According to the studies, the average physical server in a datacenter that is running a virtualization solution is using eight GbE ports:


·         Four for VM Ethernet Traffic

o   Two for Traffic

o   Two for Fault Tolerance (failover)

·         Two for Live Migration

o   One for the Live Migration

o   One for Fault Tolerance (failover)

·         One for Backup

·         One for Management


That is a lot of ports going from a single server to a top-of-rack switch.  Now imagine a fully populated rack.  Let’s say there are 20 servers, that’s 160 physical cables.



Then, stop and think for a moment about those eight GbE ports on the single server.  That’s 8 Gbps of potential bandwidth, however, even if you are fully using all capabilities (say two Gbps going to the VM’s,  actively doing live migration and Backup and Management all at the same time), there are still going to be the three ports allocated for Fault Tolerance that won’t be used.



So, now you have eight ports, all with the cabling costs associated with them and the electrical costs of having them running, however, at best you are only actually using five of them at a time, but still paying for all eight.  Kind of makes you stop and think.



Now imagine if you will, replacing those eight GbE connections with just two 10 GbE connections.  By going to only two ports at 10 Gbps, you can not only reduce the number of cables by 75%, you can also better use network bandwidth because you now can have both ports being used at all times instead of having ports on stand-by for fault tolerance. 



Consider having the VM traffic on one of the ten GbE ports, with the other port configured for Live Migration, Backup, and Management.  Then simply have each port configured to be Fault Tolerant for the other, so that, in the case of a failure, all traffic simply fails over to a single port, which at 10 Gbps is still faster than all eight of the one Gbps ports used in a traditional environment.



So back to the 20 servers in a rack – you can go from 160 cables when using GbE to 40 when using 10 GbE. Have I piqued your curiosity?  If so we have a white paper that may interest you very much.  This whitepaper explains all the benefits of moving from multiple one GbE ports to two  10 GbE ports in a VMware* vSphere 4* environment.   (We are working on another paper for the Hyper-V* environment as well).



This whitepaper has been widely accepted by many throughout the industry.  It has been re-branded and re-purposed by many other companies.



The original Intel® whitepaper is located here:


VMware Communities Link


Dell* co-branded white paper


Dell Power Solutions magazine article


VMware released a co-branded version of the Virtualization best practices white paper – Link


Fujitsu* co-branded white paper



We hope you find it of interest and encourage your feedback.