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My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together
HP have a very clever 10Gb Ethernet technology called Flex10, which is an evolution of the previous Virtual Connect modules, it allows you to carve a single 10Gb NIC into multiple FlexNICs of varying capacities; this is especially useful if you are looking to deploy vSphere on HP blades.
it can be tricky to visualise Flex10 without some pictures and simple explanations of how it’s put into practice, and I know I struggled with this when I first implemented it as well as various firmware/driver update issues - luckily Julian Wood (also in the UK) has an excellent set of posts on just this very subject – check out his blog here
Julian has some specific posts around Flex10 as below;
my HP, EVA, c-series blade resources can be found here and my original How does Virtual Connect Work? guide (now very out of date) is here
As an aside just before the Christmas break I did some work with a customer implementing the next-generation of Flex10 blade hardware which is called FlexFabric, essentially using the on-board 10Gb NICs in G7 HP blades as a converged network adapter (CNA) to do FCoE and Ethernet in a single device, it’s clever but I’ve seen a significant number of driver and firmware issues so some of the kinks are still being worked out in ESX/HP integration but it looks like they are getting there now.
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We went through this exercise last year and I can 100% confirm the driver/firmware pains. I spent an incredible amount of time bringing our (then) 3 year old chassis and all its fixings up to date with the latest firmware, and had some ESX NIC driver issues at first as well (with the G7 blades) but it was all resolved and has been working flawlessly since! Definitely worth the pain 🙂
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