A discussion of the Cisco blade switch offerings for the Dell PowerEdge M1000E blade chassis continues previous discussions on blade topics, including using the Dell management tools and solutions to bulk up Dell blade deployment, how to leverage the management tools to deploy large quantities of blades, and what the product engineers and product marketing managers have to say about the latest editions to the Dell blade portfolio: Dell PowerEdge M805 and PowerEdge M905 blades.

Technical Community - Background Reading

Previous Chat Sessions on Blade Topics

Cisco Dell M1000E Switch Solutions Information Portal

Chat Transcript

DELL-ScottH Hello life
lifeflakes Hey Scott
lifeflakes Always wanted to attend these chat sessions, but due to varied time zone was unavailable to do so
DELL-ScottH What time zone/country are you in ? We don't officially start for another 40 minutes
lifeflakes Ha, I know, I'm from Asia-pacific (India), and it's almost going to be 1 Am out here
DELL-ScottH Ooofffa... better get some Mt Dew in your system :-)
lifeflakes :)
DELL-ScottH Are you with Dell or a customer ?
lifeflakes With Dell - Tsr
DELL-ScottH Cool, how long have you been on the TechCenter? Things that we could do better or add?
lifeflakes I have been now I guess six months on it, and yeah it's been quite informative; went through the chat transcripts and found great blogs from those; like the Chuck's blog on EMC products--quite informative, and then some whitepapers on iSCSI, FlexAddress… those were very useful--comes in handy!
lifeflakes I'm not sure about the time line; could be lesser than that
DELL-ScottH Yeah nuggets everywhere, sometimes hard to find them, but worth digging
lifeflakes Yeah true
lifeflakes Would you also be doing a competitive analysis anytime on these chats?
DELL-ScottH Just sent you a badge on the site :-)
DELL-ScottH Todd just did a whitepaper against the Dl585 and R900
lifeflakes Ok
DELL-ScottH Looks like he hasn't posted it yet
lifeflakes Out here the M1000e is surely picking up, and customers are by-passing the rack orientation and moving to modular if it's anything more than five servers or so... and with that you have HP, Sun, IBM all on the bus
DELL-ScottH Should be through legal soon
lifeflakes But our toughest competition is from HP
DELL-ScottH Yes blades seem to be picking up nicely, and our solution is much better now
lifeflakes Yes they are awesome
DELL-ScottH Yeah, seems that IBM lost all the lead they had in the beginning
lifeflakes Yeah, they did
DELL-ScottH Our FlexAddress solution is so much easier to use than HP’s equivalent solution... you see the demos I did?
lifeflakes Nope... did read the whitepaper though
lifeflakes Will check them now
lifeflakes You talking against virtual connect right?
lifeflakes And our's is so much more economical!
DELL-ScottH http://www.delltechcenter.com/page/7-17-08+blade+flexaddress+demo+-+comments
DELL-ScottH Yeah, cheaper, easier, quicker
DELL-ScottH No switch dependencies
DELL-ScottH So what is keeping you up at 1 am?
lifeflakes Just surfing the Web; was actually looking at how the financial markets are doing :)
DELL-ScottH uggh, don't remind me :-)
lifeflakes Ha I know
DELL-ScottH I loaded up on financials a few months ago, thinking it was the bottom :-( ... I have great timing
lifeflakes I don't know whether there is a Murphy's Law on this one
lifeflakes :)
DELL-ScottH Should be in the clear in a few years, luckily I can wait it out
lifeflakes How are the blades getting adopted for virtualization.... quite good I suppose
DELL-ScottH Yes, was just out at VMworld and was one of the big attractions in the booth
lifeflakes Yes, it would get bullish sooner or later
DELL-ScottH M905 is quite a blade with lots of I/O and memory slots, great for virtualization
lifeflakes But then you don't face issues on the number of NICs
lifeflakes Yes that’s true
lifeflakes Good to have more NICs right – one NIC completely dedicated for Vmotion
DELL-ToddM joined.
DELL-ScottH Hey Todd
DELL-ToddM Hello!
DELL-ToddM What's up flakes?
lifeflakes And I suppose we are the only blades to be featured in the Vmark benchmark on the 8 core space
lifeflakes Nothing much just being an owl tonight
DELL-ScottH Check the history, some good talk ... Tsr from India... jacked up on Mt Dew :-)
DELL-ToddM Is it the code Red Mt Dew?
DELL-ScottH Brb
lifeflakes So Todd are you from the Pg
DELL-ToddM Formerly of Pg - I am currently in the Marketing org - I consider myself to be Technical Marketing
DELL-ToddM Scott and I are on the same team
DELL-ToddM Where did the name lifeflakes come from?
lifeflakes left.
lifeflakes joined.
lifeflakes Ha the browser hung
lifeflakes And it was the brand new chrome
lifeflakes :)
lifeflakes Technical marketing that's good
lifeflakes We really did make an impact with our power consumption report
lifeflakes The out of the box comparison
lifeflakes Good documents that always comes in handy
DELL-ToddM The whitepaper that Scott mentioned earlier is being posted as we speak
DELL-ToddM I will have a blog entry up in a day or so announcing it
lifeflakes What's the link to your blog?
DELL-ToddM http://www.delltechcenter.com/page/virtualization+frontier
DELL-ToddM Right-click to avoid exiting chat session
lifeflakes Todd, how is the VDI solution out there?
DELL-ToddM VDI was talked about a lot at VMworld
lifeflakes Is it easily taken, or does it require lot of presentation and pushing?
DELL-ToddM It seems to be well accepted by some -- where it is a good fit -- but the time to deployment is longer
DELL-ToddM Because it is new
lifeflakes Yes, and the licensing cost too is not very digestible for a customer adapting to virtual infrastructure
DELL-ToddM I have seen some compelling designs with blade chassis to support VDI
DELL-ScottH I'm back... anyone care? :-)
DELL-ToddM It's Scott - The Blades Expert
DELL-ToddM I got a message from Tattooman1952 that he would be here at 2:45.....
lifeflakes This chat is right after lunch time isn't it?
DELL-ScottH Depends on how long a lunch you take ;-)
DELL-ToddM Well, the way that Scott takes lunches, you could say that it is right after lunch time :)
Dell-RogerF joined.
DELL-ScottH Ha - trying to digest the bbq from salt lick
DELL-ToddM It's really in the middle of the afternoon - halfway between lunch and quitting time for most
DELL_AndyF joined.
DELL-ScottH Today is the day we quit?
DELL-ScottH Hello Andy and Roger
DELL-ToddM Welcome Roger -- the other blades expert
DELL_AndyF Good evening
DELL-ToddM We are waiting for others to join -- usually we don't get most people into the chat room until 5 or 10 after
DELL-ToddM Andy - Are you in Europe? Is it night already?
Dell-Bruce joined.
lifeflakes Ok next time I need to use a Dell handle to my ID
DELL-ToddM Bruce - Good to see you!
lifeflakes Just read that on the chat rules now!
DELL-ScottH Hello Bruce
Dell-Tony_A joined.
Dell-Bruce Hi!
DELL-ScottH Hello Tony
Dell-Tony_A Hello everyone.
DELL-ToddM Bruce is the real Blades Switch Expert!
Dell-Tony_A I am here just to back him up on the EqualLogic side. :)
DELL_AndyF It's 10 pm, I'm in Geneva at the moment, as staying in hotels is boring; I'm always looking forward for a chat ;-)
DELL-ToddM Lifeflakes is in India and it is really late for him!
lifeflakes It's half past 1 in the morning out here
DELL-ScottH Cry me a river about being in Geneva :-)
Jake joined.
lifeflakes This is the part 3 right
lifeflakes Where are the transcripts for the other 2 parts, not able to find them on the site
DELL-ScottH Ok, let’s kick it off...
DELL-ScottH The previous transcripts are here ...
DELL-ScottH http://www.delltechcenter.com/page/chat+topics+and+transcripts
DELL-ScottH Welcome Jacke
DELL-ScottH Jake, I mean
DELL-ToddM Hi Jake
Jake Hello
DELL-ScottH This weeks focus is on network switches in the blade chassis
esadeealvord joined.
DELL-ScottH Bruce is joining us from the Dell PowerConnect side of the house and can address questions from that solution area
DELL-ScottH We also welcome any questions around the previous blade topics, and will dive off into any direction that is interesting
DELL-ScottH We also have Tony joining us from the EqualLogic side of the house, if that comes up
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DELL-ToddM Welcome resadeealvord and jsanghera!
DELL-ToddM Perfect timing -- just getting started
DELL-ScottH Bruce, please introduce yourself to get things started, and everyone please feel free to jump in at anytime, we can sort out the multiple conversations as we go
jsanghera Hi there
DELL-ScottH FYI, for newcomers use "action"... recent room history to catch up... and right-click on any Web links, or you'll get kicked from the chat ;-)
DELL-ScottH Bruce, are you multitasking?
Dell-Bruce Yep
lifeflakes left.
Dell-Bruce I am a product engineer in the Dell PowerConnect group. I was lead engineer for the M6220 blades server switch.
Dell-Bruce You have 100% of my attention now.
DELL-ScottH :-)
DELL-ToddM I think we could probably get by with 50% :)
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DELL-ScottH One of the questions I've received from customers is around bandwidth... how is the latency and blocking issues with full chassis and 6 network switches?
Dell-Bruce I usually work at 200%, so we are good.
Dell-Bruce Depends on your configuration.
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Dell-Bruce If you have 4 10GE ports coming out of each of the switches, then you have 16 Gig coming in on the server side and 40 Gig exiting the switch.
Dell-Bruce There is more to the equation than that, but you do not have to be oversubscribed.
DELL-ToddM The M6220 is a PowerConnect switch that is specific to the M1000e chassis online docs: http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/network/pcm6220/en/index.htm
DELL-ScottH It’s a ton of bandwidth, and I think most customers will have a tough time finding applications that can fill the pipe... except for resa who is doing HPC workloads
lifeflakes_ The FC switches are 16 internal and 8 external right?
Jake We just bought an M1000e chassis, and I need some help understanding how things connect.
Jake We have 4 modules in the back for Ethernet connections.
Jake Each with 4 jacks.
Jake Do those map to specific blades?
Jake If so, how?
DELL-ScottH Blade cookbook is great place to start: http://www.delltechcenter.com/page/10g+blades+cookbook
resadeealvord FWIW, on the HPC side of things, we are running 2 10gbe ports per 16 blades into a Force 10 C300 switch, and we obtained 65% of peak from Mplinpack benchmark ... way better than we have ever received with standard gigabit Ethernet
Dell-Bruce The external ports on the M6220 do not map to blades (unless you need them to).
DELL-ToddM There is a picture of the M6220 on page 28 of the user guide: http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/network/pcm6220/en/ug/pdf/ug_en.pdf
DELL-ToddM The M6220 is a switch, with internal ports, that all of the blades "connect" to; it has the external port that you see on the back
DELL-ScottH Jake, did the cookbook help you understand the mappings of switch slots to blades?
DELL_AndyF Jake, think of the switches as standard 20-port switch; 16 ports connect to each of the blades, 4 ports go to the outside
lifeflakes_ Are the M6220 iSCSI optimized as the Pc 5424 is?
Dell-Bruce M6220 does not have the iSCSI optimization feature that the 5424 has.
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Dell-Tony_A @lifeflakes: This does not necessarily mean that general iSCSI will not work, just that there are no optimization settings. Also, just a reminder that M6220 is not currently supported for EqualLogic SAN infrastructures. We are working on this now, but realize that this switch was designed and released before we acquired EqualLogic.
lifeflakes_ So wouldn't I be better giving a redundant pass-through and a Pc5424 or Pc5448 to connect to Md3000i or EqualLogic?
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DELL-ToddM Note – Right-click on links to avoid exiting the chat session
Dell-Tony_A For EqualLogic, that or using the Cbs3130 switches to attach to external switches would be the correct solution.
DELL-ToddM Tony - They haven't been validated? Or they are not supported?
DELL-ToddM What about Cisco switches for M1000e and iSCSI?
Jake Would it be beneficial to have all 4 external connections plugged into my network? Would this provide more bandwidth, or just redundant connections?
Dell-Tony_A Bruce, you want to answer that related to 6220?
Dell-Tony_A Todd,
Dell-Tony_A They have not been validated.
Dell-Tony_A We are currently working on validation right now.
Dell-Bruce Jake: You can configure multiple ports to be combined into a single logical link. These are called Lags, port channels, or Etherchannels. They give you redundancy and increased bandwidth.
Jake Is there a better document for best practices scenarios for configurations? I am a newbie to the Blade environment and want to make sure I am setting things up right to begin with.
Jake The cookbook gave great diagrams, but not really a "this is how it should be done" or “this is how it works”
Dell-Tony_A 6220 works fine with Md3000i (as far as I know ;-) ), but will not be supported with EqualLogic until validation is completed. Today, recommendations are to use the pass-through to external switches or to use the Cisco Cbs3130 laged to external switches.
DELL-ScottH @jake - hate to give the "it depends" answer, but it really does... browse through what we have here -- http://www.delltechcenter.com/page/blades -- and then start a thread on the site with your applications and what you are trying to accomplish and we can mashup on it with other engineers and customers as well
Jake That's cool, just looking for clarification. Thanks for the link.
lifeflakes_ Any idea as to when the 8 gbps FC cards and 10 gig HBA cards on the blades would be ready to ship
DELL-ScottH @jake, so what are you going to run on the blades?
DELL-ToddM Jake - Are you doing iSCSI storage? (It looks like we just injected that into the conversation looking back at things.)
DELL-ToddM lifeflakes - We can't comment on future products that haven't been released or announced in this public forum
DELL-ScottH In other words, send Todd an e-mail
lifeflakes_ Ok
Jake We purchase 8 blades, Dual Quads with 16Gb memory. First is running SQL Server 2005, second is running the Application server to go with the first DB. They are Pinnacle Gradebook for schools. The third will be a SQL server running multiple small DBs. The last three are to be ESX servers. The middle two will turn out to be an Exchange front and back-end servers.
DELL-ScottH What's the storage on the backend?
Jake All is connected with FC to SAN through the two brocade switches.
DELL-ToddM :)
Jake Likely migrating to Exchange 2007, but right now running Exchange 2003
Jake On a separate physical server
DELL_AndyF Complete data center in one chassis :-) I'm loving it
Jake Only four servers powered on right now.
Jake Two SQL, one Web/app, and first ESX server with 0 VMs... ::tongue
DELL-ScottH One of our former teammates is focused on education right now... Dave Jaffe, he's writing some papers on... Todd what is that stuff he works on?
DELL-ToddM Banner
DELL-ScottH 0 VMs!
DELL-ScottH So is Banner similar to Pinnacle Gradebook?
DELL-ScottH He does a lot of sizings so might be good to get in touch with him
DELL-ToddM I think that the network configuration may be a little bit easier, since storage is on FC
Jake Just installed ESX last Tuesday... been put on hold for implementation until a few more people go over my plan.
DELL-ScottH Todd, is his paper on a site?
DELL-ToddM You will want to think about the networking for the ESX servers
DELL-ScottH Or just e-mail him at dave_jaffe@dell.com... Tell him Todd sent you, not me :-)
DELL-ScottH That's an underscore there
DELL-ToddM Dave Jaffe Banner whitepaper - http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/power/ps3q08-20080283-suny.pdf
DELL-ScottH Found this http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/power/ps3q08-20080283-suny.pdf
DELL-ScottH Pick poke
DELL-ScottH You owe me a coke
lifeflakes_ Well having mentioned about exchange 2007, I live this component architecture poster that was done by Microsoft and Dell, a real good one: http://download.microsoft.com/download/b/2/0/b20ed7c4-4c29-4e8c-8bce-02f3a7bc0071/exchangeposter.pdf
DELL-ToddM I wish that Dave had to pay me for the publicity :)
Jake I think I have it all, as far as hardware, 8 blades, four 6220 switch modules, two 4424 brocades for FC-SAN Connection...
Jake Now I just need to get it set up right...
DELL-ScottH oooffaa , what size do you have to print that out to be able to read it?
DELL-ScottH Awesome chart, I hadn't seen that
Jake I have a 42" plotter...
DELL-ScottH Nice
DELL-ToddM The question with ESX is how many networks do you need for VMs, Vmotion, Service Console, etc.?
Jake Interesting paper. We are also using Sungard software, but it is Pentamation, AIX based.
Jake We are also much smaller (14,000 students) and K-12 education
DELL-ToddM Jake - Why did you decide to go with blades instead of traditional rack servers?
Jake Consolidation of many older servers into one, environment (cooling), and space
Jake We had already doubled our data center server room in size.
Jake We currently have 40 different physical servers.
DELL-ToddM I agree that having lots in one chassis is much easier to manage and deploy.
DELL-ToddM More customers that I talk to (even smaller customers) are beginning to use blades.
Jake We will likely have that down to half by the time we are done: 5-6 racks down to 2-3!
DELL-ScottH Especially with the new 4-socket blades
DELL-ScottH We're coming up at the end of the hour ... any other topics of discussion?
lifeflakes_ On the management of the blade chassis…
DELL-ScottH Jake, please start a thread if you want us to look at your configuration in more depth
Jake Thanks for the input and the links.
DELL-ToddM I would like to thank Bruce and Tony for stopping by as the Experts of the Day!
DELL-ScottH @lifeflakes - you're not tired yet?
DELL-ScottH Yes, thanks!
Dell-Bruce Goodbye!
lifeflakes_ Just wanted to know that I can cascade my CMC to manage 4 chassis... but not the iKVM, so I will have to draw connections out to an external KVM to manage right, I mean multiple chassis
lifeflakes_ Yeah probably will take this up some other time
DELL-ScottH Be sure to join us next week for our VMworld 2008 wrap-up
lifeflakes_ Yes would surely... I think I’m going to be awake from now on, and the culprit is TechCenter :)
DELL-ScottH KVM has to be connected
DELL-ScottH To external multiple ports
lifeflakes_ Ok
DELL-ToddM Later!
DELL-ScottH Sorry for keeping you up so late. But thanks for joining!
lifeflakes_ Nah, my pleasure
lifeflakes_ See you next time around