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Integrating Cisco UCS with vSphere Distributed Power Management



In the current economic and environmental climate there is a focus on increasing the efficiency of IT infrastructure by increasing the utilization of hardware through techniques like virtualization, and actively reducing the power consumption when workload levels are low.

vSphere’s Distributed Power Management (DPM) is a technique to actively manage down power consumption of a vSphere cluster by shrinking the amount of powered up servers when workload levels are low.  vSphere can turn Cisco UCS blades on and off via the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI).

This article explains how to configure both vSphere and UCS to create the IPMI connections and enable vCenter to manage down the power consumption of Cisco UCS during low workloads.

There are four steps to integrating UCS with vSphere DPM via IPMI:

  1. Define the IPMI Policy in Cisco UCS
  2. Connect the IPMI Policy to the ESX host Service Profile
  3. Discover the Service Profile server’s BMC IP and MAC address
  4. Configure IPMI in vCenter

Related Information

VMWare ESXi 4.0 Installation on UCS Blade Server with UCS Manager KVM

Cisco NX-OS and Virtual Device Contexts (VDCs)


Sascha   Merg is a leading Cisco Consulting Systems Engineer specializing in Unified   Computing System in Europe.

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I hope you can answer this;  Does the BMC MAC address follow the service profile or is it a burnt in MAC address ? If it does not follow the Service Profile then you could be in a situation that if the blade is running a different esx load for some reason without knowing a vmware admin or the DPM service may shut down the wrong host !!!


Great point, Simon!  I had added a Note section at the end of the doc to cover this very point.

Robert Burns
Cisco Employee

Currently at release verion 1.02j the BMC address is static and binds to the server hardware.  This has been identified and will be fixed in a release slated for approx April/May.  At that time the BMC address will be part of the Service Profile and will follow our Stateless model.

This has been identified as posing the issues with DPM and IPMI in regards to ESX.


Hi Steve,

  Your document shows how to add IPMI to a service profile, but how do you add it if you built the service profiles from a Service Profile Template?  When I follow your instructions and try to choose the IPMI policy it is all greyed out.  The only place I am able to apply this is on the Template.

Cisco Employee

You need to unbind a Service Profile from the Template in order to make that change on a running profile I believe.


I followed this and it works with vSphere 5, but when I put a Blade into Standby through the vSphere client, the Blade shuts down and then powers back up right away. Almost like a reboot.

Any ideas how to get it to stay in Standby mode?


Jim Nickel

Robert Burns
Cisco Employee

Post your question in the Discussion sessions and I'll assist.

Your issue is likely you have Power Management within the DRS settings enabled.  If there's limited hosts, vCenter will immeidately re-power up a host put into standby.

Test - Disable DRS on your cluster, and then put a host into standby.  It should stay down indefinately.


Community Member

Does anyone know if this functionality is now available and in which release?  I have not been able to find any updates anywhere.  Not having this functionality makes using DPM on UCS gear a hassle.  I would ideally like the flexibility of using a "virtual mac" on the service profile...



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