Dell PowerEdge Select Network Adapter- the freedom to choose

This blog is one of a 12-part series, “12 blogs for the Dell PowerEdge 12th Generation.” For more in the series, please check here, or click on the “12 blogs” tag at the bottom of the post.

A large number of the 7700 customer interactions, feedback and opinion that we received around 12th generation platforms revolved around server networking. That’s because networking today is at an inflection point where consumerization of information has led to a dramatic and exponential growth in network traffic, fueled by the number of network and storage devices coming on line. The server networking landscape has also changed significantly over the years. The transition to and rapid adoption of 10GbE has become increasingly common, with 40GbE looming large on the horizon. Network convergence (iSCSI and FCoE) and virtualization is driving an even richer feature set that offers choice of capabilities and performance. The need for more effective use of datacenter space- the ability to do more with the same or smaller space – has led to converged network adapters (CNAs) rapidly replacing traditional network interface cards (NIC) and LAN-on-Motherboard (LOM) networking infrastructure. Given the broad spectrum of vendors and capabilities available, we are approaching the point where no single solution is likely to satisfy the needs of all customers.

Distilling the feedback we received while planning our 12th Generation PowerEdge servers also revealed some clear customer pain points. Customers wanted to adopt a new technology based on the demands and timelines of their organization and infrastructure, and not be forced to do so by a third party. They were also increasingly concerned about being locked-in with a proprietary solution reliant on a single vendor to support their current and future networking infrastructure. They are increasingly looking for options that better support their technology choices, their timelines, and their budgets.

Dell listened. Our customers can now take advantage of a flexible approach to integrated networking on our rack and blade mainstream PowerEdge servers.  With the Dell PowerEdge Select Network Adapter family, our customers get LOM flexibility with purpose-built cards, free from vendor lockdown, which protects their server infrastructure investment and  delivers the added benefit of being able to adopt newer technology at their own pace.

Select Network Adapters provide our customers with the freedom to choose: choice of technology, choice of interface and choice of vendor. These are modular integrated networking cards which replace traditional fixed LOM infrastructures. Having this flexible and modular option instead of a fixed LOM increases the operational efficiency and longevity of servers and provides investment protection.  Since your servers do not need to be replaced if IO requirements change, but can be better utilized, this allows you to react faster to a changing networking technology landscape. An IO device can be replaced with a new Select Network Adapter at any time, which provides more benefits than the traditional LOM without forcing you to occupy a valuable PCI expansion slot. 

The Select Network Adapter comes in flavors of 1GbE and 10GbE with a variety of features such as TCIP & iSCSI offloading, convergence and even Dell’s unique switch independent partitioning capability. To better match your environment, Dell offers a wide variety of 10GbE physical interconnect options,  including 10GBASE-T, SFP+ DCA, SFP+ SR, and 10GBASE-KR. 

Dell has also partnered with leading networking vendors like Broadcom, Intel and QLogic to bring our customers the ability to choose a vendor and technology that best fits their own needs. This frees our customers to choose the best networking technology for their specific application needs.

Dell Select Network Adapters are available for a wide range of 12th generation of PowerEdge servers, including both blade and rack-optimized form factors. These adapters are fully managed by the Dell’s industry-leading comprehensive embedded management infrastructure for device configuration and updates.  . All Select Network Adapters can even be monitored in real time utilizing Dell’s unique ‘Agent-free’ Embedded Management technology offered via the integrated Dell Remote Access Controller (iDRAC).  

The Dell PowerEdge Select Network Adapter family is the end result of proactively listening to our customers’ needs and partnering with industry leaders in networking to bring best of breed solutions to address these needs.


About the Author: Rahul Deshmukh