Are the Connectx-5/6 cards able to initialize and operate as virtual switches with no installed transceivers(SFP modules)

Like say have few VFs on a card with PF down and still be able to switch packets among them. Is the switching done in card’s hardware - I’ve read that the eSwitch is done in silicon not in the driver’s software. This is meaningful to us because it will allow us to test and troubleshoot our solution installed on CPE equipment without customer’s network equipment(switches/routers) interfering. Thus better isolate potential problems.

Hello Simon,

To answer your question, “Is the switching done in card’s hardware?”

Yes, the eSwitches are integrated in the NIC ASIC.

Hope this helps.

Thank you and regards,

~NVIDIA Networking Technical Support

The question was: Can VF(virtual functions) operate without SFP installed into the card?

The question was: Can VF(virtual functions) operate without SFP installed into the card?

@Lonie Lin​ just mentioning you to let you know that what I was interested in the first place is if the Connectx-5/6 cards can operate as “local” switches without SFP modules installed. Say switching from one VM to another one, each with its own virtual function.

May that be answered?

Hello Simon,

Thank you for your reply.

Yes, it is possible VM’s can communicate with each other while PF is down and a physical link is not needed between the ConnectX-5/6 and a switch.

Following community article describes the process of configuring Mellanox Adapter this way.

https://community.mellanox.com/s/article/howto-set-virtual-network-attributes-on-a-virtual-function–sr-iov-x

The option of configuring the Mellanox adapter/s port to the link-state “enable” will let the VF to communicate with other VFs on the host even if the PF link state is down.

Hope this helps.

Thank you,

Lonie