Dell Adds Modular Embedded 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) Networking Capabilities To Blade Portfolio!

We’re on a roll at Dell. A few weeks ago, published a review of our M-series blade capabilities concluding that our, “blade server system can match anything from HP and IBM”. The 4/5 star review also calls out our support for multiple networking and I/O modules as a key area which allows the Dell M-Series “to stand out from the crowd.”  Add this to numerous other excellent reviews, including significant power & cooling advantages, and the M-Series continues to stand apart in blades.

Today we’re announcing another milestone; Dell’s first embedded 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) networking capabilities for our blade portfolio starting with the PowerEdge M710HD. Our customers are quickly moving towards 10GbE solutions as a way to facilitate network unification and consolidation, as well as supporting robust virtualized usage models by enabling greater throughput. We’re enabling this to happen with greater choice and flexibility.

Choice is key here though. Most of our customers continue to use 1 Gigabit. Today, embedded 10Gb is great to future proof a blade for future bandwidth needs but it does come at an added cost while using extra power.  For customers who don’t need it, we’ll continue to provide 1Gb options.

If choosing the Broadcom 57712-k our users can receive a single flexible 10GbE solution that eliminates bottlenecks when deploying virtualized workloads. By collaborating with Broadcom, we’re able to offer 10GbE bandwidth capable of handling the most demanding workloads. But that’s just the beginning. Our blade customers are now able to easily leverage 10Gb links to consolidate and scale while optimizing bandwidth utilization. Dell’s approach presents a more manageable networking topology, allowing users to build-out and pay as you go rather than being locked-in to a one size fits all solution. In addition, our customers can take advantage of full hardware TOE and iSCSI offloading as well as low CPU utilization, again, helping drive optimal performance.

We’re also adding Network Interface Card (NIC) partitioning to our blade portfolio on this card, and unlike our competitors, we’re doing it in a switch/pass through agnostic way. That’s because Dell features the industry’s first switch-independent NIC partitioning scheme (NPAR) that makes it possible to split the 10GbE pipe with granularity free of any fabric vendor lock-in.

This partitioning enables optimal utilization of physical links meaning each 10GbE port can be divided into multiple physical 1GbE NICs (i.e. each 10GbE port can be divided into up to four multiple physical NICs totaling 10Gb) and can be used in virtualized and non-virtualized environments. It also means users can choose to have four 2.5Gb NICs, not just 1Gb NICs, again more flexibility. Previously most customers were doing this using virtualization software that took up a small amount of CPU bandwidth. Now, virtual and non-virtual customers both get this option without using any of the CPU’s performance.

I hope this gives you a glimpse into our blade networking strategy. Our customers want “open, capable and affordable” solutions that help reduce management expenses while improving operational efficiencies. We’re providing greater flexibility and choice in our I/O and networking options, making for a product portfolio capable of exceeding our competition. We did our homework by designing to the needs of our customers by providing an IO switch agnostic solution fitting into any size data center but we want to continue to hear your feedback and needs. We want to hear how Dell is making a difference in your IT environment, so let us know.

About the Author: Chad Fenner

Chad Fenner is a Senior Director of Server Product Management & Marketing in Dell’s Product Group. He has responsibility globally for Technical Marketing and PowerEdge competitive analysis as well as Product Management & Product Marketing for operating system solution integration. Chad has held a number of leadership positions at Dell within Product Management, marketing and sales. Before his current role, he was responsible for managing current and future enterprise servers including the modular and rack server portfolio. He has also served as a product planner and Product Manager of Dell’s M Series Modular servers after holding roles in marketing, strategic direction and business and competitive analysis. Before joining marketing, he was in sales management within Dell’s America sales group after holding roles in both inside and outside sales. Chad joined Dell in 1999.