Configuring Pass-Through Switching (PTS) within UCS using the Virtual Interface Card (VIC)
February 14, 2011
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PTS is a Cisco UCS feature that allows management of the virtual network and configuration of virtual ports to be handled within UCS manager. This feature does not require a license and is available at no additional cost for any blade using the VIC/Palo card. PTS does not require Hypervisor Bypass/Direct-Path I/O but can be used in conjunction with it, although there are current limitations such as no vMotion. PTS utilizes a Cisco software switching element within the hypervisor much like a Nexus 1000v VEM, all management/supervisor capabilities are handled within UCSM on the Fabric Interconnects. PTS provides a 1-to-1 mapping between a virtual machines NIC, vNIC, and a Virtual Interface (VIF) on the VIC card. This allows for VM level granularity for network monitoring and control while maintaining the single point of management UCSM provides.
- ESX/ESXi 4.1 installed on all blades that will be participating
- Cisco VIC in each blade that will be participating
- Virtual Center Server
- VMware Enterprise Plus licensing (required for vDS usage)
- VMware Update Manager (VUM)
- Latest Nexus 1000v packages downloaded to VUM repository and a baseline created in VUM that contains the appropriate updates/patches for your ESX build number
- Current 1000v bundle downloaded from Cisco if VUM is not available
Note: If VUM is not used the VEM will need to be manually installed per host.
- Create a Dynamic vNIC policy within UCSM (LAN tab)
- Provide a name
- Select the number of ports (typically the default of 54 which is the max)
- Select VMware for the port type
- Create a template or service profile for each host that will participate using the dynamic vNIC policy. Alternatively the policy can be applied to an existing service profile or updating template.
- Apply the profile to the blades that will act as VMware hosts that contain the VIC
Note: We recommend the service profile be configured to pass 4 vEth ports. Two to be attached to a standard vSwitch and used for all VMkernel ports in use and two will be used as uplinks to the vDS, these will carry VM Guest data traffic.
Note: UCSM allows for many different methods to complete the next steps. This just happens to be the method we used last. The latest release of UCSM has a wizard to assist with this process also.
- Connect and authenticate UCSM and vCenter server
- From the VM tab within UCSM click on the “Export vCenter Extension” save the file to a location accessible by both systems (typically your desktop.) This is an XML file that contains all the information which is used to authenticate UCSM with vCenter and allow API calls.
- Import the file as a vCenter server plugin through the vSphere client. You will need to right-click on white space below all other plugins and select Register Plugin.
- Setup vCenter connection information in UCSM
- From the VM tab within UCSM click on the “Configure vCenter” link
- Provide a descriptive name (We suggest it matches the vCenter name for ease of use)
- Provide the hostname or IP of the vCenter server (IP is recommended for statically assigned vCenter server IPs, if you choose DNS hostname ensure name resolution is configured in UCSM)
- Next, skip the folder settings and next again.
- Click Add on the Datacenter screen
- Provide a descriptive name (We suggest it matches the vCenter Datacenter name for ease of use)
- Add a folder, this will contain your DVS, Next
- Add the DVS, this is what is pushed into vCenter
- Ok, Finish, then Finish again.
Note: If the DVS is not created in vCenter now, one of the steps above did not properly complete or there are communication issues between the vCenter server and UCSM.
- Add hosts to the DVS created
- From the networks view in vCenter right-click the DVS and click add host.
- Select the NICs that are defined for VM data/DVS traffic.
Note: The hosts uplinks will fail to connect and show a “Port blocked by admin” state if the dynamic vNIC policy is not in place. The dynamic vNIC policy allows UCSM to automatically create VIC interfaces on the fly as VMs are added. It also allows UCSM to create the management interfaces required for communication between UCSM and the VEM (similar to Control/Packet on a 1000v.)
Note: At this point VUM (if in use) will install the VEM. If the VUM automated install fails, or if VUM is not in use the VEM must be manually installed as follows:
- Upload the proper VEM from the Cisco 1000v bundle (downloaded from Cisco) to a VMFS datastore that all of the hosts have access to.
- Login to the ESX/ESXi console (you may have to enable “Local Tech Support” for ESXi 4.1) and change to the datastore referenced earlier.
- Run “esxupdate -b cross_cisco-vem-v121-220.127.116.11.3.1.0-x.x.x.vib update” ensuring that you are using the correct version VEM.
- From the UCSM VM tab create any port-profiles required for the virtual machines assigning any appropriate network settings.
Make sure to read the readme.txt file in the bundle to match the version of VEM to use with the ESX/ESXi version and build number deployed.
- Create Port Profiles
- From the VM tab within UCSM right-click on “Port Profiles” in the left hand tree and create a new one.
- Provide a descriptive name (Will not be visible in vCenter)
- Choose which VLANs will be available.
- Create Port Profile Clients
- From the VM tab within UCSM right click on a Port Profiles you have created and choose “Create Profile Client”
- Provide a descriptive name (Will be visible in vCenter)
- Choose the Datacenter, Folder, and DVS you want it presented to.
Note: These profile clients are pushed to vCenter as port-groups and will be selectable within the VM NIC settings.
And the last step is to assign VMs to the DVS port-groups as required in vCenter. See, it wasn’t that bad right?