In today’s datacenter environment, server systems and data transfer volumes are

increasing exponentially, presenting challenges to IT managers in terms of bandwidth

bottlenecks and connectivity costs. IT organizations are seeking solutions to simplify

the complexity of the server, LAN, and SAN environments as well as to increase the

scalability of the IT infrastructure.


Over the past decade, the industry has shifted to a distributed environment as

customers have implemented low-cost, pay-as-you-grow architectures. However, as

they deployed applications onto servers on a one-to-one basis, IT organizations foundthemselves with a tremendous amount of unused capacity and inflexible installations.  Adoption of x86 virtualization not only has enabled more applications to consolidate on a single server system but also has placed additional demand on network input/output (I/O) while adding to the complexity of managing the numerous virtual connections.


For the past several years, IDC has been reporting on the natural fit between blades

and virtualization, as the integrated architecture of the blade platform matches well

with the goals of virtualization. IDC forecasts that the virtual machine (VM) density on

servers will continue to increase as companies utilize virtualization to reduce physical

server sprawl and lower hardware expenses. Until recently, there have been limited

choices for network I/O on blade-based deployments, with a typical blade supporting only the bare minimum number of Ethernet connections to effectively support virtualized applications. To facilitate this increasing VM density and to ensure the operation of enterprise applications running inside the VMs, the amount of system, memory, and I/O bandwidth in blade systems must increase.


HP Virtual Connect technology is an interconnect option for HP BladeSystem designed

to simplify the connection of blade servers to datacenter networks. Virtual Connect

creates pools of LAN and SAN addresses that can be assigned dynamically to server

bays. HP Virtual Connect Flex-10 builds on the core HP Virtual Connect technology by extending I/O virtualization to the network interface card (NIC) ports on each blade server. Networking hardware costs and support burdens are reduced as only a single HP Virtual Connect interconnect module is required to support up to four “FlexNICs” compared with the four switches that would have been required with

previous-generation blade I/O technology. Additionally, Flex-10 has the capability to

throttle the bandwidth to ensure a more efficient use of networking resources. As

attested to by customers who have implemented early Flex-10 deployments, it can

reduce management complexity, increase IT utilization, and improve the total cost of ownership (TCO).¦lt;br /> IDC Whitepaper on TCO of HP Virtual Connect Flex-10