A single 10Gig Ethernet card can replace the individual Gig Ethernet ports on a rack of bladeservers, claimed Neterion as it introduced Hyperframe, its scheme for virtualising system I/O.

Under Hyperframe, each network adapter supports multiple separate receive and transmit queues, independent Direct Memory Access (DMA) engines, separate network addresses and register sets, and separate copies of the configuration space. Each virtual network adapter can direct packets through the PCI-Express fabric, while the various operating systems are unaware of having to share resources.

The idea is that a single I/O blade would be shared by all the compute blades in a chassis, said Dave Zabrowski, Neterion's president and CEO. "Hyperframe provide features that allow optimisation of the network interface in a virtualised environment," he said, adding that this allows the data centre to be virtualised from end to end.

It would also allow bandwidth to be re-provisioned among blades as needed, while maintaining security by ensuring that each sees only the virtual adapter and network connection allocated to it. The ability to isolate virtual machines from each other's LAN and SAN resources is vital to data centre security and reliability.

Neterion said that its current line of Xframe 10Gig Ethernet adapters already includes most of Hyperframe's features, and added that is working with HP, NextIO and the PCI-SIG on a specification that will extend PCI-Express to support I/O virtualisation (IOV).

Some Hyperframe features have already been included in the HP Integrity and HP 9000 servers, according to HP's world-wide server marketing director Brian Cox. "IOV is an ideal complement to the HP Virtual Server Environment (VSE)," he said. "VSE enables customers to optimise their server resources in real time and Hyperframe can provide that type of benefit at the I/O component level."