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MAY, 2014

How to Improve Analysis and Troubleshooting of HP’s Virtual Connect

            hat data is mission critical for your

More than likely the databases, critical applications, virtualization and are all housed within HP’s BladeSystem. HP’s Virtual Connect and OneView technology provide the leading solution to effectively manage your enterprise’s mission-critical area. To ensure smooth operations and prevent expensive downtime, it is crucial to monitor and analyze performance.


However, when troubleshooting and debugging within the Data Center, it may be difficult to obtain a clear picture of the overall status of the domains, due to the quantity of information within Virtual Connect. Troubleshooting data and logs are not consolidated so it may take hours or even days to identify the source of an issue. When you’re dealing with mission-critical data, this is time that you cannot afford.


MagicFlex is a unique solution that provides analysis to enhance the functionality of HP’s Virtual Connect. MagicFlex assists with analysis, monitoring and troubleshooting of your Virtual Connect domains. Network and system administrators can easily monitor domain status, troubleshoot issues and enhance network performance. With this improved efficiency, data traffic can pass more rapidly and downtime is minimized, which translates into improved ROI.

The MagicFlex web interface presents all Virtual Connect domains in a single dashboard, delivering an overview of the domain configuration, performance and port alerts. Overview of the Virtual Connect Domain Configuration, Performance and Port Alerts.

MagicFlex’s port alerts identify such issues and provide history of the uplink, stacking link and server port’s performance counter data to indicate when the issue began.


MagicFlex Dashboard

MagicFlex’s performance monitoring identifies bottlenecks and also highlights performance data that that can improve server-to-server traffic efficiency and assist when allocating resources. In addition, it simplifies display of the Virtual Connect’s log with an organized display that incorporates filter and search capabilities. The System Log is displayed even when Virtual Connect is unreachable. Additional troubleshooting tools such as Show Config and Find MAC assist with configuration and backup.

The Analysis and Status Alerts indicate problems with configuration, control and redundancy such as duplicate MAC, high utilization for long periods, alerts in best practices and other known issues from HP and MagicFlex’s knowledge bases. With these frequently-updated alerts clearly displayed with details and recommendations administrators can quickly act upon issues that arise and 

help to ensure smooth operations within the data center.

Worried about sensitive data ending up where you don’t want it to be found? You’ll be relieved to know that MagicFlex is read-only. It does not perform any actions on Virtual Connect itself, although with our Manage button you can access the Virtual Connect UI from the MagicFlex UI.

Alerts sent from MagicFlex via SNMP and email are only sent to recipients designated by your administrator. These are some of the highights of the functionality that MagicFlex provides. MagicFlex diagnoses, analyzes and provides recommendations throughout all stages in the BladeSystem lifecycle including design and configuration, ongoing maintenance, troubleshooting and backup. MagicFlex’s preventive analysis provides notice of potential trouble spots. Its actionable recommendations are targeted to efficiently correct problematic issues.

Quick Identification of Duplicate MAC Addresses

          large chemical company had an extensive HP

          BladeSystem installation with about forty

c7000 enclosures. Like many companies they started small and grew incrementally, gradually adding enclosures as the demand increased. However, their system administrator did not always keep track of the particulars of the configuration; new enclosures were configured without taking account of the components on the existing machines.

A few months ago, after a new enclosure was up and running briefly, the company noticed intermittent server failures. Because the frequency and the time of day of the failures was  so random, it was almost impossible to recreate theissues and to effectively troubleshoot.


MagicFlex was brought in and quickly identified a duplicate MAC in the new enclosure. The administrator was then able to update the MAC address and the specific server failure issue was solved.



This successful resolution shows how MagicFlex provided the enterprise with a remedy that may have otherwise taken days to correct. MagicFlex’s configuration analysis was able to quickly identify the duplication and provide the alert so that corrective action could be taken.

Preventive Analysis Avoids Downtime and Significant Losses for an Online Gaming Company

MagicFlex Identifies Pause Frames  and other Port Issues 

Like any communications system, Virtual Connect’s network or fiber channel ports may fail occasionally. Sometimes the port may not shut down completely, but may send traffic inconsistently.


In Virtual Connect, it is easy to determine a totally non-operational port since Virtual Connect will alert that a GBIC is non-operational.

However, it may not always pinpoint a port that is dropping packets, or has issues with link resets, flow control and pause frames.


MagicFlex’s port alerts identify such issues and provide history of the uplink, stacking link and server port’s performance counter data to indicate when the issue began.



         successful online gaming

   company cannot afford any slowdown or downtime; for them each second that users cannot fully access their games results in a significant loss of in earnings. Therefore, they decided to install MagicFlex for its proactive alerts that would identify trouble spots before they resulted in major downtime.


They had installed HP’s Virtual Connect with an Active-Standby configuration on one of their production networks. With an Active-Standby configuration, the Smartlink feature should be disabled so that the Standby network will take over should the Active Flex network fail.


If SmartLink is enabled, when an issue occurs, both Flex internal networks will shut down. In this case, the company had mistakenly enabled Smartlink with their Active-Standby configuration. This was not a problem until the Active Flex1 lost connectivity. Ordinarily Flex2, the Standby network, would have taken over. Instead Smartlink identified the failure and both Flex networks lost numerous packets.

Fortuately MagicFlex was already installed and the Configuration Analysis quickly identified that Smartlink had been enabled. Once this was corrected, the network resumed on Flex2 until the issue with Flex1 was resolved. MagicFlex remains onsite, providing alerts ongoing proactive analysis and alerts.

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