Last week, I talked about the main hardware features of our eVFA adapter. This week I wanted to talk about the primary feature of the card above the dual 10Gb ethernet ports, which we have been calling vNIC.
vNIC is a feature of the adapter to present multiple adapters to the operating system through the PCI Function ID of the adapter. When an operating system scans the adapter and the vNIC function is enabled through the UEFI BIOS (which is on by default) the operating system will see up to eight PCI function IDs with eight unique MAC addresses. The PCI Functions are numbered 0 – 7 and are always enumerated with functions 0,2,4,6 being assigned to Port 0 as VNIC 1 – 4, and then 1,3,5,7 being assigned to Port 1 as VNIC 1-4.
In the initial launch, you will have some basic configuration options at the card level. However, primarily you will be configuring your vNIC solution from the switch as the switch controls the virtual groups and the bandwidth assigned to each virtual NIC. The switch in this solution is provided to IBM by Blade Network Technologies. It’s their BNT 10-Port 10Gb Ethernet Switch Module. They have some detailed information similar to our pages on the IBM BladeCenter Virtual Fabric solution along with a solution brief.
The BNT switch also provides 1Gb or 10Gb connections just like the eVFA adapter does. Giving you the ability to start with 1Gb network and grow into 10Gb. You could easily provide 10Gb of bandwidth to the blades and between your IBM BladeCenters and still connect to the corporate network at 1Gb.
We will be working on a IBM Redbook that will be available when the solution ships later in October. If you have any scenarios you’d like to see discussed in the RedBook feel free to give me some ideas either here or you can e-mail me as always.