A virtualized server implementation consists of one or more VMs running as 'guests' on a single physical server. The guest VMs are hosted and managed by a software layer called the hypervisor or virtual machine manager (VMM). The hypervisor typically presents a virtual network interface to each VM and performs Layer 2 switching of traffic from a VM to other local VMs or to a physical interface to the external network. Working with a Cisco virtual interface card (VIC) adapter, Cisco Virtual Machine Fabric Extender (VM-FEX)bypasses software-based switching of VM traffic by the hypervisor in favor of external hardware-based switching in the fabric interconnect. This method results in a reduced load on the server CPU, faster switching,and the ability to apply a rich set of network management features to local and remote traffic. VM-FEX extends the (prestandard) IEEE 802.1Qbh port extender architecture to the VMs, providing each VM interface with a virtual Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) device and a virtual port ona switch. This solution allows precise rate limiting and quality of service (QoS) guarantees on the VM interface.
Nexus VMware VM-FEX is available with Nexus 5500 Series and UCS standalone C series with VIC (P81E,VIC1225, VIC1225T)
Each VIC card supports up to 96 Virtual Machine Interface
Enterprise Plus License required (as is for any DVS) on Host
Standard License and above is required for vCenter
Hypervisor features are supported for both emulated and hypervisor bypass mode
– vMotion, HA, DRS, Snapshot and Hot add/remove virtual device, Suspend/Resume
VMDirectPath (Hypervisor Bypass) with VM-FEX is supportted with ESXi5.0+
VM-FEX upgrade is supportted from ESXi4.X to ESXi5.X with Customized ISO and VMware Update Manager
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