Better Together (B2G) SAN Design Best Practices

Dell | EqualLogic iSCSI SAN Design utilizing Dell PowerEdge M1000e
Blade Enclosure and Force10 Switches in a Full End-to-End
Data Center Bridging (DCB) Shared LAN and SAN Environment

Hello EQL Family,

Just released!!  Best Practices white paper detailing a full end-to-end DCB solution
utilizing M1000e Blade Enclosure, Force10 10Gb switches, MXL, IOA, and s4810.
This paper will discuss different options for designing a DCB enabled SAN.

The different SAN Designs can be compared based on the following:

  • Administration
  • Performance
  • High Availability
  • Scalability


The SAN designs in this paper converge both SAN and LAN into a single network fabric
using Data Center Bridging (DCB). The final SAN design includes the IO Aggregator (IOA)
Module which is pre-integrated with Dell’s Active System 800.
The Active System 800 solution, a member of Dell Active Infrastructure family, is a converged
infrastructure solution that has been designed and validated by Dell™ Engineering. It is
available to be racked, cabled, and delivered to your site to speed deployment. Dell Services
will deploy and configure the solution tailored for business needs, so that the solution is ready
to be integrated into your datacenter. Active System 800 is offered in configurations with
either VMware® vSphere® (Active System 800v) or Microsoft® Windows Server® 2012
with Hyper-V® role enabled (Active System 800m) hypervisors.

To learn more about Dell’s Active Infrastructure Family click link:
             Dell Active Infrastructure Family


The network is the fundamental resource that connects the assorted devices together to form the
datacenter Ethernet infrastructure. These devices include server hardware and operating system,
the applications that run on the host, and the storage systems that host application data.
Sharing this Ethernet infrastructure with multiple traffic types requires a fairness mechanism
to provide bandwidth allocation and flow control for each type of traffic. Without such a mechanism,
the Local Area Network (LAN) traffic and the Storage Area Network (SAN) traffic would have
to be separated onto their own dedicated networks.

There were three categories of SAN designs for M1000e blade chassis integration:

  1. Blade IOM only - The EqualLogic PS Series array member ports are directly connected to
    the blade IOM switch ports within the blade chassis.
    Dual Force10 MXL switches in the M1000e chassis were used. 
  2. Top-Of-Rack(TOR) Only – The storage ports and blade server host ports are directly connected
    to ToR switches. A 10 GbE pass-through I/O Module is used to connect the host ports to the
    ToR switches.
    Dual Force10 S4810P switches were used as the ToR switches.
  3. Blade IOM switch with TOR switch - The EqualLogic PS Series array member ports are
    connected to a tier of ToR switches while the server blade host ports are connected to
    a separate tier of bladeIOM switches in the M1000e blade chassis.
    Force10 S4810P switches were used as the ToR switches while two different blade
    IOM switches were tested - the Force10 MXL and the PowerEdge M I/O Aggregator.

In conclusion, the different design categories are summarized and compared according to
administration, high availability, performance, and scalability.

Click for full details and to get a copy of the White Paper:  Best Practices for Full End-to-End DCB

P.S. Stay tuned for the next white paper that will provide Recommended Best Practices
for Designing a Data-Center-In-A-Chassis solution utilizing Dell | EqualLogic
PS-M4110 Storage Blade Arrays.!!

Twitter:    @GuyAtDell
Chatter:  @EQL Tech Enablement

Until next time,


Click the links below to access our four most useful reference documents:

•           EqualLogic Compatibility Matrix ( ECM )

 •          EqualLogic Configuration Guide ( ECG )

•           Rapid EqualLogic Configuration Portal ( RED )

•           Switch Configuration Guide (SCG)

Click the link below to access the Storage Infrastructure and Solutions  (SIS)  Team
publications library.
You can find all Best Practice White Papers, Reference Architectures, and other EQL documents: