Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Saturday, January 28, 2023

Dell Certifies QLogic Adapters for Converged Network Switch 

Dell has given its stamp of approval for a pair of QLogic adapters to be used in its converged S5000 networking switch, which is a key component of Dell’s strategy to enable data center operators to support data (TCP/IP) and storage (FCoE and iSCSI) traffic simultaneously in a single network device.

The growth of data volumes and demands is placing new pressures on data center operators to simplify their networking environments. So-called converged networking systems are one solution to this problem that involves using the same network gear to route outward-facing Internet traffic and inward facing SAN traffic. Proponents of this approach, including Dell, say it simplifies operations, increases performance, and decreases latencies.

Dell has certified the QLogic 8200 Series and 8300 Series 10GbE converged network adapters (CNAs) to be installed and used in the Dell Networking S5000 modular unified storage switches, which the company unveiled earlier this year. The S5000 is a 10/40 GbE top-of-rack (ToR) switch designed to support multi-protocol LAN and SAN traffic in demanding and highly virtualized computing environments.

The S5000 is preconfigured with four 40GbE (QSPF+) uplinks, and has room for two optional Ethernet or Unified Port Modules. Each of these modules can handle either 12 Fibre Channel ports (for the UPMs) that support 2, 4, and 8 Gbps FC connectivity for LAN and SAN traffic, or 12 ports that provide 1/10 GbE ports over SFP+ and support network traffic over FCoE, iSCSI, and RoCE protocols.

Dell supports a variety of storage topologies with its S5000, including traditional, virtualized, and converged. In a traditional environment, it can be used as a stand-alone switch connected to racks of blade servers or disk arrays with 10 GbE interfaces, or deployed as a spine switch along with a large number of smaller S55 or S60 switches.

In the biggest converged environments, Dell’s virtual leaf trunking (VLT) approach comes into play. With VLT, a number of S5000 switches can be connected, via the big 40GbE links, to larger Dell Z9000 switches, thus providing a “loop-free topology with active-active load-sharing of links,” Dell says.

In addition to QLogic CNAs, Dell’s S5000s can be equipped with CNAs from other manufacturers, including Intel, Emulex, and Broadcom.

About the author: Alex Woodie

Alex Woodie has written about IT as a technology journalist for more than a decade. He brings extensive experience from the IBM midrange marketplace, including topics such as servers, ERP applications, programming, databases, security, high availability, storage, business intelligence, cloud, and mobile enablement. He resides in the San Diego area.

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