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NPIV (Virtual Fibre Channel Adapter)

With NPIV, you can configure the managed system so that multiple logical partitions can access independent physical storage through the same physical fibre channel adapter. (NPIV means N_Port ID Virtualization. N_Port ID is a storage term, for node port ID, to identify ports on the nod (FC Adpater) in the SAN area.)
To access physical storage in a typical storage area network (SAN) that uses fibre channel, the physical storage is mapped to logical units (LUNs) and the LUNs are mapped to the ports of physical fibre channel adapters. Each physical port on each physical fibre channel adapter is identified using one worldwide port name (WWPN).The following figure shows a managed system configured to use NPIV:

NPIV is a standard technology for fibre channel networks that enables you to connect multiple logical partitions to one physical port of a physical fibre channel adapter. Each logical partition is identified by a unique WWPN, which means that you can connect each logical partition to independent physical storage on a SAN.

To enable NPIV on the managed system, you must create a Virtual I/O Server logical partition (version 2.1, or later) that provides virtual resources to client logical partitions. You assign the physical fibre channel adapters (that support NPIV) to the Virtual I/O Server logical partition. Then, you connect virtual fibre channel adapters on the client logical partitions to virtual fibre channel adapters on the Virtual I/O Server logical partition. A virtual fibre channel adapter is a virtual adapter that provides client logical partitions with a fibre channel connection to a storage area network through the Virtual I/O Server logical partition. The Virtual I/O Server logical partition provides the connection between the virtual fibre channel adapters on the Virtual I/O Server logical partition and the physical fibre channel adapters on the managed system.

Virtual Ethernet Adapter:

Virtual Ethernet adapters allow client logical partitions to send and receive network traffic without having a physical Ethernet adapter.

Virtual Ethernet adapters allow logical partitions within the same system to communicate without having to use physical Ethernet adapters. Within the system, these adapters are connected to a virtual Ethernet switch (which is basically in the Hypervisor), so TCP/IP communications over these Virtual Ethernet Adapters is routed through the server firmware. The system transmits packets by copying the packet directly from the memory of the sender logical partition to the receive buffers of the receiver logical partition without any intermediate buffering of the packet.

Virtual Ethernet adapters can be used without using the Virtual I/O Server, but the logical partitions will not be able to communicate with external systems. However, in this situation, you can use another device, called a Host Ethernet Adapter (or Integrated Virtual Ethernet), to facilitate communication between logical partitions on the system and external networks.

In a Power system, the hardware MAC address of a virtual Ethernet adapter is automatically generated by the HMC when it is defined.

The POWER Hypervisor implements an IEEE 802.1Q VLAN style virtual Ethernet switch. Similar to a physical IEEE 802.1Q Ethernet switch it can support tagged and untagged ports. A virtual switch does not really need ports, so the virtual ports correspond directly to virtual Ethernet adapters that can be assigned to partitions from the HMC or IVM. To draw on the analogy of physical Ethernet switches, a virtual Ethernet switch port is configured when you configure the virtual Ethernet adapter on the HMC or IVM.


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