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VC Flex 10 versus ProCurve 6120

Hugh Wanger
Occasional Visitor

VC Flex 10 versus ProCurve 6120

I'm agonizing whether to go with Virtual Connect or ProCurve in my c7000.

Has anyone else been in this position?

Not sure I need the complexity or granularity of Virtual Connect.

Is ProCurve the strategic direction?

I can get a 6120XG and just give each server 10Gig, trunk 4 x 10G uplinks, seems simple.
Yet HP are steering me to Virtual Connect.

Has anyone owned both and can give their opinion?
The Brit
Honored Contributor

Re: VC Flex 10 versus ProCurve 6120

The real considerations here are not really related to banwidth, it is more about hardware flexibility and failure recovery.

There is a very seductive level of comfort associated with using a basic switch module, particularly if you are from a network background and are not familiar with Virtual connect. However I would recommend familiarizing yourself with the uses and capabilities of VC before discarding it as an option.

The primary advantage that you get from VC is that it virtualizes all of those items which normally have to be manually set up or modified when servers are physically swapped out, either due to failure, or for upgrade. For example, the hardware addresses on your NICs become virtual, controlled by VC, and VC then imposes these virtual values on the new server NICs. As a result, the external network need never know that the server has changed. Similarly, SAN storage is presented to servers based on the WWID of the server HBA ports. VC virtuallizes these so again, the Storage controllers never know that the server has changed.

The virtual information is stored by VC, in a profile. So if a server fails, simply replace the blade and reassign the profile to the new blade, then boot, Done! Alternatively, if you have a spare blade or
less important (say "Test" env) blade, then shutdown the spare, assign the production profile and boot, Done!

The flex10 side of the equation adds value in that it allows both of the 10GB server NICs to be carved up into (upto 4)virtual NICs, offering a total of 8 NICs per half height blade, without adding Mezz cards)

So it is not really about bandwidth, unless you ignor the (huge) flexibility which comes with Virtual Connect.


Magnus von Rosen
Frequent Advisor

Re: VC Flex 10 versus ProCurve 6120

I had no idea this existed, our HP rep said that Cisco does not have "anything like that".

Question: Will this use the 10GB LOM in the G6 servers? Or do I need to purchase special Mezz-cards?

I have no interest in using the Virtual Connect-functions. 4 NIC's are nice but not a requirement.

Magnus von Rosen
Frequent Advisor

Re: VC Flex 10 versus ProCurve 6120

In reply to your question, we have ordinary Cisco 3020, about 40 of them.
We recently put the dual Flex-10 switches in our latest enclosure.
Never again.
I have spent ours today, emergency-migrating Xen-servers to enclosures with ordinary Cisco-swithes.
The HP switch gets a new firmware each weak it seems, and the gui is extremely slow and sluggish. Wev'e had several network errors with Flex-10 that cannot be explained. Also, some settings don't make sense. And we also hit limitations in VLANs, that the Ciscos do not.

Virtual Connect is a nice idea, but as we very rarely move our servers around, we have no interest in Virtual Connect.
We are so not buying Flex-10 again.
Expensive lesson learned. I'm surprised that HP let this product out the door.
rick jones
Honored Contributor

Re: VC Flex 10 versus ProCurve 6120

I have not had occasion to try the ProCurve 6120 yet myself. I've been pleased with my experiences thusfar with rack-mounted ProCurve switches, but then I also have something of a built-in bias :) I look foward to getting past being one of the cobbler's children and getting my hands on a ProCurve 6120 reasonably soon.

That said, my understanding is that modulo not doing Virtual Connect or the "Flex-10 thing" the ProCurve 6120 can be used where you would otherwise use the VC Flex-10 Interconnect module. That is, it will speak at 10G to the LOM on the BL460 G6.
there is no rest for the wicked yet the virtuous have no pillows