Show 26 – Virtual Connect – The Conversion ?

  • Why did HP Create Virtual Connect? ( define the business problems)
  • Physical – Too many Cable or Too many switches
  • Organizational – 3 teams managing one blade enclosure
  • Agility & resiliency – Separate workload from physical server

mezzanine card = blade

What is Virtual Connect? Whatís needed to use it?

  • two minutes on virtual network adapters and how it impacts server and network design.

History of Virtual Connect

  • 1Gb
  • 10Gb w/Flex-10
  • FCoE – FlexFabric

Whatís Good About Virtual Connect ?

  • Fit into any environment
  • Reduce cables without adding ìswitchesî
  • Enable stateless servers
  • Bridge between Server team & LAN/SAN teams

Whatís the difference between Flex-10, FlexFabric, etc etc.

How to understand the differences, because I find the plethora of products to be confusing and a lot of the terminology drives me mad.

Links to relevant HP documenation

Virtual Connect Homepage

Virtual Connect FlexFabric homepage

HP BladeSystem Technical resources
Link to the ìVirtual Connect for Dummiesî
Virtual Connect for the Cisco Network Administrator
Virtual Connect Ethernet CookBook
Eye on Blades blog

In addition to full iSCSI offload, the Virtual Connect FlexFabric module supports and manages iSCSI boot. The iSCSI boot parameters can be managed as part of the Virtual Connect server profile, creating a stateless server using a cost effective iSCSI boot device. This capability was only available on Native Fibre Channel in previous versions of Virtual Connect, now itís available on all storage protocols supported by the Virtual Connect FlexFabric module; Fibre Channel, FCoE and iSCSI. Much as I’m confused by Virtual Connect for its complexity and stupid design parameters, at least they have delivered a viable iSCSI solution for blade / chassis servers. Iíll be taking a closer look at this.


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  • Matthew Norwood

    I’ve been listening to this off and on throughout the day today. I’m afraid I am still somewhat confused with VIrtual Connect and Flex10. I have a bunch of HP blade centers/chassis/enclosures on my company network, and thankfully the storage/systems people manage them, with the exception of the Cisco switch modules we have in a few of them. This was definitely a worthwhile topic to cover, because even though HP networking in the blade world is still confusing, it is somewhat less confusing after hearing Greg and Ethan hash it out with Ken. Much appreciated for this one!