Virtual Disconnect: Migrating from HP BladeSystem to Cisco UCS

Aug. 26th, 2010

Now in our second year of shipping Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) blade servers, it seems that most of our 1700+ UCS customers are migrating to Cisco blades from HP blades. Two teammates of mine, Jeff Allen (Twitter) and Doron Chosnek (Twitter), have developed a process to help these customers migrate from HP blade servers to Cisco UCS blade servers in a matter of minutes. Their migration process, based on publicly available documentation from HP and Cisco, allows a UCS customer to move the “server identity” of the retired HP blade server to the newly deployed Cisco UCS blade server. For a discussion of what the “server identity” is, see this previous blog entitled “The State of Statelessness: Cisco UCS vs. HP Virtual Connect“.

Doron and Jeff accomplish this HP-to-Cisco migration by extracting the server identity information out of HP Virtual Connect and then importing that server identity information into Cisco UCS Manager. Fundamentally, they export an HP Virtual Connect Server Profile and import it into Cisco UCS Manager as a Cisco UCS Service Profile.

Server identity migration can be done seamlessly from HP to Cisco because Cisco’s UCS Service Profile is a superset of HP’s Virtual Connect Server Profile. Cisco manages ~96 server identity settings while HP only manages ~12 server identity settings. The reverse process, migrating Cisco-to-HP, would be difficult (if not impossible), since HP supports so few server identity settings in comparison to Cisco. I’ve provided an updated Cisco UCS vs. HP BladeSystem server identity comparison below. See Table 1.

In the following video, Doron and Jeff demonstrate their process by migrating a workload from an HP BL460c to a Cisco B200 M1 server. In their setup, both the HP blade and the Cisco blade have access to the same Ethernet and Fibre Channel networks. The soon-to-be-retired HP blade is booting from SAN. During the migration, WWN and MAC addresses, boot from SAN target and LUN number, etc. are taken from the HP server and given to the Cisco server. Since the FC network and storage controller see the same server identity on the new UCS blade, this allows the Cisco blade to immediately boot from the same FC LUN that the retired HP server was booting from. The result for the customer is an upgraded server running the same instance of the operating system with no changes required on the LAN or SAN.

UCS Documentation References:
Overview of Cisco UCS Manager
Cisco UCS Manager CLI Command Reference Guide


Table 1: Comparison Chart Showing User Interfaces Required To Configure A Server (click table to enlarge)

Aug 26th, 2010 | Posted in Cisco UCS