Cisco UCS X-Series Direct FAQ

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Updated:February 6, 2024

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Updated:February 6, 2024

Table of Contents




Q.   What did Cisco®announce on February 6, 2024?
A.    Cisco announced a new Fabric Interconnect module for the UCS X-Series Modular System, bringing new capabilities called Cisco UCS®X-Series Direct.
Q.   Are these servers quotable and orderable?
A.    Customers may get quotes from their partners or Cisco sales team starting in April and place orders in May 2024.

The System

Q.   What makes up the UCS X-Series Direct?
A.    The UCS X-Series Direct contains:

     Cisco UCS X9508 Chassis.

     Two Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect 9108 100G.

     One or more of the following servers:

    Up to eight two-socket Cisco UCS X210c M6/M7 Compute Nodes.

    Up to four four-socket Cisco UCS X410c M7 Compute Nodes.

     Systems management:

    Cisco Intersight® Infrastructure Service (preferred).

    Cisco UCS Manager.

     Optional components:

    Cisco UCS 9416 X-Fabric Modules.

    Cisco UCS X440p PCIe Node with up to four GPUs used in conjunction with the 9416 X-Fabric Modules.

Q.   What are the use cases for X-Series Direct?
A.    Using standard x86 CPUs, any standard workload can be supported. Some targeted use cases are:

     AI/ML inferencing, with up to six compact GPUs per server, or up to two full-length, full-height GPUs.

     Data protection onto NVMe storage to guard mission-critical data and enable rapid restores in the event of a failure or ransomware event.

     Hyperconverged infrastructure that requires large amounts of local storage.

     Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) that you can deploy close to users, and ensure a smooth user experience with optional GPU rendering.

     Cloud-native, containerized environments with support from the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform.

     Virtualized environments such as those supported by VMware vSphere 8.0.

     Converged infrastructure solutions that integrate enterprise shared storage from our leading storage partners.

Q.   What happened to the Intelligent Fabric Modules (IFM) that were part of the UCS X-Series Modular System?
A.    The IFMs are still available for customers with larger deployments and haven’t been replaced with the new Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect 9108 100G Modules (FI). The FI is the third fabric module for UCS X-Series and is for customers who want to connect a single chassis to their Top-of-Rack (ToR) switch.
Q.   Can I upgrade my current IFM 100G to a Fabric Interconnect 9108 100G?
A.    No, this is not possible due to different hardware being used. You must purchase a new pair of Fabric Interconnect 9108 100G.
Q.   Can I replace my current IFM 25G/100G to Fabric Interconnect 9108 100G?
A.    Yes, you can replace your current IFM 25G/100G to Fabric Interconnect 9108 100G but will need to adjust your policies and profiles in Cisco Intersight or Cisco UCS Manager.
Q.   What are the differences between the Fabric Interconnect 9108 100G Module and the Cisco UCS 9108 100G Intelligent Fabric Module?
A.    Besides some small differences in the hardware the primary difference is the IFM attaches to a Fabric Interconnect, either the 6454, 64108, or 6536. In contrast, the Fabric Interconnect 9108 100G attaches to any Top-of-Rack (ToR) Ethernet switch including the Cisco Nexus ® series switches or Fibre Channel switches like the Cisco Multilayer Director Switch (MDS) Series switches.
Q.   What speed connections are supported to ToR Ethernet switches?
A.    1, 10, 25, 40, and 100G connections are supported between the Fabric Interconnect 9108 100G Module and a ToR Ethernet switch.
Q.   Does the Fabric Interconnect 9108 100G Module support native Fibre Channel connections to ToR switches?
A.    Yes, 8, 16, and 32G connections are supported.
Q.   Cisco UCS Mini supported connecting a second chassis to the 6324 Fabric Interconnect. Will UCS X-Series Direct support connecting a second UCS X9508 Chassis?
A.    Support for a second chassis is planned to follow the First Customer Shipment (FCS).
Q.   Does UCS X-Series Direct support directly attaching storage to the Fabric Interconnect module?
A.    Yes, storage arrays from NetApp, Pure Storage, Hitachi, IBM, or Dell may be directly attached to the FI. Check the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) for the complete list of vendors and models.
Q.   Does the Fabric Interconnect 9108 100G Module require port software licenses?
A.    A perpetual software license is automatically included with every FI and is not a port-based license.


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