by Adam Armstrong

Cisco UCS C3160 Server For Use As High-Performance Backup

Cisco recently introduced significant innovations to its Unified Computing System (UCS). Cisco launched several new offerings aimed at cloud service providers, high capacity media streaming, small IT environments, and data-intensive computing. The highlight at the time was the new modular or M-Series. However, shifting focus over to the C-series, specifically the C3160, one can begin to see how a server can be used as a high-performance backup storage resource.

The UCS C3160 rack server has many features that lead some to the notion of using it in place of a high performance and high capacity backup storage system. For one, it can hold up to 60 3.5” HDD up to 6TB each for a total capacity of 360TB. It also has two SSD drives for booting. The 60 HHD can be used for a backup storage repository. The C3160 also has an embedded Cisco 12-Gbps RAID Controller supporting RAID0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, and 60. Using RAID6 and 4TB drives still gives the C3160 over 200TB of capacity for backup storage in one server.

Running VMware vSphere and/or Microsoft Hyper-V workloads in a data center on Cisco UCS Servers with Fabric Interconnect would make the C3160 a great candidate for backup storage. The close proximity to the source data would result in very low latencies. The maximum memory of 512GB combined with an OS designed to leverage compute and memory resources help with any synthesizing or transformation of backups. VMs would continue to run at their highest performance levels, as it would require less time to do full backups on the running VMs.

While one design won’t work for all situations, using the proper configurations and the right systems, such as the C3160, “Ultimate Backup Storage Architecture” can be achieved for the right situations.

UCS C3160 rack server specifications:

  • Chassis: 4U
  • Processors: 2 Intel Xeon processors E5-2600 v2 product family
  • Memory: 8 dual in-line memory module (DIMM) slots per processor DDR3-registered DIMMs
  • PCIe slots: None; one Cisco mLOM adapter per SIOC
  • System I/O controllers (SIOC): Up to 2 system I/O controllers with Cisco mLOM slot that can accommodate 1GB or 10GB adapters and 1Gbps Ethernet management port on each
  • Adapters:
    • One per mLOM
    • Cisco Virtual Interface Card VIC 1227 Dual-Port 10Gbps Intel MLOM Quad-Port 1Gb RJ-45
  • RAID controller: Embedded Cisco 12Gbps RAID Controller
  • Total drive slots: 62 (60 LFF + 2 SFF)
  • Hard Drives:
    • Up to 56 top-accessible, hot-swappable, 3.5-inch 6TB or 4TB NL-SAS HDDs
    • Additional 4 optional rear-accessible, hot-swappable, 3.5inch 6-B or 4TB NL-SAS HDDs 2 rear-accessible, hot-swappable, 2.5” 120GB SSDs
  • Power supplies: 4 hot-plug, redundant 1050W power supplies
  • Cisco Integrated Management Controller:
  • Integrated Baseboard Management Controller (BMC)
    • IPMI 2.0 compliant for management and control
    • One 10/100/1000 Ethernet out-of-band management interface
    • CLI and Web GUI management tool for automated, lights-out management
    • KVM

C3160 Rack Server page

Cisco blog post

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