Cisco UCS Director VDCs

Cisco UCS Director utilizes the idea of a Virtual Data Center (VDC) to determine how and where virtual machine should be placed. This includes which clusters to deploy to, networks to use, datastores to live on, as well as the guest customization and cost models that will be used for those virtual machines. According to the UCS Director Administration Guide, a Virtual Data Center is “a logical grouping that combines virtual resources, operational details, rules, and policies to manage specific group requirements”. Cisco UCS Director VDCs are the focal point of a virtual machine deployment.

If you’re trying to understand how to get things setup for your own implementation you should really be focusing on the underlying policies that will make up that VDC. The Virtual Data Center is really used to aggregate all of those individual polices into a single construct so that virtual machines will have all of the information necessary to be deployed in your environment.

The image below shows a list of policies that are necessary to be created before you start building your Virtual Data Center.

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  • Service Delivery Policy – This policy is used to configure things like the Time Zones, DNS Settings, virtual machine naming conventions and guest licensing information. The policy can be found under the Policies drop down –> Virtual/Hypervisor Policies –> Service Delivery screen and from there you’ll be looking for the VMware System Policy or Hyper-V System Policy tabs.
  • Computing Policy – The computing policy is used to make decisions like which clusters should be used, if any affinity rules should be applied and the number of virtual CPUs and virtual Memory can be assigned to virtual machines. The policy can be found under the Policies drop down –> Virtual/Hypervisor Policies –> Computing and from there look for your hypervisor type.
  • Network Policy – The network policy is used to configure the number of vNICs assigned to a virtual machine, what networks they can be placed on, what virtual adapter type should be used and how they’ll obtain an IP Address (Static, DHCP). If you choose static, an IP Pool Policy may also need to be created to dole out the IP Addresses. The policy can be found under the Policies drop down –> Virtual/Hypervisor Policies –> Network and from there look for your hypervisor type.
  • Storage Policy – Much like the computing and network policies this is used to determine which datastores are used to deploy virtual machines and what virtual disk sizes can be selected for new virtual machines. The policy can be found under the Policies drop down –> Virtual/Hypervisor Policies –> Storage and from there look for your hypervisor type.
  • Cost Model – The Cost model determines how much your virtual machines are costing the company or business unit. For the cost model to work several parameters need to be determined such as one time costs, active/inactive vm costs, CPU costs, memory costs, network costs, storage costs etc. Be prepared for this if you’re doing any kind of chargeback/showback in your organization. Filling this out is simple, but finding these costs may be very time consuming. The policy can be found under the Policies drop down –> Virtual/Hypervisor Policies –> Service Delivery and then the Cost Model tab.
  • User Action Policy – User Actions are a way to add new day 2 operations to an object. I’ve written about this in the past where you can add a custom workflow to a virtual machine once it’s been deployed. This could be an action to snapshot a virtual machine, add it to DNS, reconfigure it or whatever automation task you can write. Once you setup your orchestration workflow, the policy can be created by going to the Policies drop down –> Orchestration and then the User VM Action Policy tab.
  • VM Management Policy – The VM Management Policy is used to configure leases, notifications about when leases expire, and determining when a VM is inactive. This policy is very useful to keep your cloud clean, and removing unneeded virtual machines when they’re past their usefulness. The policy can be found under the Policies drop down –> Virtual/Hypervisor Policies –> Service Delivery and then the VM Management Policy tab.
  • End User Self-Service Policy – This policy is much like a User Action Policy where you’re selecting which day 2 operations are available to the virtual machines. The difference here is that these are out of the box capabilities that you’re adding. The policy can be found under the Policies drop down –> Virtual/Hypervisor Policies –> Service Delivery and then the End User Self-Service Policy tab.

Once you’ve created all of the above policies you’re now ready to create a Virtual Data Center in UCS Director. The VDC Setup will need some basic information like a name and description and some approvers that will be used to approve new virtual machine deployments, but after that you’ll simply need to select from the polices that you created above. Now that you have a Virtual Data Center created, your catalogs will have to make a single selection during deployment that will contain all of the settings necessary to deploy it in your environment.

After virtual machines have been deployed to your VDCs you can monitor the statistics for those virtual data centers by going to the Virtual drop down –> Compute and then selecting the vDCs tab. All of the VDCs for your environment will be listed and then you can drill down on them to get more statistics.

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Cisco UCS Director VDCs

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