I'm trying to get peoples general thoughts/feedback on running UC 8.0 on UCS. We are begining to propose this as an option for customers but are getting some push back from our local Cisco office that it's to early to start proposing.
Our recomendations/designs are based on Cisco's best practices (whats out there at least) regarding no over subscriptions, supported apps, proper vCPU/Core ratios, RAM, FC boot from SAN, etc.
Anyone out there currently have this deployed.
The apps and size of deployments we are looking at vary but two proposals include;
Enterprise Contact Center (no CVP, just IP-IVR) 350 agents
Unity Connection / FO
IPCC Express - 100 Agents
Unity Connection /FO
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Are you proposing this for a customer that will only be using it for UC or will they be using the UCS for datacenter use as well?
I think running UC on UCS is a great idea. However my concerns are the following:
1. If the customer doesn't have a background in blade servers, vmware, or SAN infrastructure there is a pretty steep learning curve.
2. UC on UCS requires VMware. Most of the times this includes vCenter which has a lot of neat features.... many of which can't be used with UC yet.
3. Nexus 1000v has been recommended in these scenarios, but it requires an Enterprise Plus license for vmware ($$$).
4. Separate SAN infrastructure is needed (MDS or Nexus) since UC on UCS is currently only supported with Fiber Channel.
5. Upgrades now consist of UCS upgrade, VMware upgrade, and UC App upgrade.
6. Vmotion is not supported currently.
Most of these concerns go away if the customer already has datacenter experience.
We are very interested in finding out when Vmotion will be supported on UC. Our Cisco SA and SE indicate "not yet" when we ask them. Any roadmap that anyone knows about?
It is not necessary that you have to offer by using B series blade server UCS solution. You could deploy the same by using the C series Rack mounted blade server which will be a cheaper solution and does the same job. The only caveat is that currently one application supported per server which I believe will be fixed by Q3 (at least this is what I have heard from Cisco Rep). Regarding VMotion, it should not be supported due to the nature of the voice (real time traffic) unless Cisco comes up some new idea. Anyway, it will be hard but not that much as once the server is up (in terms of VMWare) then it will be just like regular voice server. With this approach, you even don't have to worry about SAN. The Rack mounted (C210) works with local Disk.
While vMotion is not supported, with VMWare High Availability, the VMs running on a blade that fails will be automatically re-started on another blade. This does require you to have a vCenter server.
Even if you use VM HA. All the real time traffic will be impacted when the failover occurs. This is the main reason why vMotion is not supported yet. In fact, for a large deployment, we use Cisco devices in cluster mode which it self provides redundancy so no need to go with VM HA. Unless the enterprise has vCenter license, we should not recommend as buying vCenter license will be very expensive for IPT. Remember one thing, we are not going to VM because for HA or any thing. We are moving to virtualization to save cost on servers, cooling, power etc. IPT system has its own redundecy mechanism which I think will take precendence over VM HA.
Sounds like a great idea! UC on UCS provides some real savings since you can (currently) do up to 4 VM's per blade in a blade environment. The savings add up real quick when you think about the cost of deploying or upgrading individual MCS servers.
Just some things to keep in mind on the applications you listed.
You mention Contact Center Enterprise for Customer 1 .
Contact Center enterprise currently does not support the following features within a VM:
The following VMware features are not supported with Contact Center Enterprise:
Some current commonly overlooked things are that the B-Series UC on UCS deployments require a SAN. Care should be taken that physical location of SAN storage should match customer required physical location of servers to maintain redundancy (ie if servers are spread accross a few buildings currently and they go to a B-Series but everything connects back to a single SAN storage array, if that SAN goes down, the entire voice system goes down). On the C-Series, only UCM and Unity Connections are supported on local disks. Contact Center Express is also currently supported on the C-Series but unlike UCM and Unity Connections requires Contact Center Express to be installed on a SAN. Also, co-residency is not currently supported on the C-series but coming soon to a theater near you, so in the mean time, only one UC app per C-series server (VM required)!
All of this is very new and changing very fast so check the date of this post as support for new applications will be rolling down fast.
I found the "official" list of unsupported features for UCCE on UCS:
I have deployed UC on UCS C210M2 servers and it works well. For ICM 8.5, it will works but I have some issues with VMotion for PGs. There is nice cisco doc UC virtualization and supported features with limited capabilities.
Hope this helps.