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Method to automatically reconfigure BladeCenter switch module interfaces based on installed components.

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000099020D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Mar-09
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-09
Document File: 4 page(s) / 35K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

In today's BladeCenter Chassis, switch bays 1 and 2 are dedicated to Gigabit Ethernet. Switch bays 3 and 4 can contain differing types of switch modules. The switches in bays 3 and 4 must match the daughter cards installed on the blade servers. This leads to inflexibility in the configuration options for the BladeCenter chassis since all of the daughtercards must be of the same type. A customer can not install half the blades with fibre channel and half the blades with TOE enabled ethernet daughter cards. Furthermore, if a new BladeCenter chassis were developed and switch bays 3 and 4 became dual purpose with a new function, the customer would potentially lose the ability to use existing daughtercards while using the new function.

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Method to automatically reconfigure BladeCenter switch module interfaces based on installed components.

     In today's BladeCenter Chassis, switch bays 1 and 2 are dedicated to Gigabit Ethernet. Switch bays 3 and 4 can contain differing types of switch modules. The switches in bays 3 and 4 must match the daughter cards installed on the blade servers. This leads to inflexibility in the configuration options for the BladeCenter chassis since all of the daughtercards must be of the same type. A customer can not install half the blades with fibre channel and half the blades with TOE enabled ethernet daughter cards. Furthermore, if a new BladeCenter chassis were developed and switch bays 3 and 4 became dual purpose with a new function, the customer would potentially lose the ability to use existing daughtercards while using the new function.

     A possible solution to these problems would be to develop a fixed function switch that dedicated some portion of the switch port to each supported protocol. This solution would be costly as the number of port and protocol combinations would drive development of several different switches.

     This invention describes two similar methods to support multiple different daughtercard protocols in the same BladeCenter chassis. The first method resides on the blade server and allows the blade server network components to connect to any of the available 4 network ports. The benefits of this method are that only the blade servers need to be modified and it is fully compatible with existing network switches. The second method resides on the switch module and allows any blade port to be directed to the proper protocol switch. The benefits of this method are that only the switches need to be modified and it is fully compatible with existing blade servers. Both methods allow a single network port to be disabled so that if an invalid configuration is detected, only a single network port goes down to prevent problems(instead of an entire blade or switch).

BladeCenter method:

     The invention consists of a blade server with multiple integrated or add-on network host adapters, a BladeCenter with integrated management, and a network switch. The network ports of the blade server host adapters are connected to a high speed crosspoint switch. The outputs of the high speed crosspoint switch are connected to the network port pins defined on the midplane connector. The network ports connect to multiple switch bays in the BladeCenter. The high speed crosspoint's configuration port is connected to the blade server's BMC. The BMC is connected to the BladeCenter's management module through a side band interface. (figure 1)

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The invention operates as follows:
1) The components are installed into the BladeCenter
2) The management module queries the installed network s...