What You Need to Know About Cisco's 6200 Series Fabric Interconnects
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What is a Fabric Interconnect?
Cisco's Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) first came to the server market in 2009. Cisco's unique contribution to this market was the use of Fabric Interconnects (FIs). FIs are the command center for the Cisco UCS platform. They act as a switch, connecting servers to the network and storage within the data center.
When Cisco UCS entered the server market, their first-generation FI was the 6120. The 6120 was short-lived though, as Cisco introduced the 6248 and 6296 FIs (6200 series) in March of 2012. Since then, the 6200 series FIs have been the preferred option for the Cisco UCS platform. As a result, the majority of today's Cisco UCS customers currently have this product in their data centers.
While the 6200 series FIs have had a great run, Cisco announced on March 1, 2019 that it will be retiring these FIs. With this announcement, customers may be asking many questions surrounding end-of-life dates for the 6200 series, what is next in the evolution of the FI and what this means for their organizations.
Important end-of-life dates
The following are some important dates to keep in mind as the Cisco UCS 6200 series FIs are phased out:
- May 31, 2019 – End of Sale Date: Last day to purchase the 6200 series FIs
- August 29, 2019 – Last Ship Date: Last day the 6200 series FIs can be shipped
- May 30, 2020 – End of Routine Failure Analysis for Hardware: Last day to find out why Cisco UCS hardware failure occurred
- May 30, 2020 – End of New Service Attach Date: Last day to order a service contract for the 6200 series FIs
- August 26, 2023 – End of Service Contract Renewal Date: Last day to extend or renew an existing service contract for the 6200 series FIs
- May 31, 2024 – Last Day of Support: Last day the 6200 series FIs are supported
Overall, the next generation of FIs, the 6454 and the 64108, are faster, have more ports, possess a 32 Gigabit (G) Fibre Channel and have a newer operating system. The biggest advancement in the 6400 series of FIs is the introduction of Intersight Mode. This mode provides the capability of connecting to Cisco Intersight, something the 6200 series was never and will never be able to do.
For those customers who currently have the 6248 FIs, the 6454s would be the comparable upgrade. Additionally, for those with a higher density environment (i.e. more ports), the 64108s would be the ideal equivalent. The 6454 and the 64108 are the same switch, but as the name eludes to, the 64108 offers 108 ports.
Depending on the environment's capabilities, the 6400 series offers the ability to uplink to 40 or 100 GbE top of rack (ToR) or end of row (EoR). Customers will get the greatest benefit from these enhancements by also upgrading their IO Module (IOM) from the 2208 to the 2408. The IOM upgrade, coupled with the faster specifications of the 6400 series FIs, provides end-to-end 25 GbE connections to the servers. The result is an increase of bandwidth by 2.5 times.
It is important to note that upgrading to the 2408 IOM is not mandatory. The 2204 and the 2208 IOM will still work just fine with the 6400 series FIs. Further, the new 6400 FIs will not require a new chassis. The 5108 UCS chassis in use today will support the new configuration.
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