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Expert Reference Series of White Papers

Virtualizing Your
Cisco Unified
with Cisco UCS

All rights reserved. jitter. MCT. Now. Between having dozens of racks filled with hundreds and even thousands of servers. However. MCITP.. CCSI. and let’s face it. Do you manage a complex Cisco Unified Communications environment? If you do. like this. there has to be a better way of doing things. there are tactics that we implement for Unified Communications. Hall. at the end of the day. Datacenter Support Specialist. all of these packets still have to compete with the many other types of traffic in your datacenter infrastructure. MCSE Introduction Datacenters can be really interesting places to see. CCNP Security.Virtualizing Your Cisco Unified Communications with Cisco UCS Jeffrey W. CCNP Voice. 2 . then you’re already fully aware of how sensitive real-time traffic. VCI. like this: or nice and neat. and packet loss. throw this system into the same infrastructure with the rest of your data. CCDP.. Sure. we’ll start with a couple of short primers on the Cisco UCS and Unified Communications. or the out-of-control heating and cooling costs that we’re incurring. a simpler architecture is a faster and more easily managed architecture. such as dedicated voice VLANs and Quality of Service mechanisms like Low Latency Queuing. CCIP. This white paper highlights the advantages of virtualizing your Cisco Unified Communications using the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS). VCP4. are to such things as latency. Whether your datacenter looks disastrous. …it is clear that the traditional datacenter design methodologies are outdated. CCNP. such as voice and video. and you don’t always have the best recipe for success. Copyright ©2011 Global Knowledge Training LLC. To fully appreciate these benefits. many thousands of feet in cabling.

the Cisco UCS is an innovative architecture designed from scratch to be highly scalable. centralized management. BIOS. Cisco 2100-series Fabric Extenders 4. a single cable is used for all signaling transmissions. coherent system: 1. So. we can use “service profiles” that represent the physical characteristics of a server that make it unique from other servers (MAC address. Cisco UCS Converged Network Adapters (CNA) 7. Copyright ©2011 Global Knowledge Training LLC. we can achieve a stateless server capability by moving the identity of a server (profile) to any physical blade server when needed. Here to stay is a unified architecture that offers these key features: 1. 3 . as long as the individual blade servers are booting from either a PXE Server or doing a SAN boot. regardless of whether it’s data or storage. Storage Instead of being simply the next generation of blade servers. Cisco UCS 5100-series Blade Server Enclosures 3. WWN. UUID. boot order. Hardware State Abstraction With Cisco UCS. efficient. Cisco UCS C-Series Rack-mounted Servers 6. Computing 2. we can replicate the same capability within Ethernet that Fiber Channel already has of ensuring that frames are never dropped.The Unified Computing System The Cisco UCS is truly a “unified” architecture that integrates three major datacenter technologies into a single. etc. Cisco UCS Manager Gone are the days of disparate (siloed) systems all across the datacenter with their many different management tools and networking infrastructure. Additionally. Network 3. The net effect of this is dramatically reduced power and cooling costs and easier. All rights reserved. and powerful with one-third less infrastructure than traditional blade servers. We are then able to attach these service profiles to individual servers. Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers 5. Unified Fabric that provides “Lossless” connectivity Within the UCS architecture. Cisco 6100-series Fabric Interconnects 2.). The Cisco UCS is made up of the following major components: 1. 2. through the use of Priority-Based Flow Control (PFC).

etc. Expanded memory One of the key performance enhancements in Cisco UCS is the ability to virtualize the physical memory installed in the server DIMM slots. This capability allows for the “stateless” capability that was previously mentioned. identity of endpoints. Likewise. This is a significant technology. These management capabilities provide a very powerful and centralized management functionality that is simply not present in other vendor solutions. Copyright ©2011 Global Knowledge Training LLC. such as fax machines and overhead paging solutions. a very powerful Command-Line Interface (CLI) is provided as is an XML Application Programming Interface (API). etc. 5. 4 . While the Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) is at the heart of Cisco’s UC design. Today. All rights reserved. Music on Hold (MoH). since it allows us to use cheaper memory and still achieve a greater memory footprint. there are specific PCIe adapters within the C-Series servers and mezzanine adapters within the B-Series blade servers that allow for multiple virtual network adapters (vNICs) to be present over the single physical network adapters. For example. trunks. Unified management The Cisco UCS Manager (UCSM) allows for many blade servers and their related networking and storage connectivity. a few of these additional server-based resources include: 1. there are many additional components that greatly increase the organization’s capabilities to stay connected. and the network adapters within the individual servers are no exception. pickup. conferencing. This virtualization allows us to increase the effective capability of the physical memory to four times the original capacity.. Virtualized adapters Virtualization is a key enabling technology within the Cisco UCS architecture. Back then.3. These newer IP-based PBXs fulfill exactly the same role as traditional PBXs by housing the dial plan. While there are multiple adapter models. to be managed within a single and very intuitive Graphical User Interface (GUI). and other communications configurations. Cisco Unified Communications Primer Modern business communication capabilities have evolved tremendously from the days of analog and digital telephony. device features like Call Park. 4. we relied on Private Branch Exchanges (PBXs) located physically at each site to control the analog and digital signaling for local phones and other devices. the implementation of server-based solutions based on the TCP/IP protocol suite has become standard practice. gateways. the PBX also defined and controlled the signaling of external trunks to the telephony carrier’s central office (CO).. Additionally. regardless of whether it’s Ethernet or Fiber Channel. Cisco Unified Presence This feature-rich UC component uses standards-based protocols such as the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and the Jabber Extensible Communications Platform (XCP) to work with a range of native and third-party client applications.

All rights reserved. 4. The only hypervisor supported initially is VMware vSphere ESXi version 4. etc. Cisco Unified Contact Center This powerful set of products comes in two variations: 1. Cisco Unity Connection 8. Cisco Unified Personal Communicator.0(2) 2. Unity Connection provides speech recognition features for mobile users.Users are able to initiate such activities as instant messaging. Cisco Unity Connection Cisco Unity Connection is a Linux-based appliance that provides a robust unified messaging platform for Cisco’s Unified Communications suite of products. UC on UCS Requirements Cisco supports virtualizing your Unified Communications solutions on the UCS system. using his/her email inbox. ensuring the user can safely and quickly manage and access voicemail while driving. Additionally.0(1) 4. virtualized deployment is fully supported. when installed on the Cisco UCS architecture. Cisco Unified Presence lays the foundation to deliver enterprise IM and Cisco rich. As of version 8. Cisco Unified Presence 8. or corporate departments requiring a sophisticated customer interaction management solution for up to 400 agents Cisco’s UC products have evolved over the years from Windows applications installed on Microsoft Server platforms to predominantly appliance-based solutions installed on Linux platforms. Dedicated CPU/RAM/Storage is required for the VMs. call treatment. and web collaboration.0(2) 5. Cisco Unity 7. phone control. smartphone.0(2) 2.0(2). web browser. presence. but the most dramatic improvements can be seen in the most recent version of the Cisco UC. oversubscription is not yet supported. network-based. and user features have increased steadily with each release. Any other hypervisor versions. 5 . 2.Designed for midmarket. products or vendors are not supported. 3. 3. Cisco Unified IP Phone.x. Enterprise – Delivers intelligent contact routing. Unified Communications Manager 8. network. or otherwise preoccupied. visual voicemail. Copyright ©2011 Global Knowledge Training LLC. The included system. Unified Contact Manager Express 8. presence-enabled collaboration capabilities.x which includes more of the real-time enhancements required for UC than ESX. according to these requirements/considerations: 1. and multichannel contact management for large-scale enterprise deployments 2. network-to-desktop computer telephony integration (CTI). Bare-mental/physical/non-virtualized installs are not supported. video. currently in version 8. Cisco UC applications supported in a virtual environment include: 1. click to call. enterprise branch. This product allows the user to access and manage voice messages in a variety of ways. voice. Express -.0(2) 3.

) . VMware supported SAN storage is required. copy VM. In modern datacenters. restart VM. 7. templates. this resulted in equally excessive power and cooling costs. snapshots. Virtualization simplifies the way we do business Once again. Although it depends on the type and utilization of a particular application. virtualization of our datacenters represent a reduction in a company’s Capital Expenditures (CAPEX). Copyright ©2011 Global Knowledge Training LLC. These servers were extremely underutilized and collectively created excessive amounts of heat. but more significantly. this capability will certainly increase with each new version. 6. Application co-residency is not yet supported – the ultimate goal is “mix and match.” The result of this was many. their Operational Expenditures (OPEX). 10. etc. we have gone from large monolithic mainframe servers that process many applications to one that utilizes much cheaper and smaller servers used for individual applications. many servers added to our datacenter that each ran a single application. using the Cisco UCS. dependent on the model. Due to the drastic decrease in server prices over the years. DRM. However.” 8. 1-4 Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) Virtual Machines per server. The hardware BIOS. 6 . with MCS 7845 parity per VM (7. we are now able to virtualize these many servers onto a relatively few physical servers. HA. Only “Basic” features supported (e. 1. For our Unified Communications servers. 9. Since this heat had to be dissipated with appropriate cooling measures. we are currently able to virtualize up to four servers per physical host.g. vMotion. let’s take a closer look at why it’s really such a big deal that we can now deploy our Unified Communications products as part of our virtual infrastructure. a normal rule of thumb has shown that we can effectively virtualize 10-15 servers per physical host. All rights reserved. use incredibly large amounts of electrical power. now that we’ve discussed who the major players are. and drivers are managed by UCS and VMware.g.500 users). Lower CAPEX and OPEX Given that datacenters are incredibly expensive to run (they require expensive real estate. This change in datacenter design means that we have drastically increased the number of physical servers from a few large ones to hundreds and even thousands of very small ones. datacenters can be very interesting and challenging environments. “Advanced” features are deferred to future versions (e. not by CUCM..5. 2.. This created a problem known as “server sprawl. and have high operational costs). The boot order is controlled by the VMware virtual machine’s BIOS instead of by the CUCM Application. SRM). firmware. This represents a significant reduction in a datacenter’s footprint and heat generation. DPM. So What’s the Big deal? So.

which saves a significant amount of downtime. according to feedback from many companies. on average. if one of your Unified Communications servers crashes. This alone represents a savings of millions of dollars in a year’s time. we are able to take advantage of Unified Fabric and further reduce cabling requirements. With the Cisco UCS. We can then “associate” this service profile with any of the blade servers within the UCS 5108 chassis. In a traditional datacenter. lowers the power requirements. Through virtualization. cabling represents a HUGE investment in a typical datacenter. which raises the overall utilization significantly and. All rights reserved. Conversely. Additional benefits can be seen beyond the reduced power requirements. many smaller servers generate a LOT of heat. This represents a potentially significant outage for that UC device. When we virtualize our UC servers. we are able to reduce the physical cabling required to connect that server. resulting in greater productivity and profits from that server. if needed. we are able to create Service Profiles that represent the identity of the actual server. we can now combine many servers (10-15) onto a single physical server. This means that the instance of the UC application is always tied to that physical device. the failed virtual server will be automatically restarted. But what if that server hardware fails? This means that we are forced to endure some amount of outage until we can build a new server. we can simply associate our UC server with a new blade server. On traditional Cisco Media Convergence Servers (MCS). therefore. if your servers are using a large percentage of your datacenter’s power. like 75%. Likewise with these other operational costs. Licensing One of the great benefits that we’ll see when virtualizing our UC servers on the Cisco UCS platform is that we can achieve actual platform mobility.One of the highest operational costs within a datacenter is the servers themselves. Copyright ©2011 Global Knowledge Training LLC. 3. you normally must restart that device manually. we can provide Disaster Recovery by quickly failing over a virtual machine from a main production site to a secondary site while ensuring the VM remains active. Additionally. The yearly cooling costs are extremely expensive. • W  ith HA. 7 . but just as bad. strict formulas dictate that we can place only so many servers within so many of square feet in the datacenter. relative to running 10 to 15 separate servers. we are able to place a greater number of servers per square foot of the datacenter with reduced cooling requirements. By doing this. Improved Availability In a traditional datacenter. since we can send both LAN and Storage signaling over the same cables. For every server that is virtualized. then we have a very inefficient scenario. which must be dissipated via cooling efforts. when implemented within the Cisco UCS. • W  ith SRM. Modern single-purpose servers have been shown to only have 5-10% utilization. 4. we can take advantage of VMware’s great tools like High Availability (HA) and Site Recovery Manager (SRM). the UC license is tied to the physical server’s MAC address of the primary network interface card (NIC). This equates in a much more efficient datacenter that is more productive and profitable. By virtualizing these servers.

and savings. configuration templates are available that allow administrators to build and configure complex UC servers. Furthermore. SMTP server 10.ova extension. Certificate Information (Organization. All rights reserved. which requires the presence or availability of administrators or engineers with these specific skillsets. you may ask how this is possible when the UC license is tied to the physical NIC of the server. State. Hostname 5. NIC speed 4. Otherwise the customer must manually build OVA files that meet the indicated requirements. NTP server 3. performance. it can simply be associated with the Service Profile and applied to whichever physical blade server is needed. The OVF is an open standard for describing a virtual machine template. The Open Virtualization Archive (OVA) is an open standard to package and distribute these templates. we have seen the incredible benefits of not only optimizing our datacenters with the revolutionary new Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS). is the general complexity required to build and configure these applications properly. There is a considerable learning curve required. with the greatly increased Copyright ©2011 Global Knowledge Training LLC. Primary DNS 9. Gateway Address 8. With Cisco UCS. Within Cisco UCS. For most supported UC applications. we are able to build what’s called a “MAC license. 8 . To make things even easier. Unit. Location. Ease of installation in UCS using OVF templates One of the barriers to entry. Time zone 2. when it comes to UC servers.Of course. these templates are freely downloadable from Cisco. These templates will actually come with an . often with little to no knowledge of datacenter requirements to install UC applications. or Open Virtualization Format.” which is based on several configuration components of the UC server: 1. but further optimizing our Unified Communications infrastructure onto the UCS for even greater efficiency. IP Mask 7. 5. IP Address 6. The templates conform to an industry-recognized virtualization format called the OVF. With the advent of integrated solutions like the Cisco UCS. Country) Once the MAC license has been configured. a preconfigured OVA file is provided by Cisco and must be used. the datacenter has undergone a major paradigm shift in our methodology of both design and operational management. Summary In this white paper.

0 – Cisco IP Telephony part 2 CVOICEv8. Our courses and enhanced. to meet your IT and business training needs.0 – Integrating Cisco Unified Communications Applications VMware vSphere: Fast Track [V4. http://www.0 – Cisco IP Telephony part 1 CIPT2v8. Copyright ©2011 Global Knowledge Training LLC. http://www. Cisco TechWise networking_solutions_program_home. delivered through http://www. 9 .0 – Implementing Cisco Unified Communications Voice over IP and QoS and sharpen your competitive edge. References 1. we now know how important it is to make our datacenters as efficient as possible while still increasing performance and and On-site sessions. hands-on labs and exercises offer practical skills and tips that you can immediately put to use.html#archives-a-1 Learn More Learn more about how you can improve “Cisco DocWiki – Unified Communications Virtualization”. “Unified Communications on Cisco UCS: The final vDC frontier”. enhance efficiency. Our expert instructors draw upon their experiences to help you understand key concepts and how to apply them to your specific work situation. Choose from our more than 1. “Unified Communications Goes Global”.1] VMware vSphere: Install. All rights reserved.knowledge we have of the consequences of our designs to not only our bottom netsol/ns1067/index. but to the environment as well.200 4. “Cisco Unified Communications on the Cisco Unified Computing System”.html 3. Configure.1] For more information or to register. http://docwiki. e-Learning. By The Bell website.html 2. Manage [V4. visit www. Check out the following Global Knowledge course(s): DCUCI – Cisco Data Center Unified Computing Implementation DCUCD – Cisco Data Center Unified Computing Design or call 1-800-COURSES to speak with a sales representative.

S. CCDP. Unified Communications.About the Author Jeffrey Hall is an Independent Consultant and Instructor. Additionally. AT&T. Data Center Support Specialists. SBC. Copyright ©2011 Global Knowledge Training LLC. VCP. CCNP Voice. Jeffrey has more than 15 years of experience designing and administering Security. All rights reserved. 10 . and Genesis Networks. and Virtualization solutions for such organizations as the U. two daughters. Jeffrey holds the following certifications: VCI. TN area with his wife. Datacenter. Army. CCNP Security. CCIP. CCSI. and grandson. and CCNP and lives in the Memphis.