Video: Virtual Fabric for IBM BladeCenter

By | October 29, 2009

The below video is something I shot yesterday while at Storage Networking Europe in Frankfurt Germany. 

In the video, William Lloyd Scull Senior Network Architect at BLADE Network Technologies, demos a feature of the IBM BladeCenter Virtual Fabric (comprised of Emulex OneConnect UCNA, BLADE Network Technologies Blade Switches and IBM BladeCenter hardware).

In the video William dynamically reduces network bandwidth allocated to a vSwitch from 2500Mbps down to 1900Mbps, as well as talks us through some of the other features and some of the hardware involved in the Virtual Fabric solution.

Its an interesting video if you want quick and dirty overview of Virtual Fabric for IBM BladeCenter and a glimpse at what it looks like with the lid off.  The video was not rehearsed, and although Id gone through the same thing with William the day before he had no idea I would turn up again the next day with my video camera and ask him to perform to the world šŸ˜‰

So thanks to William for being a good sport.  Enjoy……..

First impressions for me are similar to my thoughts on HP Virtual Connect Flex-10…….  In fact this is very similar to VC Flex-10 but with a more clear roadmap for FCoE and is built on a solid Converged Network Adapter (OneConnect UCNA) from Emulex.  However, as good as it is, its very generation 1.  But that’s not a huge issue because these are early days in this area.  Everybody else is in a similar position.  To my knowledge there is nobody doing hairpin turns in silicon yet and we are all a long way off MR-IOV and the new rack area landscape which that makes possible……..

So…. an important technology for IBM, may be slightly better than Virtual Connect Flex-10 but is probably not quite as good as some of the stuff Cisco is doing with Palo… But a solid foundation to build on (see my previous post on the Emulex OneConnect Universal Converged Network Adapter for more info).

Thoughts and comments welcome as usual…..


Oh and you can follow me on Twitter where I talk about storage technologies (@nigelpoulton) and I am also available for hire as a consultant.

2 thoughts on “Video: Virtual Fabric for IBM BladeCenter

  1. Steven Ruby

    pretty cool. you need to stop posting stuff like this because it’s actually starting to brainwash me into giving it a try. i wonder how the interop between cisco nexus, brocade, hp VC and emulex will be once the standard is complete? how do you see that playing out?

  2. Nigel Poulton

    Yeh I think these videos are great too. Gets people interested. Was amazed at how many folks on booth duty at SNWE didnt want to let me do videos of them and their kit…… <sigh>  Much kudos to William from BLADE Networks for agreeing.

    On the topic of interop…..  as you know Ethernet is traditionally better at interop than FC. In fact FC is huge vendor lock in.  Obviously from the point of view of FCoE in the currently possible implementations such as FCoE edge switch connecting back to FC backbone then a Brocade edge switch is not going to play game with a Cisco MDS core switch etc. Dont expect much to change there.

    As for further down the line and interop between multi-vendor CEE switches and FCoE switches (FCF <–> FCF) we’ll have to wait and see but it will take effort to make them all play together.

    Cynics will say that the vendors have a vested interest not to play ball with the competition and keep people locked to their kit.

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