By Ray Nix & John Joyal (HP Virtual Connect Product Marketing)
The HP Virtual Connect FlexFabric Module and HP FlexFabric Adapters provide the simplest way to connect servers to any network. Virtual Connect FlexFabric modules eliminate data center network sprawl—optimized for virtualized environments with the best practice IO configuration shipping standard on ProLiant server blades. And the best part: you can connect them to your industry standard networks with no disruption.
The HP Virtual Connect FlexFabric module connects servers to any network with one device. Instead of needing separate connections for Fibre Channel, Ethernet and iSCSI, with the Virtual Connect FlexFabric module, customers now only need one device. We’ve built FlexFabric adapters into most of the new G7 servers, further simplifying connectivity, lowering cost, and extending the automated, wire-once change ready approach. FlexFabric Adapter mezzanine cards are available for customers with previous generation BladeSystem server blades. By using the HP solution, customers can:
- Reduce up to 95 percent of network sprawl at the server edge
- Save up to 65% on equipment costs and up to 40% on power and cooling costs
A quick overview of the major product enhancements timeline includes:
- 2007: HP introduced Virtual Connect–this simplified connection management, saved time and enabled customers to quickly make changes to connections.
- 2008: Virtual Connect introduced Flex-10 technology; dramatically reducing costs, consolidating physical connections, optimizing bandwidth and saving power costs.
- 2009: Virtual Connect added Flex-10 to the best-selling blade – the HP ProLiant BL460
- 2010: HP extended Virtual Connect to their line of HP Integrity Servers.
And the response to date—more than 3.8 million ports shipped to more than 3000 customers. This is explosive growth in just a few short years. In a Q2, 2010 report from the Dell’Oro Group, shows 13% of ALL 10Gb ports shipped worldwide are on Virtual Connect modules—illustrating that Virtual Connect is helping to drive industry 10Gb adoption in the marketplace.
HP Virtual Connect FlexFabric modules and FlexFabric Adapters, provide the flexibility to provision from 2 to 8 connections (standard) on each half height server and even more on full-height servers; ideal for today’s demanding virtualized and converged infrastructures. Each port of either the integrated FlexFabric Adapter or a FlexFabric Adapter Mezzanine card becomes 4 physical connections. All 4 can either be Ethernet connections, called FlexNICs, or one can become a Fibre Channel connection (FCoE) or an iSCSI connection – called a FlexHBA. Each of the FlexNICs and FlexHBA’s can be adjusted to the right bandwidth for each workload so you are not forced to over-provision and under-provision resulting in improved bandwidth utilization. With Standard 1Gb or 10Gb adapters, you are locked into inflexible bandwidth allocations for your workloads, but with Virtual Connect, you can precisely match connection bandwidth to meet the needs of each workload and maximize utilization of total bandwidth. VC FlexFabric modules are the most flexible in the industry… only one device is required to connect to Ethernet and FC or iSCSI.
Maintaining a huge collection of networking equipment to support a traditional infrastructure is now a thing of the past. With just a pair of Virtual Connect FlexFabric modules in a BladeSystem environment, you can accomplish the same thing. Just 2 Virtual Connect FlexFabric modules provide all you need to connect up to 16 blade servers per enclosure to LANs and SANs. Only HP has converged and significantly simplified infrastructure. Click here to listen to a podcast about HP Virtual Connect FlexFabric module.