For those looking to gain experience with the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) platform without access to a UCS lab, Cisco has developed the UCS Platform Emulator (UCSPE).

The UCSPE is a packaged VMware virtual machine and offers most of the capabilities of the latest UCS platform; this can be used by candidates looking to gain experience or for experienced engineers looking to test a configuration. This article takes a look at the simulator installation prerequisites, basic setup configuration and UCSPE limitations.

UCSPE Prerequisites

Before UCSPE can be used, the physical system slated to be used for installation must meet some minimum requirements, including:

  • 1 GB of free RAM
  • 8 GB of free HD space
  • At least a 1.8 GHz single-core processor

Along with these physical system requirements, the machine must also have a VMware product installed that will run the UCSPE virtual machine; these products include one of the following:

  • VMware player
  • VMware Workstation (on Windows OS)
  • VMware Fusion (on MAC OS)
  • VMware ESX hypervisor

To run the UCS Manager GUI, the Firefox browser is required, along with an installation of the Java Runtime Environment 1.6 or higher.

UCSPE Setup and Configuration

The UCSPE package that is retrieved from Cisco is typically delivered in the 7zip archive format and is about 300 MB; once uncompressed, the UCSPE virtual machine files are about 1 GB in size. Once uncompressed, a file with the extension .vmx will exist with a filename that reflects the version of UCSPE; click on this file to begin the UCSPE emulator.

The UCSPE will start up and when first run, will completely unpack and install itself; this is shown in Figure 1:

Starting Up UCSPE

Figure 1 – Starting Up UCSPEOnce completely unpacked and installed, UCSPE will take up about 4 GB of HD space and will show a login screen; this is shown in Figure 2:


 Figure 2 – UCSPE CLI Login

This screen will also show the IP address that will be used to access the UCSPE management web page and is shown in Figure 3:

UCSPE Control Panel

Figure 3 – UCSPE Control PanelBefore going forward and running the UCS Manager, it is a good idea to check out the existing inventory that will be used by the emulator; this configuration can be changed to meet the requirements of the user and the specific environment they are trying to emulate. For those with no specific environment in mind, the emulator comes configured with a full chassis of servers. The configuration process for changing these settings is not very user friendly but can be figured out by anyone with a little bit of effort.

The hardware inventory screen is shown in Figure 4 below:

UCSPE Start-up Inventory

Figure 4 – UCSPE Start-up InventoryFrom this page, it is also possible to change other specific emulator configuration settings; the screens for these are shown in Figure 5:

Emulator Settings

Figure 5 – Emulator SettingsAs is shown in Figure 5, it is possible to change a number of the emulator settings to meet additional requirements of the environment, including changing whether High Availability is used and what the management IP settings will be used.

Once all the settings have been configured, it is then time to run the UCS Manager on the emulation; this is done at the main screen by clicking the “Launch UCS Manager” button (This is shown in Figure 3 above). Once clicked, Java will be run to start the UCS manager as shown in Figure 6:

Running Java

Figure 6 – Running JavaIt is possible during this time to see a number of Java windows, including one that asks for permission to run the UCS manager; Figure 7 shows an example of one of these screens:

Java Signature Check

When prompted with these screens, just select the “Run” button. The UCS Manager will then prompt for a username and password; by default, this is set to config/config. Figure 8 shows the login screen:

UCS Manager Login Screen

Figure 8 – UCS Manager Login ScreenWhen successfully run, the UCS Manager screen will be displayed and is ready for configuration; the main UCS Manager screen is shown in Figure 9:

UCS Manager Main Screen

 Figure 9 – UCS Manager Main Screen

UCS Emulator Download – Cisco UCS Platform Emulator v2

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