Q&A with John Joyal of HP Virtual Connect
VSM: HP has published several ‘Dummies’ books about their products, the most recent being ‘HP Virtual Connect for Dummies.’ Virtual Connect is a server edge virtualization solution…how exactly does it work?
JJ: While server virtualization helps to better utilize resources in the datacenter, it has also exposed the issue of increased complexity. As more applications have been consolidated onto fewer servers using virtual machines, the input/output (I/O) demand on those servers has increased. The end result is more complexity and density of the I/O at the server edge, a concern that is on business managers’ minds when considering virtualization solutions.
HP Virtual Connect is a portfolio of interconnect modules, firmware and software for HP BladeSystem that virtualizes the connections of servers to LANs and SANs. As such, server administrators are able to quickly add or replace servers and move workloads without needing to involve network and storage teams, further making IT operations faster and more efficient. Using HP Flex-10 technology, Virtual Connect enables clients to consolidate four interconnect modules into one to optimize application bandwidth, further reducing costs and the amount of networking equipment needed.
The HP Virtual Connect portfolio also includes the new HP Virtual Connect FlexFabric 10Gb/24-Port module which connects servers to any combination of Fibre Channel, Ethernet and iSCSI network with a single interconnect module. By enabling IT to simplify server connectivity to networks without adding switches to manage, IT can reduce server edge infrastructure up to 95 percent. With just four enclosures of blade servers, this can save organizations up to $185,000.
VSM: Increasingly, management of an environment is the main concern when administrators are making improvements and changes. How does Virtual Connect make management easier?
JJ: HP Virtual Connect allows system administrators to perform such tasks as adding or changing a server, or moving the workload from one server to another without needing to involve LAN and SAN administrators in every change.
To set up and administer the network addresses, connection profiles, and other Virtual Connect resources, HP provides management options for both large and small environments. HP Virtual Connect Manager (VCEM) provides a built-in Web GUI interface and a fully scriptable Command Line Interface (CLI) designed to manage up to four BladeSystem enclosures full of servers and network connections. As a result, system administrators become more self sufficient.
For larger environments, Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager is a software application that centralizes server connectivity and workload management for hundreds of Virtual Connect domains and thousands of servers from a single console. Virtual Connect Enterprise Manager can control up to 1,000 enclosures today —that’s up to 16,000 blade servers!
VSM: With what networking infrastructures is it compatible?
JJ: HP Virtual Connect is compatible with all industry standards based infrastructures such as those from HP Networking, or those from other vendors, including Cisco and Brocade. This enables clients to maximize the benefits and cost savings for a more efficient and manageable data center.