One of the best offerings that Dell has within their blade server I/O portfolio is the Dell Force10 10/40 GbE MXL Switch Module. You can check out the full details on my earlier blog post, but at a high level, this switch provides 32 x 10GbE ports downstream to the blade servers while offering up to 6 x 40GbE ports up stream. In addition, up to (6) MXL switch IOMs can be stacked using ring or daisy-chain topology giving it a stacking bandwidth upstream of 320G all while providing intra-chassis communication allowing servers to talk to each other without going out to the Access layer. But, if you have a Cisco network, will this work? Believe it or not, Dell and Cisco can play nice together.
The engineers at Dell recently released an easy-to-use guide of recommended basic deployment practices for the Dell Force10 MXL in the access layer of a Cisco Nexus network environment. I have to warn you though – it’s not for the faint at heart, as it includes detailed command line verbage on how to set it up. If you know what the command ” # feature enable vpc” does within NX-OS, you’ll appreciate this document. The guide is broken up topically as follows:
- the and concepts of MXL switch deployment
- introduction to the Force10 MXL hardware and its connectivity and management options
- the first steps of MXL deployment (including a rapid introduction to some common MXL initial deployment tasks)
- downlink (server-side) configuration options
- Link Aggregation Group Configuration
- Uplink configuration options to the Cisco Nexus network environment: running PVST with discreet LAGs nd running PVST with a single LAG connected across two top-of-rack switches that are using a Multi-chassis LAG
Download the complete whitepaper titled, “Deploying the Dell Force10 MXL into a Cisco Nexus Network Environment” at http://bit.ly/DellMXLonNexus
Kevin Houston is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BladesMadeSimple.com. He has over 15 years of experience in the x86 server marketplace. Since 1997 Kevin has worked at several resellers in the Atlanta area, and has a vast array of competitive x86 server knowledge and certifications as well as an in-depth understanding of VMware and Citrix virtualization. Kevin works for Dell as a Server Sales Engineer covering the Global 500 market.
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