NIC Virtualization in IBM Flex System Fabric Solutions

A draft IBM Redbooks publication


The deployment of server virtualization technologies in data centers requires significant efforts in providing sufficient network I/O bandwidth to satisfy the demand of virtualized applications and services. For example, every virtualized system can host several dozen applications and services. Each of these services requires certain bandwidth (or speed) to function properly. Furthermore, because of different network traffic patterns that are relevant to different service types, these traffic flows can interfere with each other. They can lead to serious network problems, including the inability of the service to perform its functions.

The NIC virtualization in IBM® Flex System Fabric solutions addresses these issues. The solutions are based on the IBM Flex System® Enterprise Chassis with a 10 Gbps Converged Enhanced Ethernet infrastructure. This infrastructure is built on IBM Flex System Fabric CN4093 and EN4093R 10 Gbps Ethernet switch modules, and IBM Flex System Fabric SI4093 Switch Interconnect modules in the chassis and the Emulex Virtual Fabric Adapters in each compute node.

This IBM Redbooks® publication introduces NIC virtualization concepts and technologies, discusses their deployment scenarios, and provide configuration examples that use IBM Networking OS technologies combined with the Emulex Virtual Fabric adapters.

This book is for IBM, IBM Business Partner and client networking professionals who want to learn how to implement NIC virtualization solutions and switch interconnect technologies on IBM Flex System by using the IBM Unified Fabric Port (UFP) mode, Switch Independent mode, and IBM Virtual Fabric mode.

This book assumes that the reader has basic knowledge of the networking concepts and technologies, including OSI model, Ethernet LANs, Spanning Tree protocol, VLANs, VLAN tagging, uplinks, trunks, and static and dynamic (LACP) link aggregation.

Table of contents

Chapter 1. I/O module and NIC virtualization features in the IBM Flex System environment
Chapter 2. IBM Flex System networking architecture and Fabric portfolio
Chapter 3. NIC virtualization considerations on the switch side
Chapter 4. NIC virtualization considerations on the server side
Chapter 5. Flex System NIC virtulization deployment scenarios


These pages are Web versions of IBM Redbooks- and Redpapers-in-progress. They are published here for those who need the information now and may contain spelling, layout and grammatical errors.

This material has not been submitted to any formal IBM test and is published AS IS. It has not been the subject of rigorous review. Your feedback is welcomed to improve the usefulness of the material to others.

IBM assumes no responsibility for its accuracy or completeness. The use of this information or the implementation of any of these techniques is a customer responsibility and depends upon the customer's ability to evaluate and integrate them into the customer's operational environment.


Last Update
18 July 2014

Planned Publish Date
30 June 2014

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