New HP Ethernet Module Aimed at Eliminating Network Switches

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2008-11-17 Print this article Print

The Virtual Connect Flex-10 Ethernet module can allocate the bandwidth of a 10GB Ethernet network port across four network interface card (NIC) connections. HP also claims that users deploying virtual machines and utilizing Flex-10 can cut their network equipment costs in half.

You've probably heard of virtual machine sprawl, the phenomenon data center managers experience when the number of VMs simply gets out of control in an enterprise system.

Well, network switches may also be starting to get out of control, too.
Hewlett-Packard Nov. 17 introduced its Virtual Connect Flex-10 Ethernet module, a storage and server networking hardware/software product that is designed to cut down on the number of network switches needed in an enterprise system.

HP claims that Virtual Connect Flex-10 is the industry's first interconnect that can allocate the bandwidth of a 10 Gigabit Ethernet network port across four NIC (network interface card) connections. It also enables users to assign different bandwidth requirements to each connection.

Read eWEEK Labs' review of HP's ProLiant DL185 G5 storage server here.

Currently, IT managers must purchase costly network switches in either 1GB or 10GB Ethernet increments to meet the increased bandwidth required for additional virtual server workloads.

By increasing bandwidth flexibility using the Flex-10 module, the need for additional dedicated switches is eliminated. HP claims users deploying virtual machines and utilizing Virtual Connect Flex-10 can cut their network equipment costs in half, over time, as a result.

"This [Flex-10 launch] is a watershed kind of event in server networking," Mark Potter, vice president and general manager of HP BladeSystems, told me.

"Customers are having to put six to eight network connectors [NICs] in every server in a virtualized environment to connect all the different services they need," Potter said. "They have a choice of a 1GB or a 10GB-there's nothing in between. Typically, they need at least 1GB per connection, but 10GB is too much [to pay] for any one of them."

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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