Introduction to Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect- Cisco UCS 6248UP and 6296UP

Today I am going to talk about Cisco UCS FI (Fabric Interconnect) which generally used to connect the network with the compute (Servers) and the storage devices in the datacenter environment.

The UCS fabric interconnect is an essential segment of Cisco’s Unified Computing System, which is intended to advance scalability and diminish the whole cost of tenure of data centers by incorporating all components into a single platform, which acts as a single unit. Access to networks and storage is then provided through the UCS fabric interconnect.

Here in this article, we will discuss basics about Cisco UCS 6200 series Fabric interconnect. Cisco have two models and these models are Cisco UCS 6296UP and Cisco UCS 6248UP and these are 96 and 48 ports model respectively.

The Fabric interconnect Cisco UCS 6200 Series delivers the management and interaction backbone for the Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers and 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis. All chassis, and therefore all blades, involved to the Cisco UCS 6200 Series Fabric Interconnects become part of a single, highly available management domain. In addition, by supporting unified fabric, the Cisco UCS 6200 Series offers both LAN and SAN connectivity for all blades within its domain.

The basic connectivity shows how Cisco UCS fabric interconnect connected to the servers and the storage devices via Fabric Extenders (FEX).

Fig 1.1- Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect

The role of Cisco UCS Manger
Well Cisco UCS manager is very important when you are purchasing Cisco UCS Fabric interconnects. Cisco UCS 6200 Series hosts and runs Cisco UCS Manager in a highly available configuration, enabling the fabric interconnects to fully manage all Cisco UCS elements. Connectivity to the Cisco UCS 5100 Series blade chassis is maintained through the Cisco UCS 2100 or 2200 Series Fabric Extenders in each blade chassis. 

The Cisco UCS 2304 Fabric Extender is not supported. The Cisco UCS 6200 Series interconnects support out-of-band management through a dedicated 10/100/1000-Mbps Ethernet management port as well as in-band management. Cisco UCS Manager typically is deployed in a clustered active-passive configuration on redundant fabric interconnects connected through dual 10/100/1000 Ethernet clustering ports.

Fig1.2- Cisco UCS Fabric interconnect- 6248UP and 6296UP models

Let’s compare Cisco UCS 6248UP and Cisco UCS 6296UP Fabric interconnects
  • Cisco UCS 6248UP is a 48-port fabric interconnect while Cisco UCS 6296UP is a 96-port fabric interconnect.
  • Cisco UCS 6248UP is a 1 RU switch while Cisco UCS 6296UP is a 2 RU switch.
  • If you required the throughput of 960 Gbps then you can go with the Cisco UCS 6248UP while if you required more throughput of 1920 Gbps, you can choose Cisco UCS 6296 switch.
  • Cisco UCS 6248 has 1 expansion slot while Cisco UCS 6296 has 3 expansion slots.