Hear from the product engineers and product marketing managers about the newest editions to the Dell Blade portfolio, the Dell PowerEdge M805 and PowerEdge M905 Blades, as well as FlexAddress capabilities for helping minimize downtime.

Technical Community - Background Reading

Previous Chat Sessions on Blade Topics

Technical Teardown of M805 and M905
Dell PowerEdge M805 Product Details
Dell PowerEdge M905 Product Details

Chat Transcript

Dell-RogerF Afternoon
DELL_AndyF Hi Roger, evening here :-)
Dell-RogerF Oh, that's right. Switzerland?
DELL_AndyF The Netherlands this week, Sa2.0 training
DELL_AndyF You think they will have time for the chat?
Dell-RogerF I'd be surprised if Scott or Todd showed up today as they are at VMworld this week. They are Twittering though http://twitter.com/delltechcenter on what they are seeing. In their absence, Armando is going to join us to talk about the new blades that were announced.
DELL_AndyF Okay
Armando75 joined.
Dell-RogerF Hey Armando. Made it back on time!
Armando75 Roger I'm here.
Armando75 Yes, I wouldn't miss it
Armando75 Should we wait for more to join?
Dell-RogerF I'd recommend another couple of minutes.
Dell-RogerF Andy, any questions for Armando the Blades guru?
DELL_AndyF Had not a chance to play with them
DELL_AndyF The only question that is open atm, is how will the quad-port NICs connect to the switches; could not find an overview quickly that shows the data paths
Armando75 Andy, each M805 and M905 has the capability to house four daughter cards Each daughter card is dual port and connects to the mid-plane through the I/O modules
Armando75 In the Blade NDA deck we have a detailed description of how each of the data paths is routed
Dell-RogerF Nothing public though?
Armando75 We don't have anything public
DELL_AndyF I'll have a look, thanks
Armando75 Fabric A must always be Ethernet
Armando75 Fabric B and C are customizable for Ethernet, Fibre Channel, Infiniband
Armando75 Each port on a single card routes to a separate I/O module
DELL_AndyF But if I understand right, we will get a four-port Ethernet card, will each two ports share one data path then? What about bandwidth?
Armando75 There are no plans for a four port; each card is dual port
Armando75 Bandwidth is not a concern as our midplane will support up to 5.4 TB of throughput
Armando75 Each I/O module can support from 1 to 4 lanes
Armando75 For max throughput
DELL_AndyF We are limited to four Ethernet NICs; if we also have Fibre Channel in the chassis
Armando75 It’s four I/O cards per blade for full-height. Here is the detailed breakdown: two separate Fabric B cards, two separate Fabric C cards, two ports per I/O card, and each port on a single card routes to a separate I/O module
DELL_AndyF Okay, six Ethernet NICs then, and two FC HBA; I'm happy
Armando75 Fabric A still must be Ethernet
Armando75 Correct. That is the beauty of the full height; it utilizes the I/O paths for two slots in the chassis
DELL_AndyF Okay, but I have to look at a drawing with the routing, as four I/O cards to six modules can't be a 1-to-1 connection, but I get the idea
DELL_AndyF Are all our customers at VMworld?
Armando75 Andy, I can send you a slide; the visual will do more justice
Armando75 How are you listed in the directory?
Dell-RogerF Well, probably not all Dell customers are at VMworld, but maybe all of Scott and Todd's followers
user001 joined.
Dell-RogerF Welcome User.
user001 left.
Armando75 Did you run him off?
Dell-RogerF Some people are just shy like that.
Dell-RogerF Armando, a couple more newbie questions if you don't mind?
DELL_AndyF This was the HP spy ;-)
Armando75 Sure, shoot
Dell-RogerF You just went over the increased I/O with Andy. The new blades also have much more memory too don't they?
Armando75 Yes, the M805 has 16 DIMMs, and the M905 has 24
DELL_AndyF Woohoo
Armando75 On the M905 we have 50 percent more memory capacity than the competition
Armando75 This is beneficial for I/O-intensive applications like virtualization and databases
Dell-RogerF Does that get memory "balanced" then with respect to CPU utilization for Exchange, databases, etc.?
Armando75 Not only that, but this allows customers to use lower-cost memory configurations
Armando75 Yes, plus the AMD direct connect architecture allows for better utilization of CPU and memory
Dell-RogerF How's that? I guess I'm not familiar with direct connect. Got a URL with more info?
Armando75 It’s on the AMD Web site; you can't miss it
Armando75 It also utilizes the chipset more efficiently
Dell-RogerF These also are our first blades with embedded hypervisor on an SD card?
Armando75 Correct
Dell-RogerF So with the SD and FlexAddress enabled I can truly just plug in or replace a blade and be instantly up with a new VM host?
Armando75 Yes, the SD card provides that capability. FlexAddress allows for persistent identity for WWN and MAC addresses
Armando75 Thus, if a blade goes down, the user just has to replace the blade, load an image, and identity is maintained
Armando75 FlexAddress is a simple, low-cost way to limit downtime
Armando75 No need to map NIC I/O paths
Armando75 IP addresses are maintained
Armando75 For both Fibre Channel storage and iSCSI storage
Dell-RogerF By maintained, you mean in the chassis, not the blades, right?
Armando75 Correct, it’s assigned to the slot in the chassis
DELL_AndyF Even the IP address?
Dell-RogerF Okay, looked out on the TechCenter and found the demo Scott did earlier: www.delltechcenter.com/page/poweredge+blade+demos
DELL_AndyF So the IP configured in the OS is some kind of Nat'ed to the slot address?
Armando75 We do this through the CMC and an SD card that houses the static addresses, so they can never be duplicated
Armando75 Sorry, should have been more clear in my explanation
Armando75 The IP address is maintained to either Fibre Channel storage or iSCSI storage
Armando75 When setting up Fibre Channel storage, each storage processor is assigned an IP address; this is done for data routing purposes
Armando75 Thus, if the blade goes down, there is no need to zone the switch and route to the storage controller IP address
Armando75 FlexAddress maintains that connection
Armando75 MAC addresses are used for iSCSI storage
Armando75 WWN for Fibre Channel storage
DELL_AndyF That's how I understood it; FlexAddress makes the physical layer addressing slot persistent and not server/blade persistent, but for higher-layer addressing TCP/IP you need your own system, like DHCP address reservation, which is working fine as the MAC address does not change
Armando75 Yes, you are correct
Armando75 Plus our address is never duplicated, so the user doesn't cause any issues with duplicate IP addresses
Dell-RogerF Since you're here, Armando, any comments you want to make on power with respect to the new blades or in general?
Armando75 Our friends at HP force customers to maintain their own pool of IP addresses and make the customer maintain a database
Armando75 Not very user friendly
Armando75 Yes, we have a couple of third-party white papers that will show Dell performance per watt advantage
Armando75 I don't want to steal Tom Cloyd's thunder, so please stay tuned
Dell-RogerF No problem. Just post them as an update on the TechCenter blades page, so I get an e-mail that there's something new.
Armando75 Will do
Dell-RogerF Thanks so much for coming today, Armando. Anything else you want to share?
Armando75 Nope that is it for today; thanks for the time
Dell-RogerF Maybe a teaser on next week's topic?
Dell-RogerF Good to see you here today too, Andy. Hope to see you next week!
Armando75 We will go further into the capabilities of FlexAddress and how it integrates into existing Cisco environments
Armando75 Have a nice day!