The PowerEdge FN I/O Aggregator

The PowerEdge FN I/O Aggregator

The PowerEdge FN I/O Aggregator (IOA) for the FX2 converged system is a modular I/O device focused on ease of use for the server admin. The device aggregates Ethernet traffic from compute nodes (including converged storage traffic) from the FX2 chassis.

Key Features of the FN I/O Aggregator:
  • Simplified Management
  • Simplifies connectivity by as much as 8-to-1, reducing cabling complexity
  • Functions as a Plug-n-Play networking device providing a low touch experience for server admins.
  • Provides many automated set up and networking functions making for minimal touch for basic to advanced features.
  • GUI based management via the Chassis Management Controller of the FX2 Chassis (CMC).
  • Optimised FX2 Performance
  • The FN I/O Aggregator provides a cost effective 10GbE solution leveraging Dell’s next generation servers.
  • Dell Active Fabric optimizes East/West traffic bringing lower latency and superior overall performance.
  • Zero-touch converged I/O
  • The FN I/O Aggregator provides zero-touch FCoE enabling an automated LAN/SAN converged solution.
  • The FN I/O Aggregator easily connects to the S5000 as well as many popular Fibre Channel switches for a fully converged LAN/SAN network.
  • With converged I/O customers are able to achieve up to a 75% reduction in cables, 75% reduction in ToR ports, and 50% reduction in adapters.
  • The FN2210s I/O Aggregator module has both Ethernet and Fibre Channel, providing convergence at the I/O to the SAN array.

Each FX2 chassis can house 2 FN I/O Aggregators in the back of the chassis. Its plug-n-play features allow it to be managed by the server administrator without having the expertise of a network administrator. Traditionally, network administrators have managed network core, aggregation and access layers while server administrators have solely focused on servers. With the adoption of server virtualization, the immediate virtual access layer (i.e. hypervisor-based switching) has fallen into the server administrators’ domain. The advent of 10GbE adoption has pushed further delineation of the access layer to hardware vs a new virtual access layer. With the FN IOA, the network administrator only needs to send VLANs to the IOA and the VLAN assignments can be made by the server administrator from the virtual access layer.

Hardware Characteristics

There are three different types of FN I/OA modules for the FX2 platform. All modules can be ordered as factory installed or after point of sales (APOS). All three FN I/O Aggregator modules support 8 internal/server facing 10GbE KR ports (numbered 1-8) and 4 external ports (numbered 9-12). It is noteworthy to call out the uniqueness of the FN2210S (also sometimes referred to as the combo module). This FN2210S allows the user to truly have convergence at the box. In default mode, this module will have 2-ports 1GbE/10GbE & 2-ports Fiber Channel SFP+. Users can convert the Fibre Channel ports to 2 additional 1/10GbE SFP+ ports enabling 4 ports of 1/10GbE SFP+ (with reboot).
div class="table table-responsive">
Module FN2210s FN410s FN410t
Module Differentiator Provides two ports native Fibre Channel and 2 ports SFP+ connectivity.
Provides 4 ports SFP+ with reboot.

Fibre Channel NPIV Proxy Gateway* (NPG) offering gateway capabilities to existing SAN fabrics
Provides 4 ports SFP+ connectivity.

Supports optical and DAC cable media.
Provides 4 ports 10GBASE-T connectivity.

Supports copper media up to 100m.

Port Speed 2/4/8/G and 1/10GbE 1/10GbE 100MbE/1/10GbE (supports auto negotiation)
Protocol Support Native Fibre Channel (NPG mode) and Ethernet Ethernet Ethernet
Media Types 2/4/8G FC

Optical Transceivers SFP+ 10Gb: SR, LR


SFP to RJ45 converter 10000Base-T (only capable of 1Gbps)

SFP+ Direct Attach Cable (Twinax)

Optical Transceivers SFP+ 10Gb: SR, LR


SFP to RJ45 converter 10000Base-T (only capable of 1Gbps)

SFP+ Direct Attach Cable (Twinax)
RJ45/Cat6a Copper
Table 1: FN2210sFN2210s

*The Dell PowerEdge FN2210S I/O Aggregator uses NPIV Proxy Gateway (NPG) to provide the capability to use converged FCoE inside the FX architecture platform while maintaining traditional unconverged Ethernet and native FIbre Channel outside of the FX platform. The FN2210S manages the following items:
  • DCB (PFC, ETS, and DCBx)
  • FIP discovery and initialization
  • FLOGI and FDISC conversion process
  • FIP keep alives

For communication outside the platform, the FN2210S manages all traffic out the external Ethernet ports (these ports can be in DCB or non-DCB mode) and converts all FCoE packets to native FC packets and directs them out the native Fibre channel ports of the FN2210S. The FN2210S acts as an NPG connecting the converged network Adapters (CNAs) in the FX platform to the external Fibre Channel fabric. When the FN2210S is installed, the FX architecture platform appears as an FCF to the CNAs while the FN2210S ports appear as NPIV N_ports (i.e. HBA ports) to the external Fibre Channel Fabric. The FN2210S does not provide any fabric services.

Note: The FN2210S NPG does not provide fabric services.

Additional Resources

Dell PowerEdge FN I/O Aggregator Spec Sheet

Configuring FCoE (FSB) with PowerEdge FX2 and FN410S IO Aggregator 1.1

Dell PowerEdge FX2 – FN I/O Module - Fibre Channel Storage Direct Connect Deployment Guide 1.0

Article ID: SLN310739

Last Date Modified: 08/17/2018 09:20 AM

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