  All-in-all, everything is pretty much working.  The only outstanding issue we haven’t resolved yet involves Microsoft NLB and our Exchange CAS/HUB/OWA servers.  NLB just doesn’t want to play nice and we don’t know if the issue is related more to vSphere, UCS, or something else entirely different.

Next up: SQL Server clusters, P2Vs, and other bare metal workloads.

SQL Server migrations have already started and are going well.  We have a few more clusters to build and that should be that for SQL.

P2Vs present a small challenge.  A minor annoyance that we will have to live with is an issue with VMware Converter.  Specifically, we’ve run into a problem with resizing disks during the P2V process.  The process fails about 2% into the conversion with an “Unknown Error”.  It seems a number of people have also run into this problem and the workaround provided by VMware in KB1004588 (and others) is to P2V as-is and then run the guest through Converter again to resize the disks.  This is going to cause us some scheduling headaches, but we’ll get through it.   Without knowing the cause, I can’t narrow it down to being vSphere or UCS related.  All I can say is that it does not happen when I P2V to my ESX 3.5 hosts.  Alas, they are HP servers.

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We’ve gone all-in with Cisco and purchased a number of the C-Series servers, recently deploying a few C-210 M2 servers to get our feet wet.  Interesting design choices to say the least.  I will say that they are not bad, but they are not great either.   My gold standard is the HP DL380 server line and as compared to the DL380, the C-210 needs a bit more work.  For starters, the default drive controller is SATA, not SAS.  I’m sorry, but I have a hard time feeling comfortable with SATA drives deployed in servers.  SAS drives typically come with a 3yr warranty; SATA drives typically have a 1yr warranty.  For some drive manufacturers, this stems from the fact that their SAS drives are designed for 24/7/365 use, but their SATA drives are not.

Hot Plug fans?  Nope..These guys are hard-wired, and big.   Overall length of the server is a bit of a stretch too, literally.   We use the extended width/depth HP server cabinets and these servers just fit.   I think the length issue stems from the size of the fans (they are big and deep) and some dead space in the case.  The cable arm also sticks out a bit more than I expected.  With a few design modifications, the C-210 M2 could shrink three, maybe four inches in length.

I’ll post some updates as we get more experience with the C-Series.

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