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FlexConnect with Nexus 1000v?

 
DerekS_1
Frequent Advisor

FlexConnect with Nexus 1000v?

I'm in the midst of planning for a ESX consolidation project with the HP BladeSystem. I know the 1000v isn't out yet, but my question is related to the FC-10.

Would it be possible to 'bypass' most of the FC-10 functionality, except the four virtual NIC /w bandwidth control, and let the 1000v do all the fancy VLAN, security, port assignment, profiles, etc.? Or MUST the FC-10 be in charge of all ethernet properties and thus 'interfere' with the 1000v and a Nexus 5000v?

If the FC-10 must be configured with all the complicated properties, then in lieu of a future 10G pass-through module, would the generic HP 10G switch module be the best bet?
7 REPLIES
Ken Henault
Honored Contributor

Re: FlexConnect with Nexus 1000v?

I assume you mean Virtual Connect. You can tunnel all the VLANs through The Flex-10 Virtual Connect (or any Virtual Connect module). Nexus and Flex-10 work great together.
Ken Henault
Infrastructure Architect
HP
DerekS_1
Frequent Advisor

Re: FlexConnect with Nexus 1000v?

Yes you are correct! My concern is once we introduce the 1000v that the Virtual Connect module would require additional configuration steps that would need to be coordinated with the 1000v configuration.

Besides the ability of the Flex-10 module to present virtual NICs to the physical servers with custom bandwidth (which is very cool), my preference would be to use it as a 'pass through' module. Meaning 100% of the network configuration would be done on the 1000v and 5000v switches and the network guys would not need to touch the Flex-10 configuration.

A 100% transparent bridge would be my ideal situation, meaning all advanced Ethernet features like QoS, VLANs, trunking, etc. between the 1000v and 5000v would pass through.

Is this possible?
Ken Henault
Honored Contributor

Re: FlexConnect with Nexus 1000v?


QOS is not supported today, but VLANs and trunking can be passed through by using the VLAN tunneling configuration. When VLAN Tunneling is selected, all VLANs are passed from the uplinks to the downlinks unchanged.

The intent of Virtual Connect is that it is managed by the server administrator. That way they don't hove to go back to the server team every time a change is needed. So when the enclosure is set up, all the network team needs to know is what VLANs to present to the enclosure. The server admin then configures what network(s) to present to each port on the server.
Ken Henault
Infrastructure Architect
HP
DerekS_1
Frequent Advisor

Re: FlexConnect with Nexus 1000v?

So it sounds like the VC-10 can't operate in a 100% transparent manner with all advanced Ethernet features. Are there other Ethernet features that the FC-10 would not pass transparently besides QoS? For example, if we configured port authentication or port security on the 1000v, would that be passed through?

In my perfect world the server admin would only configure the FC-10 for the number of virtual NICs and bandwidth of each. No VLANs, no port security, no trunking, nothing.

The network admins would then configure the Nexus 1000V with all their security, QoS, VLANs, trunking, port authentication, etc. which is tied to a 1000v profile which Virtual Infrastructure sees. The server admin would then pick the 1000v port profile in VI they need and associate it with a VM NIC. This way neither the server nor networking team needs to touch the FC-10 for networking parameters.

So in my mind HP's VC FC-10 still is a bump in the road to a seamless 1000v/5000v architecture and HP needs to put additional work into their BladeSystem interconnects to create the best environment for the Nexus virtual and physical switches.
Ken Henault
Honored Contributor

Re: FlexConnect with Nexus 1000v?

If you want Cisco proprietary functionality HP offer some great Cisco switch modules for the c-Class enclosure.

If you want a all the benefits of Virtual Connect, you have to live with the functionality defined in IEEE standards. Most everything you're looking to accomplish can be done with Virtual Connect, but you have to look at it from a different perspective. When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

To take advantage of all the functionality of Virtual Connect like configurable bandwidth, and stateless servers, you need to be open to other ways of doing things.
Ken Henault
Infrastructure Architect
HP
Christian Frantsen
Occasional Visitor

Re: FlexConnect with Nexus 1000v?

DerekS_1
Frequent Advisor

Re: FlexConnect with Nexus 1000v?

Right, but I think HP would be smart to give the customer the flexibility to go both ways with one product, depending on their requirements. It would also be a selling point, IMHO. HP could say, "Hey, we offer VC for Ethernet that works with any IEEE switch, or fully support the Nexus architecture, your choice."

All that really needs to happen, from my understanding (which may be incorrect) is to offer a fully "transparent mode" to the FC-10 that is 100% compatible with all 1000v/5000v features including QoS and advanced port security functionality.

If the customer is not Cisco oriented or using non-virtualized servers, then use the HP provided VC solution and allow VC to handle all the magic. Or if the customer is a Cisco shop and a heavy ESX user, then offer a FC-10 transparent mode that lets the customer fully utilize the Nexus architecture.

If HP is really opposed to allowing the FC-10 be transparent or there's a hardware limitation on such a mode, then work with Cisco to offer a Nexus 2000-like fabric extender interconnect which supports the 4 NIC flex architecture of the 10G NICs. This would also have the advantage of supporting Converged Network Adaptors (CNA) for even fewer cables and lower cost.

Thanks for you input though, as its helped my understanding.