Cisco UCS PTS vs 1000v
March 1, 2011
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I’ve had a couple great conversations the last projects I’ve been involved in where I’ve been asked, “Do you recommend PTS with Cisco UCS or the 1000v?” This is a great question because in a sense, they both do the same thing. In this post I hope to cover the differences and why someone may choose one over the other.
Like most things in IT, I’m going to start out with a big it DEPENDS. Time really needs to be analyzed in each environment to ultimately determine what works best. I’ve seen both implemented out there and both work very well. I won’t say one is better than the other if that’s what you’re looking for It is your job to be informed and then decide!
If you’re not familiar with PTS or how to get it up and running, I suggest a good post by a fellow member of my team here. Jason walks you through actual implementation and discusses what PTS is. The 1000v has been around for a while with lots of great discussions of its use. I wrote a deployment guide not too long ago here that walks through the actual implementation. Both are easy to get up and running without much pain.
It’s important to note that both solutions operate on the principle of VN-Link. It’s VN-Link that passes network control and insight back to the network admins for virtual machines. As our virtual domain grows, this capability becomes a necessity. If you’re not yet using VN-Link within your environment, I suspect you’re already considering it or looking into how it can be implemented within your environment. A great description of VN-Link can be found here by Joe Onisick; another great member of the WWT Datacenter team!
On with the differences…
I like things as simple as possible so hopefully with the below chart, you’ll be able to easily get a grasp of things. It should be noted that where the 1000v has a lot more features then I show here, those features would not be applicable within the UCS stack.
So which do you choose???
As mentioned earlier it’s really going to depend what works best for you and your environment. To call out a couple things…
- We can manage and see all VM’s and port-profiles right from UCS Manager. If you’re not familiar with the configuration of the 1000v, management can be a bit easier. This also becomes useful for quickly seeing all your VM’s and to see which port profile (network) they are connected to from a nice GUI.
- UCS PTS is FREE! It’s included in the cost of UCS, so right out of the box you can have this functionality.
- The currently max supported virtual machines per ESX host with PTS is 54. Note: Remember this when factoring in HA in your VMware environment if you’re utilizing memory dense servers.
- All virtual machine traffic is processed by the 6100’s even when two virtual machines reside on the same ESX host. Those Affinity rules you have specified to allow optimal networking traffic just went out the door. Keep in mind it’s sub-micro seconds for 6100s to switch traffic so this may not matter in your environment
- One obvious thing should be the enhanced security control mechanisms provided by the 1000v.
- Management of the 1000v should be very familiar to the Networking Administration team. Favorite CLI commands are mostly supported and current scripts can easily be integrated. Note: Scripts can also be used against the UCS stack it’ll just take some rework to get them to be compatible.
- The currently max supported virtual machines per ESX host with 1000v is 216.
- Virtual machine traffic is switched locally on the ESX host
- There are licensing costs associated with the 1000v. As of this writing it’s based on physical processor count.
Some final thoughts…
As you can see, there are very subtle differences between the PTS and 1000v when applied within the UCS stack. Unless you need granular security control, I don’t see a whole lot of reason why not to use PTS unless you’re planning on really running a lot of VMs per ESX host.
That’s it from my side. If you don’t run into the above points, I’d say you really need to take a strong look at PTS within your environment.