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Dell's Converged Network Solution: PowerConnect M8428-K and Broadcom BR1741M-K

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Dell's Converged Network Solution: PowerConnect M8428-K and Broadcom BR1741M-K

Dell recently announced the PowerConnect M8428-K Converged Switch module and the Brocade BR1741M-k Dual Port Mezzanine Card.  The PowerConnect M8428-K switch supports DCB and FCoE, Fibre Channel, and Ethernet ports so you can connect to your FC SANs and Ethernet LANs directly.  Dell's converged networking solution, incorporating advanced levels of Ethernet and Fibre Channel functionality, delivers a network consolidation solution that complements the server consolidation driven by Dell M1000e Blade Server technology and includes the PowerConnect M8428-k and the BrocadeBR1741M-K.   The PowerConnect M8428-k module for the PowerEdge M1000e blade chassis is a true converged network switch containing 28 ports:  

  • 16 auto negotiated 1G or 10GbE ports
  • 8 external ports of 10 (GbE) speed and Data Center Bridging (DCB)
  • 4 external Fibre Channel ports, that support 2, 4, and 8 Gbps full duplex 

The M8428-k switch is designed to work seamlessly with any existing Fibre Channel storage, switches, and existing management utilities.   It has support for the following external uplinks: 

  • 10GbE Twinax Copper ( 1,3,5 meter)
  • 10GbE SFP+ (Short,Long wave)
  • 8GbE SFP (Short,Long wave)

  

 

To go along with the M8428-k switch Dell is also releasing the BR1741M-K converged network adapter (CNA).   The Brocade BR1741M-k Converged Network Adapter (CNA) is a powerful dual-port 10 Gb Ethernet mezzanine card that supports the new Data Center Bridging (DCB) and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) protocols to deliver enterprise-class LAN connectivity and blade server I/O consolidation to help reduce cost and complexity for blade server deployments in next generation data center environments.  Some of the features include: 

  • High-performance line-rate 10 GbpE for enterprise-class, reliable LAN connectivity for Dell blade servers
  • Data Center Bridging (DCB) support for low-latency, lossless, and deterministic 10 GbpE connectivity and storage over Ethernet applications (FCoE/iSCSI)
  • Advanced Ethernet performance, including IPv4 and IPv6 checksum offload, Receive Side Scaling (RSS), Header Data Split (HDS), jumbo frame support, and TCP Segmentation Offload (TSO)
  • Scalable connectivity features-including virtual switching offloads-across a secure, multiprotocol, lossless environment
  • Unified Fibre Channel, FCoE, and Ethernet driver stack that enables a single driver for both Brocade Converged Network Adapters (CNAs) and Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters (HBAs)

 

In addition, BR1741M-k supports Virtual Machine Optimized Ports (VMOP), a technology that offloads important virtual switching functions from the hypervisor onto the adapter to help achieve line rate performance and alleviate CPU utilization that can be used towards further scaling the virtualization environment. 

Some of the key benefits of this converged networking solution compared to a native networking solution include:   

  • Seamless integration with existing Fibre Channel storage, switches, and existing management utilities
  • Consolidation of server access network elements, reducing potential points of failure and overall capital and operational costs for data centers  

Be sure to check back with DellTechCenter.com as we hope to get both of these products in the lab for some testing of our own.  For homework you can take a look at a few of the whitepapers listed below.And as always, if there is anything specific you would like to see please let us know!

Additional Reading:

Kevin Houston has a nice write up over on Blades Made Simple:

http://bladesmadesimple.com/2011/01/dell-announces-converged-10gbe-switch-for-m1000e/

And here are a few whitepapers to help fill the void in your day:

Brocade CNA in Virtualized Environments
 
Dell M8428-k Spec Sheet 
Technical Brief: Connecting the DellTM PowerEdgeTM M-Series Blades to a Cisco SAN Fabric
 
Dell OpenManage Network Manager can help simplify network management

 

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  • Our external 10Gb ports, using SR transceivers can auto negotiate to 1 Gb switch if we connect them both?