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Computing in data centers is evolving quickly from its core. Agility in data centers is restricted by the conventional model of separately provisioned and maintained server, storage, and network resources, which also strains financial constraints.
IT organizations are aware of the underutilization of these static pools of isolated resources, which can become worse when different classes of data center workloads are supported by separate computer systems or infrastructure. The adoption of virtualization and blade technologies by IT organizations, which allow for a more adaptable and heavily used infrastructure, has been one response.
To meet constantly changing business requirements, these new, more scalable technologies can be dynamically provisioned. The multiple networks in the data center are simultaneously subject to new pressures from these technologies, making spend problems even worse. Additionally, it puts a heavier burden on the IT teams that support them.
- More network bandwidth is needed per server as server utilization rises.
- Data center network processes take too long and require coordination between several IT teams
- Network configuration changes are occurring much more frequently due to the proliferation of virtual machines.
- The number of connections that must be managed is rising along with bandwidth density thanks to blade technology.
- Traditional hierarchical network architectures are unable to scale or to deliver the performance, low latency, availability, and quality of service that a virtualized data center requires.
Network teams are in a race to expand data center network capacity and provision connectivity efficiently at an accelerating rate. IT departments require a more cohesive, adaptable, and agile network architecture in order to keep up. However, they do not want to give up the stability, high availability, and security that the tried-and-true compute and storage networks that are already set up in their data centers offer.
By fusing some of the best, most recent, standards-based technologies with a streamlined, modular architecture that fully optimizes virtualized resources, while also meeting business requirements for low total cost of ownership, quick time-to-service, and crucial requirements for reliability, IT governance, and compliance, HP is striking a new balance.
HP FlexFabric is now available
The data center fabric architecture of HP Converged Infrastructure’s next generation, HP FlexFabric. To speed up the deployment of virtualized workloads, you can provision your network resources securely and efficiently with the licensed HP FlexFabric. The licensed HP FlexFabric network designs are simpler, flatter, and easier to manage and expand over time thanks to highly scalable platforms and cutting-edge networking and management technologies.
While ensuring seamless interoperability with current core data center networks, this open architecture uses industry standards to streamline server and storage network connections. To enable virtualization-aware networking and security, predictable performance, and quick, business-driven provisioning of data center resources, FlexFabric combines intelligence at the server edge with a focus on centrally-managed connection policy management.
A wire-once data center that responds to application and workload mobility and offers resource elasticity can be built by your IT department using the licensed HP FlexFabric. As workloads move between or across data centers, you can move your network connections along with them. Additionally, the fabric can stretch and reclaim resources to adapt to changing needs. High-performance threat management tools combine physical and virtual security into a single, expandable framework.
To increase data center efficiency and shorten the time it takes to provide services, dynamic provisioning capabilities fully exploit virtualized connections. By lowering the cost of operations, the licensed HP FlexFabric management and provisioning tools assist in bringing the fabric into compliance with governance guidelines and service-level agreements (SLAs).
Benefits of using the HP FlexFabric
- Higher resource utilization, quicker time to service, and increased business agility thanks to dynamic, secure capacity scaling and “on-the-fly” connection provisioning to meet virtualized application demands.
- The convergence and consolidation of server, storage, and network connectivity onto a single fabric with a flatter topology and fewer switches will result in significant cost savings.
- Support for some of the most demanding application workloads with predictable performance and low latency.
- Thousands of servers and storage devices can be connected and managed using scalable, modular platforms based on industry standards and multi-site, multi-vendor management tools.
- With seamless compatibility and support for open standards, existing Layer 3 core systems have their investment protected.
- flexibility to manage and administer server, storage, and network resources in any organizational model—from wholly separate to wholly integrated—while uniformly enforcing governance, security, and SLA policies.
- Elimination of time-consuming and expensive change management procedures while cutting down on the number of complex or contradictory configuration steps.
- support for a variety of deployment models for data centers.
FlexFabric’s development process
Delivering “networking as a service” to Converged Infrastructure the licensed HP FlexFabric is more than just a fantasy representation of the ideal data center network. Networks that deliver on the FlexFabric value proposition can already be deployed by users, either aggressively or incrementally, in line with larger technological and commercial goals. Real user needs, investment protection, and business continuity are placed at the top of the list of principles guiding our vision for a Converged Infrastructure network thanks to this evolutionary and adaptable approach to data center deployment across the infrastructure.
FlexFabric agility is built on a network
Virtual Connect technology, which was first introduced in 2006, is a crucial component of an integrated, data center-aligned network and delivers on the core principles of HP FlexFabric by offering some of the most straightforward, adaptable methods of delivering high-performance, secure server connectivity. Virtual Connect significantly reduces complexity, increases agility, and lowers costs while radically streamlining network infrastructure and provisioning without interfering with “upstream” network operations.
Server administrators can provision Local Area Network (LAN) and Storage Area Network (SAN) resources in advance and turn them on as needed thanks to HP Virtual Connect, which virtualizes server edge I/O. With the help of Virtual Connect, server administrators can quickly add, move, or replace servers, move workloads and virtual machines, and do so transparently to LANs and SANs without involving LAN or SAN administrators.
HP Virtual Connect FlexFabric modules and adaptors can reduce sprawl at the edge by 95% by tackling the costly proliferation of Ethernet connections brought on by increased network capacity requirements for virtual machines. Each network port can have up to four physical connections provided by Virtual Connect HP FlexFabric modules, which have the unique ability to fine-tune bandwidth as needed to meet the demands of virtual server workload.
The hardware personalities of these connections can now be specified by the system administrator as FlexNICs to support only Ethernet traffic or as FlexHBAs to support iSCSI or Fibre Channel while also supporting Ethernet. Each connection offers the I/O connections required to fully utilize multi-core processors and support more virtual machines per physical server, with performance that is 100% hardware-level. With less money spent on pricey networking hardware for the server, enclosure, and corporate network, each server can support a lot more connections.
A fresh approach to the implementation of networking as a service
HP has developed the Data Center Connection Manager (DCM) appliance as a proof-point for how networking can be enabled to speed up the deployment of virtualized server workloads with a vision toward provisioning of network connectivity and resources completely synchronized in an end-to-end data center orchestration layer.
The dynamic provisioning vision of HP FlexFabric is being implemented by HP Data Center Connection Manager. Network architects can preconfigure server connection policies using DCM, and these policies are then enforced at the network edge using widely used RADIUS and DHCP standards.
The server administrator associates or subscribes to connection profiles for individual virtual and physical server interfaces from a pool of resources at build time, enabling quick, secure provisioning and workload mobility without the cumbersome manual tasks and lengthy turnaround times currently associated with provisioning. By allowing for deep levels of dynamic automation to provision firewalls or application delivery controllers in response to the provisioning, de-provisioning, or configuration changes of servers, these policies can drive events directly to the HP BSA Network Automation software product suite. With the help of these tools, network administrators can deploy, manage, and evolve server connectivity quickly, flexibly, and in accordance with requirements and business policy.
By using HP SAN Switch licenses on FlexFabric switches, customers can activate various features on their devices.
The progression to a fully-converged, synchronized FlexFabric network
HP is dedicated to meeting the various demands of contemporary data centers without imposing a particular operating model, proprietary architecture, or network fabric.
With improvements in next-generation high-speed connectivity, such as 10B-BaseT (10 Gbps over copper) and 40 Gb/100 Gb fiber, the HP FlexFabric can develop to enable your business to create single, massive Layer 2 domains with thousands of inexpensive, directly connected 10 Gbps Ethernet servers, whether they are in rack mount or blade environments, virtual or non-virtual, and all with the same ultra-low latency paths.
The fabric is capable of providing active load balancing between converged and conventional Ethernet-only connections, full support for Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), and Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) either from the server edge or through the aggregation layers.
The licensed HP FlexFabric uses developing industry standards to create and support virtual switches and virtual I/O adapters that power next-generation security and forwarding capabilities. The IEEE Virtual Ethernet Port Aggregator (VEPA) proposal, which HP co-authored and which aims to provide multi-vendor, standardized discovery, configuration, and forwarding for virtual switching, aims to provide this functionality. VEPA and other virtual I/O components will be managed by FlexFabric starting today. Your IT organization has a selection of virtualization vendors and approaches thanks to this standards-based approach.