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Cisco UCS or HP hardware for VMware SRM?

Do you prefer using Cisco UCS or HP hardware to run VMware SRM ?

Let me know your real world experiences when it comes to server configuration, ease of setup, etc. 

Please detail why you chose one vendor over the other if possible. 

ITCS user
1212 Answers

author avatar

Actually there's a difference and I'd suggest what you need to look at is the integration between SRM and storage. Storage integration with SRM is key and if you look on the VMware Compatibility Guide for SRM, storage is all that is listed, not servers. Last I checked, Cisco wasn't doing storage. Within HPE's Storage portfolio, we have Storage Adapters for SRM across all the major storage products (MSA, StoreVirtual, 3PAR, and XP Disk array).

Also of significance is that HPE is a design partner with VMware. So while SRM doesn't work with VMware vVols, it will in the near future. With 3PAR, we had day 1 support for vVols when VMware introduced it and if fact 3PAR was VMware's exclusive FC array development platform.

So I think the question you should be asking is storage integration as that is what is key for SRM. Here is a link to VMware Compatibility Guide for SRM that I mentioned: https://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php?deviceCategory=sra

author avatar

Hardware is hardware, it really doesn't matter from a SRM perspective. To comment on Steve Clark's experience, whatever sales engineer told you there wasn't a way to rolling update is out of their mind. You can update single blades in UCS manager, you can plan rolling restarts etc.

I do think there are some VERY strong benefits to UCS over every other platform out there. I've also used Dell, and IBM blades in very large data center environments. What I like about USC is that they run off of profiles.

So let's say for example that you have some test / dev blades and you have a failure of one of your production blades, if you're booting from SAN you can simply change the profile of your test / dev blade to that of production and your back online. No other server vendor has that capability at the moment.

It's very powerful stuff. It does mean management is a bit more complex because you have to create the profiles, but I believe it's worth it.

author avatar
Top 5LeaderboardReal User

Major enterprise firms I am seeing use Netapp and EMC storage for SRM ...yes I agree to the effect that it takes a team effort to implement and manage SRM DraaS testing for large customers ..it's definitely a niche skill ...netapp Snapmirror and EMC Rpa. On a side note ..I recently started testing Nakivo backup appliance in POC lab

author avatar

UCS is super easy for from our standpoint - but I would take a look at Zerto vs SRM. You will be happy you did!

author avatar
ExpertTop 5Real User

@Paul - I have to disagree with needing a consulting company to set up SRM. I have deployed SRM in our environment with Nimble Storage and it works perfectly. I completed the entire setup and configuration myself so if you know VMware and your Storage well you can complete the installation yourself without requiring a third party company. As for the hardware type never used UCS as we have all HP gear for our VMware Clusters which is rock solid with no problems other than the firmware updates every now and then.

author avatar

There's no point in asking, no great differences between them, hardware is very standardized nowadays. So management software. BTW I ended in using a solution that manages orchestration and replication at the hypervisor layer, sparing me a lot of troubles, but this is probably out of the scope of your question.
Best regards, Emanuele.

author avatar

I have used SRM with a multitude of storage vendors and also using VMware replication. My experience with storage replication is that storage vendors dont always release newer versions of their replication adapter and its an extra hassle to keep inside the supported matrix.

Recently we have moved away from SRM and now use Zerto instead which is great. Its also possible to replicate between ESX and Hyper-V (i.e. use Hyper-V as a recovery site to save on licensing expensive VMware) which works great. I would never go back to SRM having used Zerto. Zerto also helps with a more gradular upgrade approach too as its possible to replicate from an older version of ESX to a newer version of ESX or indeed the other way around.

As for your original question, would I choose UCS over HP? No way - HP is rock solid, I have used it since the Compaq days - love the stuff! I echo the firmware issues on the UCS too, certainly in the earlier days, a nightmare at times!

author avatar

My former company used Cisco blade but its not about the Servers Stack as it is about the functionality.  If the customer already has the SRM licensing than I recommend proceeding with either blade model.  The killer is the storage volumes and the v-replicate tool functionality.   It not meant for larger workloads. without SAN replication attached.
I would highly recommend a product called Zerto;  SAN agnostic, fail-over fail-back, orchestration, testing and simple reporting.  Blows SRM away.
If this member has any more question or would like to see Zerto in action let me know.  It is simply a game changer.

author avatar
Real User

I've had some bad experiences w/ Cisco UCS - specifically around firmware. It seemed every time we needed to update firmware (as an example - firmware didn't allow full functionality of Hyper-V administration) - every box had to be updated at the same time, meaning a complete system outage (or at least that's what our vendor explained - I can't believe there wasn't some possibility to waterfall the outages over a weekend and eliminate the need for a complete outage). Imagine telling your CRM and ERP users they need to take a 24 hour outage if you are a global company.
I've never run HP, so can't comment on their capabilities. Always had good luck w/ Dell.
How large or a DR scenario are you looking at?? Have you considered software replication between sites, which is much more flexible......

author avatar
Top 5LeaderboardReal User

It is truly independent of the hardware that you have. If the question is directed to which of the two platforms use I would go for the UCS, without this meaning that HP is bad, not at all.

Reasons? Well, it would be because I used this platform in several of my deployments and is very simple to set up. Always keep in mind that SRM is a product of VMware and as such runs on ESXi, and its configuration has little to really do with the underlying platform. Another advantage is that UCS can access many advantages in the network subsystem, allowing interconnection in a network of this manufacturer is much more transparent. SingleConnect technologies like Cisco are very attractive to keep order and eficiency in the data center. In short, if your network technology is Cisco, UCS is the way.

On the other hand, if HP is the manufacturer of your choice or technology have them in your company, you can go by HP. SRM will do its job well anyway.

I hope I have been helpful

author avatar

I wouldnt implement SRM, I would use Zerto, installs in less than 2 hrs and
just works. With SRM you need a consulting company to deploy and it really
doesnt matter the hardware platform.

author avatar

Cisco UCS is my preference.


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