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Incompatibility betw. VC-FLEX-10 and Intel 10Gb NIC

Rob Ekkers
Occasional Advisor

Incompatibility betw. VC-FLEX-10 and Intel 10Gb NIC

Hi,
We want to set up a Stonefly SAN containing an Intel 10Gb NIC with a HP Blade C7000 with VC-FLEX-10 Interconnects using SFP+. The Stonefly (running a Linux version) doesn't accept the HP SFP+ cable: "The driver failed to load because an unsupported SFP+ module type was detected." The server does only accept HP cables, so we are stuck.
Is this a known issue and what can be done?
Thanks for your help,
Rob Ekkers
9 REPLIES
Pieter 't Hart
Honored Contributor

Re: Incompatibility betw. VC-FLEX-10 and Intel 10Gb NIC

do i understand correctly your SFP+ module(s) is(are) integrated in the cable?
if so you may have the option to look for separate SFP+ modules, one supported in the Stonefly and the other supported in the HP server.

btw it's not clear to me if you need sfp's for SAN or for NIC.
Rob Ekkers
Occasional Advisor

Re: Incompatibility betw. VC-FLEX-10 and Intel 10Gb NIC

Some more details:
The cable is twinax copper, not optical. The problem is really an incompatibility between the Intel 10Gb NIC (http://www.intel.com/support/network/adapter/10gbe/afdadualserver/) and the HP VC-Flex10 (http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Document.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&taskId=120&prodSeriesId=3794423&prodTypeId=3709945&objectID=c01602755).

The Intel drivers test for supported SFP+ modules, HP is obviously not supported. Why? HP only accepts its own cables. I can understand why, but it does create a problem.

It is very undesirable that two such big brands create devices that are mutually incompatible.
Regards,
Rob
Pieter 't Hart
Honored Contributor

Re: Incompatibility betw. VC-FLEX-10 and Intel 10Gb NIC

you can purchase HP-cables, but also "normal" sfp-modules
http://bizsupport2.austin.hp.com/bc/docs/support/SupportManual/c01608922/c01608922.pdf

appendix table a2 mentions only fiber as 10G sfp's
copper is only 1G : 453154-B21 HP 1Gb RJ45 SFP
rick jones
Honored Contributor

Re: Incompatibility betw. VC-FLEX-10 and Intel 10Gb NIC

At the risk of exposing my own ignorance, and as unpalatable as it may be, it would seem the solution (or workaround depending on the point of view) would be to switch to optical cabling so each end has its own transceivers.
there is no rest for the wicked yet the virtuous have no pillows
Pieter 't Hart
Honored Contributor

Re: Incompatibility betw. VC-FLEX-10 and Intel 10Gb NIC

using fiber clashes with the requirements of the "Intel® 10 Gigabit AF DA Dual Port Server Adapter" where the doc's say :
>>>
Cabling
â ¢ SFP+ direct attached cable (twinaxial) only
â ¢ Other SFP+ optics are not allowed
and cannot be used with this adapter
<<<

So both systems have there own demands.

You may be able to connect indirectly with a 10G switch in between that accepts both direct attached cables.
>>>
the Intel 10 Gigabit AF DA Dual Port Server Adapter provides direct attach copper
twinaxial cable connections between servers and a top-of-rack switch.
<<<
Rob Ekkers
Occasional Advisor

Re: Incompatibility betw. VC-FLEX-10 and Intel 10Gb NIC

Thanks for help and suggestions, but you guys forget one thing: money. Of course a switch in between works, but what do you think a 10Gb switch costs? Also an optical solution is possible, but that has a considerable price tag as well. A simple solution is even: boot the unit containg the Intel NIC with a standard SFP+ cable connected, and after the drivers have been loaded, replace it with the HP cable connected to the VC-FLEX-10. That works!
But who wants to offer his customers a solution like this? We don't.
I think that HP should take its responsability and make sure that its devices interface with other's like Intel. 10Gb is quite new. I can't say whose fault this is, HP or Intel. Never mind, we have a flaw here, let's solve it!
rick jones
Honored Contributor

Re: Incompatibility betw. VC-FLEX-10 and Intel 10Gb NIC

Since this isn't a formal bug reporting channel I'll insert the usual boilerplate :)

By all means fire-up the support contract and have the Response Center log a defect.

That would be the best way to make certain the right folks see it.
there is no rest for the wicked yet the virtuous have no pillows
Rob Ekkers
Occasional Advisor

Re: Incompatibility betw. VC-FLEX-10 and Intel 10Gb NIC

Thanks Rick, I realize that this is not a bug reporting site. We are a storage reseller and trying to solve this for a current and (hopefully many) future customers. We don't have this HP blade ourselves, so there is no support contract. We just ran into this problem. If you could suggest me contact to bring this under attention I'd be very grateful.
rick jones
Honored Contributor

Re: Incompatibility betw. VC-FLEX-10 and Intel 10Gb NIC

This is the point where I have to get sheepish and say that I'm not really sure where to point you then and will have to defer to someone else following this thread. Sorry.
there is no rest for the wicked yet the virtuous have no pillows