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Multiport Uplink Driver

Virtual I/O is getting more attention. This press release from Chelsio crossed my desk this morning:

Virtual Multi-port Software allows for consolidation of switch ports and cabling by using 10Gb infrastructure while maintaining the existing Gigabit-based ESX setup. The software enables the consolidation by keeping the infrastructure update completely transparent to the ESX hypervisor, enabling a 10Gb adapter to appear to the hypervisor as eight virtual Gigabit adapters. By offloading the tasks performed by the hypervisor, the Chelsio adapters can deliver the best I/O performance for virtualized applications.

There’s no mention of SR-IOV (more information on SR-IOV is available in this post), so I’m guessing that this is a proprietary technology similar to what HP is using in Virtual Connect Flex-10. The key difference with HP Virtual Connect Flex-10 and the Chelsio solution is that Flex-10 doesn’t require any software support in the OS or hypervisor, whereas Chelsio’s solution does require software support (as does SR-IOV). Nevertheless, it’s clear that I/O virtualization—even relatively simple forms of I/O virtualization such as this—is gaining more and more attention.

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