HP Virtual Connect Networks

August 14, 2012 8 By Eric Shanks

I gave an overview of how HP blades are mapped to Virtual Connect Interconnect Modules in my last post.  http://theithollow.com/2012/08/09/hp-virtual-connect-basics  This post focus more on understanding the networks created through HP Virtual Connect Manager.

In the last post I described out blade NICs map to the Interconnect Bays in the back of an HP C7000 Chassis using the downlinks.  Now let’s talk about how those NICs can get added to a specific Network.  HP calls these networks inside of a c7000 chassis “vNets”.

vNets allow the chassis to pass traffic between blades and to the external uplinks in the Virtual Connect Interconnet Modules.  These vNets can be created by clicking on the “Ethernet Networks” link from VC.  Here, you can setup your uplinks, give it a name, and a description.  Think of this much like a switched network, if two machines are on the same network, then they can communicate with each other (of course with correct settings, and without firewalls, etc).

Let’s look at an example of a set of networks we’d like to build in our c7000 Chassis.  In this example we have four blades.  All of them should connect to VLAN2 which is a vMotion, Live Migration or some sort of cluster heartbeat network.  Two of our blades will need to connect to a network called VLAN1 (yes I know this is a security concern, it’s just an example) which is a network used by servers other than in our blade chassis.  And lastly, we have two blades that need access to three other networks, such as VLAN3, VLAN4, VLAN5 which are also used outside of the blade chassis.

The picture below should give a good idea about we’re trying to build.  As you can see, we have two vNets that have redundant uplinks, and a single vNet with zero uplinks.


There is no reason for that traffic to ever leave the chassis.  Only the blades inside of our chassis would need to use this network.  So we can create our network, call it VLAN2, don’t assign any uplinks and then in our server profiles, assign each blade to use this network.  Obviously, this is only relevant if you have a single chassis.  If there are multiple enclosures, then your vMotion or Live Migration Network (vNET2) would need to have uplinks to vmotion between the enclosures.



Next, we want to setup the VLAN1 vNET which does require access outside of the chassis.  Let’s create another network, give it a name, and add some uplinks.  Assign this server profile to blade1 and blade 2.


VLAN3,4,5 vNET

This network require a bit more configuration.  In this case, we have one blade NIC, that is connected to a network with three different types of tagged packets that could be on it.  In this case, we need to create a Shared Uplink Set (SUS).   You can create a SUS by clicking the link on the left hand side of Virtual Connect Manager, right under the “Ethernet Networks” link we’ve been using in the previous examples.

To create a SUS, you give it a name and add uplinks like you would a regular vNet, but in this situation you also need to add the networks that will share this set of uplinks.  In the case below I’ve added three networks and entered the associated VLAN ID.

Once you’ve created your SUS, you can go into your server profiles and choose “Multiple Networks” under the network name.

When you select Multiple Networks, you’ll be brought to a screen to allow you to select which networks will be mapped to the NIC.


When it’s all said and done, I have networks that look like this, and match the original design.