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Exploring Cisco UCS Emulator Internals

Cisco UCS (Unified Computing System, codenamed Project California during development) was introduced in 2009. It was originally developed as a data center server technology optimized for VMware virtualization workloads, but nowadays is used in many mid-size and large enterprises. One of the key advantages of UCS from a system administration perspective is the radical reduction in system management points to a single management point called the UCS Manager (UCSM) which is implemented as an NX-OS kernel module in a Cisco Nexus 6000 series Fabric Interconnect (FI) switch. A FI is essentially a Top-Of-Rack switch as far as UCS is concerned.

UCSM Emulator Updated

Cisco UCS Platform Emulator, Release 2.2 (2cPE1), a minor point release, was announced June 4th 2014. The emulator, by the way, is based on CentOS. It adds support for the following new hardware: B260-M4 and B460-M4 blade servers C460-M4 rack server UCSB-F-LSI-400S, UCSB-F-LSI-800M, UCSB-F-FIO-785M, UCSB-F-FIO-365M storage accelerators The default configuration is changed from Mark 2 to Mark 3 blade and rack-mounted servers. All in all a solid point release which installs without a problem in VMware Workstation or Oracle Virtual Box.

NX-OS NETCONF Support

NETCONF (Network Configuration Protocol) is a network management protocol developed and standardized by the IETF Netconf Working Group. It was first published in December 2006 as RFC 4741 with a revised version published in June 2011 as RFC 6241. It provides mechanisms to install, manipulate, and delete the configuration of network devices. The same IETF Working Group also produced supporting RFCs for various transport mappings, including: RFC 4742 – Using the NETCONF Configuration Protocol over Secure SHell (SSH). Obsoleted by RFC 6242 (2011) which introduced a new framing mechanism to address some potential security issues with the initial design RFC

Accessing Cisco Secure ACS 5.X Internals

Cisco does not hide the fact that Cisco Secure Access Control System (Secure ACS) 5.X is based on CentOS but provides no way to get to a Linux shell. Instead, when you log into Secure ACS you are presented with a Cisco IOS-like shell. This post will show you how to access the bash shell as root, and explores the underlying filesystem layout and utilities which make up Secure ACS. For the purposes of this blog, I am using Secure ACS VM 5.2. There may be slight variations in filesystem layout and utilities in later versions of Secure ACS. So