Show 26 – Virtual Connect – The Conversion ?

This week we are joined by Ken Henault from HP. Ken is a leader in the VirtualConnect product from HP. In the past, Greg has ranted about the the VirtualConnect product and how crap it looks so we got in touch to ‘go at it’ and see if he can be convinced that VC has value.

How did it go ? ….. you be the judge.

Thanks also to the people who tweeted their questions during the recording of the podcast.

  • 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? What’s 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

What’s Good About Virtual Connect ?

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

What’s 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 “Virtual Connect for Dummies”
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 it’s 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. I’ll be taking a closer look at this.


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