Cisco Adds Flexibility to UCS Design with New 6324 Fabric Interconnect

Discussion created by eric.senunas on Aug 11, 2014

Posted by Chris Wahl on August 11, 2014 on Cisco Adds Flexibility to UCS Design with New 6324 Fabric Interconnect | Wahl Network


I have spent several years working with Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) as both a channel partner (design, deploy, configure, troubleshoot) and as an instructor on Pluralsight - specifically, as part of my CCNA Data Center course that covers the 640-916 exam. Recently, I’ve been watching as bits of data have been quietly emerging on the web around Cisco’s latest addition to the Fabric Interconnect family: the 6324.


A standard UCS design calls for a pair of 1U or 2U Fabric Interconnects (FIs) that form the aggregation point for all server (blade and rack), storage, network, and management connectivity. Each FI has complete awareness of the UCS domain and actively handles data traffic. One FI is acting as the active node for management and the other waiting as a standby.


The 6324 changes this up by shrinking the FIs into small, FEX sized modules that slip into the slot normally reserved for an IO Module (IOM) on the back of a slightly modified 5108 chassis called the 5108-AC2. This seems to be a way to offer a small style footprint of Cisco UCS by removing the IOMs and replacing them with 6324 FIs. Below is a closeup of the new 6324 FI:

A closeup of the new 6324 FI
A closeup of the new 6324 FI

It sort of looks like a 2204 IOM with extra ports on it, right?


Note that the differences between the 5108 and 5108-AC2 chassis is minor: there’s a new backplane involved so that the two 6324 FIs can communicate with one another, which would normally be done via the L1/L2 interfaces on a 6200 FI but are missing from the 6324. The blade slots in the 5108-AC2 look and work like normal, so there’s no need to rip and replace a chassis – which would be incredibly painful for most organizations. Besides, the modified chassis is there for a 6324 FI anyway. :)


6324 Ports and Optics


But hey, what do the ports above actually do? Good question. There are five different types of ports on the 6324:


Read the rest of this interesting article on wahlnetwork.com