Dell M-Series Blades: Flexible Innovation

Last month, I wrote a blog post on some of the innovations that the M-series blade had made around reliability and uptime. In addition to reliability, our customers have made it clear that they value Dell’s commitment to choice and flexibility. This commitment allows our customers to best utilize our platforms and solutions in conjunction with their existing IT investments, as well as offering investment protection as their technology needs evolve over time.

Two of the most recent innovations that Dell has developed are the PowerEdge Select Network Adapter and Dell Switch Independent Partitioning. These technologies are centered around networking, enhancing network integration flexibility while offering our customers the ability to select the best technology for their unique needs.  networkadapter

The PowerEdge Select Network Adapter is a modular networking daughter card featured on the M915 and M710HD blade servers. In the past, the term ‘embedded NICs’ or ‘LAN on Motherboard (LOM)’ have been used, because these chipsets have been literally soldered to the server motherboard. There was no way to select your networking technology; you simply received what was there. With the Select Network Adapter, IT administrators now have the ability to integrate the networking technology they believe best meets their needs and their budget. Because the Select Network Adapter is modular, it can even be replaced as your datacenter networking technology changes. 

Dell Switch Independent Partitioning technology (you may also have seen it referred to as NIC partitioning or NPAR) was jointly developed in conjunction with our great partners Broadcom and QLogic. Switch Independent Partitioning allows a single 10Gb Ethernet port to be split into up to 4 virtual ports, allowing traffic prioritization and QoS decisions to be optimized at the application server level. Unlike other network partitioning solutions which require a homogeneous, single-vendor infrastructure managed through proprietary switches, Dell Switch Independent Partitioning (as the name suggests) will work with virtually ANY 10Gb Ethernet switch architecture. If you’re interested in more details on the benefits of Switch Independent Partitioning and the PowerEdge Select Network Adapter, you can read this post on Kevin Houston’s popular site, Blades Made Simple.

Our customers have told us time and again that ‘rip and replace’ is not a viable IT strategy, and this is doubly true in the current global economic environment. We constantly strive to make our technology solutions the most flexible and adaptable available. These two recent innovations illustrate how Dell ensures our blades will integrate easily into virtually any environment, while allowing the flexibility to adapt over time as your needs change. This isn’t the first time that Dell has ‘changed the game,’ and it certainly won’t be the last!

About the Author: Robert Bradfield