Let’s take a closer look at what this announcement means for Cisco UCS Customers. This announcement impacts the two fabrics interconnects in the 6200 product line: the Cisco 6248 fabric interconnect and the Cisco 6296 fabric interconnect.
Cisco 6248 EOL and Cisco 6296 EOL
The Cisco UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnect came in two main flavors:
- Cisco UCS 6248 Fabric Interconnect with 48 1/10 Gigabit Ethernet Ports (or 2/4/8 Gigabit Fibre Channel)
- Cisco UCS 6296 Fabric Interconnect with 96 1/10 Gigabit Ethernet Ports (or 2/4/8 Gigabit Fibre Channel)
Yes, you read that right. There used to be a model with 96 glorious ports of UCS. More on that later.
Next, let’s take a look at the dates covered in the announcement, and what they mean:
Announcement Date – March 1, 2019
Goodnight sweet prince, the date the end of life was announced for our Cisco UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnects.
End of Sale Date – May 31, 2019
The last day you can purchase the Cisco UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnects.
Last Ship Date – August 29, 2019
The last day you can have your Cisco UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnects shipped to you.
End of Routine Failure Analysis for HW – May 30, 2020
The last day you can find out why your Cisco UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnect hardware failed. Maybe it was just time?
End of New Service Attach Date – May 30, 2020
If you do not have an active service contract, the last day to order one for your Cisco UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnects.
End of Service Contract Renewal Date – August 26, 2023
The last day to extend or renew an existing service contract for the Cisco UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnects.
Last Date of Support – May 31, 2024
After this date, you will no longer be able to receive support from Cisco for your Cisco UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnects.
As you can see, there are a number of years before you can no longer receive support for your Cisco UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnects. While this means do not panic, it also means we need to start planning, especially if we are about to deploy a new environment with Cisco UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnects.
Why People Are Sad Over the End of Life for Cisco UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnects
People are a little sad over the end of the Cisco UCS 6200 series, especially the Cisco UCS 6296 Fabric Interconnect? Why? This particular 6200 series model is so much more dense than the Cisco UCS 6300 and Cisco UCS 6400 Fabric Interconnects of today.
You can see the difference between the Cisco UCS 6200s and the Cisco UCS 6400 here.
The big loss is the Cisco UCS 6296 Fabric Interconnect. Hopefully, Cisco has something waiting in the wings to solve this density problem when it comes to the Cisco UCS 6296 retirement.
When it comes to replacing the Cisco UCS 6248 with the Cisco UCS 6454, we do actually end up in a better spot.
The Writing Has Been On The Wall for the Cisco UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnects
Unfortunately, the writing has been on the wall for the Cisco UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnects for some time. Last year, the Cisco Nexus 5500 series switch product line received the end of life axe, and as you may or may not know, the Cisco UCS 6200 and Cisco Nexus 5500 are heavily related.
If you work with Cisco Products on a regular basis, you also know that the Cisco Nexus 9000 platform has been the superstar of the switching product line for some time now, so saying goodbye to our beloved Cisco UCS 6200s has been a long time coming.
Migrating from Cisco UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnects to Cisco UCS 6454 Fabric Interconnects
Cisco did not leave us in the lurch on this one. Since the release of the Cisco UCS 6454, there has been a migration guide on how to get from the Cisco UCS 6200 Series to the Cisco UCS 6400 series Fabric Interconnects. You can find this guide here. You can also find it in PDF format with screenshots here.
There are a couple of very important points to think about if you are planning a migration from a Cisco UCS 6200 Series to Cisco UCS 6454 Fabric Interconnect:
- UCS Manager. Both fabric interconnects must be running a minimum of UCS Manager 4.0(1) or later, and must be running the same Cisco UCS Manager version.
- The Cisco UCS 6454 requires new licenses.
- Back it all up before upgrading or migrating.
- Ensure your rack servers blades are compatible before upgrading Fabric Interconnects.
- If you deploy your Fabric Interconnects in pairs, this process should be non disruptive.
If you plan on undertaking this migration, be sure to thoroughly read the documentation before proceeding.
Architectural Considerations For the Cisco UCS 6200 to Cisco UCS 6400 Change
The biggest thing to consider when architecting with the Cisco UCS 6400 compared to the Cisco UCS 6200 is the total port count you are working with.
If you were used to the Cisco UCS 6248, the move to the Cisco UCS 6454 will be a breeze, since you will have 48 ports to connect to plus another 6 ports for uplinking to your Nexus environment, for a total of 54 ports over the 48 you are used to working with.
Keep in mind, the uplink ports are also much faster than the 10 Gigabit ports on the Cisco UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnects. You can uplink the Cisco UCS 6454 at 40 or 100 Gigabits.
Unfortunately, if you loved the Cisco UCS 6296 like I did, you will be at a bit of a disadvantage and need to plan and update designs accordingly.
If you are interested in Cisco UCS Architecture with some of the latest and greatest Cisco UCS components, be sure to check out these posts:
Introduction to Cisco UCS Architecture
Cisco UCS 6454 Fabric Interconnect Deep Dive
Cisco UCS C220 (Rack Server) Deep Dive
While technically speaking the Cisco UCS 6100s were my first UCS Fabric Interconnects, I spent a great deal of time working with the Cisco UCS 6200s. Since being introduced in March of 2012, the Cisco UCS 6200 Fabric Interconnects have had a great run, and I am looking forward to see what comes next in the land of Cisco UCS.
Melissa is an Independent Technology Analyst & Content Creator, focused on IT infrastructure and information security. She is a VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX-236) and has spent her career focused on the full IT infrastructure stack.