Cisco UCS B200 M3On March 8, Cisco launched the UCS B200 M3 blade server.   The half-height blade uses processors from Intel’s newly-announced Xeon E5 family, and competes with the Dell M620, HP BL460c Gen8, and IBM HS23 server blades.

The half-height UCS B200 M3 fits into the UCS 5100 series blade chassis.  It supports two Xeon E5-2600 “Sandy Bridge-EP” processors, and according to benchmark publications, this includes the 135-watt E5-2690. 

The blade contains 24 DIMM slots supporting 1333 and 1600 MT/s Registered DIMMs (RDIMMs), with maximum memory of 384 GB using 16GB DIMMs.  An embedded LSI 2004 SAS RAID controller connects to two hot-swap SFF drive bays, supporting SAS and SATA hard drives and SATA SSD options.

The B200 M3 differs from earlier UCS blades in that it includes a mezzanine expansion slot in addition to a modular LAN-on-Motherboard (mLOM) slot.  The only modular LOM offered is the new Cisco VIC 1240, a 4 x 10Gb, FCoE-capable VIC.   Options for the mezzanine slot include Cisco VICs, CNAs from Emulex and Qlogic, and a Broadcom NIC.  Alternatively, an I/O port expander card can be put into the mezzanine slot; this expander enables 4 additional 10Gb ports on the VIC1240 mLOM.   

The mLOM itself is actually optional; In addition to using a mLOM alongside a mezzanine card, the B200 M3 also supports configurations that only contain a mezzanine card.

 

Mezzanine Card Options for B200 M3

Card Name Description
VIC 1240 Port Expander Adds an additional four ports of 10Gb to the VIC 1240 mLOM
Emulex M73KR-E Dual-port 10Gb CNA
Qlogic M73KR-Q Dual-port 10Gb CNA
Broadcom M61KR-B Dual-port 10Gb NIC (based on Broadcom 57712)
Cisco VIC 1280 Eight-port 10Gb VIC

 

In addition to an internal USB port, the blade also includes two SDHC flash card sockets.  The flash cards intended for these slots are orderable, but won’t be enabled until the release of future firmware and software updates.  The 16GB “Flexible Flash” cards come preloaded with 4 virtual drives, which contain the Cisco Server Configuration Utility, the Cisco Host Upgrade Utility, the Cisco C-Series server drivers set, and a blank virtual drive on which you can install an OS or a hypervisor
Along with the blade, Cisco also announced the new 6296UP Fabric Interconnect.  The 2U interconnect contains 48 fixed ports which can be Ethernet, FCoE, or Fibre Channel, plus it contains slots for 3 expansion modules each of which can add 16 additional ports. There’s also a new FEX for the blade chassis, the 2204XP, with two 10Gb connections per half-height blade plus 4 uplink ports; like the earlier 2208XP it allows port-channeling instead of port-pinning to the fabric interconnect. 
Cisco 6296UP Fabric Interconnect
Cisco also announced that in the second half of 2012 they would introduce multi-domain management capability for UCS.

 

Daniel Bowers is Vice President and Senior Analyst for Ideas International.  He possesses 19 years of IT industry experience in roles spanning server hardware and software engineering, product marketing, and server administration. His primary areas of expertise include blade servers, virtualization, and datacenter technologies.  This is Daniel’s first guest blog post for Blades Made Simple.  You can find out more about Daniel and Ideas International at http://www.ideasinternational.com/PDFs/Analyst-Biography-Daniel-Bowers.pdf

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