IBM Virtual Fabric®: Fast, Flexible and Reliable I/O
When it comes to I/O, data centers face more challenges than ever before, including:
- Expensive server configurations with four or more NIC connections.
- Applications requiring more than 1Gb but less than 10Gb of network bandwidth.
- Demand to reduce capital and infrastructure costs.
- Finite power envelope and rising energy prices.
- Focus on ROI with future flexibility to adjust bandwidth per NIC as demand require.
- Demand for lower latency and better end user experience.
- More layers of complexity in the data center.
- Higher levels of security and availability.
Welcome Virtual Fabric from IBM, which provides fast, flexible and reliable I/O solutions that fit into your existing data center and offers you a new way to overcome these challenges. This new and innovative solution based on Emulex adapters and specific IBM products is different than other vNIC solutions in that it carves up dedicated pipes between the adapter and the switch. This solution is built on industry standards, provides maximum performance in both directions and allows for pipes to be allocated at any speed from 1GbE to 10GbE. Building a Dynamic Infrastructure today with IBM Virtual Fabric also allows for advanced levels of security and higher levels of availability per virtual NIC by leveraging virtual pipes, which isolate vNICs from each other.
|Reduce Cost and Complexity: Leveraging a single 10GbE dual-port adapter and creating virtual pipes to fewer upstream switch ports helps drive out cost and complexity in IT infrastructures by requiring up to 75% fewer adapters, cables and upstream switch ports. It is also important to note this can be leveraged across multiple application environments not just virtualization. When compared to leveraging multiple 1GbE ports, clients can see:
- Potential of over 40% acquisition cost savings.
- Up to 75% reduction in power consumption.
- Significantly simpler management with less cabling and fewer components to manage.
- Easy integration into existing clients' setups (virtual or non-virtual).
|Performance: Leveraging Emulex and the IBM switches can provide extreme levels of performance versus multiple 1GbE implementation or other vendors’ vNIC implementations with:
- The creation of virtual pipes between the adapter and switch, helping predictable delivery and maximum performance per vNIC.
- Low latency at approximately less than 680 nanoseconds for the IBM RackSwitch G8124.
- From 2.5 to 10 times more I/O bandwidth per severs compared with other comparable solutions.
- Up to 20% more virtual machines per server when compared to equivalent 10Gb adapters.
- Faster data transfer between virtual machines (VMs) and faster backup in case of disaster recovery
|Scalable and Flexible: Ability to adjust as your requirements and needs dictate by:
- Selecting the number of ports that you need: 2, 4, 6 or 8.
- Being able to allocate the exact bandwidth needed for each vNIC.
- Having the ability to repurpose your servers and dynamic reassign bandwidth allocation as needed with no server downtime.
- In addition, with the IBM BladeCenter solution specifically, IBM supports the ability of having one vNIC on each port used for iSCSI with hardware offload when using the Emulex 10GbE Virtual Fabric Adapter Advanced or the Advanced Upgrade for the earlier Emulex adapter. There are also plans to support CNA like functionality for FCoE in a vNIC for later in 2011.
|High Availability and Security: With the consolidation of multiple VMs per server, the demands for security and availability are more critical. Thus, the IBM Virtual Fabric solutions using Emulex and IBM innovations as they:
- Reduce security concerns by isolating vNICs from each other, delivering similar security levels as having to separate I/O adapters
- Maximize up-time by isolating vNICs from each other in addition to separating Virtual Groups. Clients have the comfort knowing the unlikely event of a vNIC failure will not impact other vNICs.
- Intelligent Failure Monitoring to enable automatic failover between physical or virtual ports in an event of uplink port failure.
- Easy recovery from failures even when operating with virtual ports.
Products and Resources
IBM System x Implementation
IBM BladeCenter Implementation
IBM Flex System Implementation