Blade Chassis I/O Diagrams

Many people get confused as to why so many I/O modules are needed within a given blade chassis.  The basic concept is simple (in most cases) – for each port you need on a given blade server, you need to have a corresponding I/O module.  For example, if you need 4 NICs, you’re going to need 4 Ethernet modules (in most cases.)  In today’s post, I thought I would keep it simple and publish the I/O diagrams of Cisco, Dell, HP and IBM chassis.  Of course, I am human and “have been known to make mistakes – from time to time” so please feel free to correct me on any errors you see.  Enjoy.

(Updated 8/3/2011 – fixed Dell M1000e Full Height I/O Diagram)

Cisco UCS 5108 I-O Mapping Diagram

Dell M1000 I-O Mapping Full Height rev 8-3-11


Dell M1000 I-O Mapping Half Height

HP BladeSystem c3000 H I-O Mapping Full Height


BladeSystem c3000 H I-O Mapping Half Height

HP BladeSystem c7000 H I-O Mapping Full Height

HP BladeSystem c7000 H I-O Mapping Half Height

IBM BladeCenter S I-O DiagramIBM BladeCenter E - IO Diagram

IBM BladeCenter H I-O Diagram

33 thoughts on “Blade Chassis I/O Diagrams

  1. Pingback: Kevin

  2. Pingback: Kevin Houston

  3. Pingback: Kevin Foster

  4. Pingback: Joseph Kordish

  5. Pingback: IBM System x

  6. Pingback: B2BCliff

  7. Pingback: Toru OZAKI

  8. Pingback: David Hurst

  9. Pingback: Joshua Smith

  10. Pingback: Naru Tonesaku

  11. Pingback: Manabu Ori

  12. Pingback: Kelvin Anderson

  13. Pingback: Emulex Links

  14. Pingback: martinmacleod

  15. Pingback: Chris Rowley

  16. M. Sean McGee

    Hi Kevin,
    Great write-up on the comparisons.

    One correction on the UCS 5108 chassis – all half-width slots have 4 lanes/connections to each I/O module. So, each half-width slot would have a total of 8 connections and each full-width server would have 16.

    Even though only 2 connections were usable with first generation I/O module and CNAs, the backplane still provided the lanes/connections.  Once the Gen 2 hardware ships this year, the 2208XP and 1280 VIC will allow those lanes to finally be used. In other words, every 5108 chassis that’s ever shipped has a backplane that supports 8 connections to each half-width server or 16 connections to each full-width server.

    Best regards,

  17. Pingback: moritzhoefer

  18. Kevin Houston

    Sean – I drew the #Cisco UCS I/O to reflect the # ports from the half width server, not the number of lanes.  To my knowledge there isn’t a 4 port mezz card yet available on the half height servers so I am showing 2 ports per mezz slot.  If there is a 4 or 8 port card for the half width blades, please let me know and I’ll revise the diagram.  Thanks for the feedback!

  19. Daniel Bowers

    I’ve posted diagrams focusing on midplane lane counts & styles here:

    The word “port” might need to be understood in context.   I’ve heard server guys call the 1280 VIC card a “256 port” card (# interfaces seen by an OS), an “8 port card” (# physical interfaces delivered by the silicon and routed on the midplane), or even a “2 port card” (number of upstream modules, i.e. FEXes, to which it connects).

  20. M. Sean McGee

    Yeah, I definitely understand the confusion in terminology.

    Just to beat the horse one last time to make sure everyone understands… Cisco UCS provides an 8 physical 10GE port CNA (1280 VIC) for half-width blade servers and UCS provides a blade chassis I/O module (2208XP) that provides 8 physical 10GBASE-KR lanes to each half-width server slot.Bottom line: each half-width UCS server has up to 8x physical 10GE ports and each full-width UCS server has up to 16x physical 10GE ports.

  21. Pingback: M. Sean McGee

  22. Pingback: unix player

  23. Pingback: Scott Enicke

  24. Pingback: raphael schitz

  25. Pingback: Julien Mousqueton

  26. Pingback: Blade Chassis I/O Diagrams – Making blade servers simple | HP Server Reviews

  27. Chris Barrett

    You will now need to update your diagrams for the new I/O modules and Fabric Interconnects.

    The Chassis now supports up to 160Gb/s (80Gb per FEX) in a port channel configuration.  The new 6248 is based on the hardware specifications of the 5548 with 4k VLAN support, 2 us latency and Universal Ports.

    In addition the new 2208 I/O module (aka. FEX) module supports 32 internal facing 10Gb ports each!

  28. Pingback: Moshe Hagshur

  29. Pingback: Patrick Lownds

  30. Pingback: 2015 in Review » Blades Made Simple

Comments are closed.