In response to many requests from our OEM customers, Dell has increased the number of embedded network interface cards (NICs) in our mainstream 1U and 2U PowerEdge servers (the PowerEdge R610 and R710) from two to four — these truly are appliance-inspired systems. We have found that many of our customers use these platforms as the basis for appliances for telco, security and other vertical spaces.
This may seem like a small thing to many, but we’ve learned that most of our customers using this class of server for network appliances, such as security gateways, VPN optimizers, and such, almost always install additional NICs in the PCIe slots to accommodate the requirements of their applications. While adding PCIe-based NICs isn’t difficult, it is more expensive, less consistent, less reliable, and more prone to errors than simply embedding more NICs to the motherboard.
What I like most about embedding the extra NICs is the freedom to use the PCIe slots for additional I/O options. I have several customers who utilize all of the PCIe slots for various required options who are sometimes forced to move up to a higher end & larger server in order to get all the NICs they need. With two additional NICs on the motherboard, at least one more PCIe slot is available to other components, like Telco I/O cards, encryption offload engines, or high-speed interfaces like Fibre Channel or Infiniband. Our OEM customers have already expressed their pleasure with the added embedded NICs, and many are able to accomplish more with these new servers than they could in the past.
How do these added NICs affect your server-based appliance products?