The rear of the chassis includes four I/O bays for adding I/O peripherals. The top two bays are used for Ethernet while the lower 2 bays can add additional I/O functionality such as networking, Fibre Channel, or InfiniBand connectivity. Dell provides the option in many cases to use either a switch or pass-through in the I/O module bays.
The Dell PowerConnectTM 5316M is a fully managed Layer 2 switch that aggregates network traffic from the Gigabit network controllers on each blade server and provides six uplink ports out to the core networking infrastructure. This not only helps optimise network traffic, but it also minimizes the number of cables per chassis and helps reduce the number of costly ports needed in your network infrastructure.
Ethernet Pass-Through Module
Another option for customers that would like to leverage existing external networking infrastructures is the Ethernet Pass-Through Module. A Pass-Through Module is a device that routes traffic directly from the blade server to an external networking device. A Pass-Through Module works in a one-to-one ratio with the port that it is connected to on the blade server - just like cabling from the NICs of a traditional 1U server to the external network device. The Ethernet Pass-Through module supports ten 1000baseT uplinks.
Brocade Silkworm 3014 Fibre Channel Switch
The Brocade Silkworm 3014 Fibre Channel Switch was designed to ease SAN deployment in blade server environments. Fibre Channel traffic is aggregated in the switch from a daughtercard port on each blade server to four uplink ports that connect directly to Dell/EMC storage or to additional Fibre Channel switches. Each switch comes in a full fabric mode for maximum performance and scalability or a VL2 mode for exceptional value. Other software options such as ISL Trunking, Performance Monitoring, and Fabric Watch are available and fully supported in a full fabric infrastructure.
McDATA 4314 Fibre Channel Switch
The McDATA 4314 Fibre Channel Switch was designed to ease SAN deployment in blade server environments. Fibre Channel traffic is aggregated in the switch from a daughtercard port on each blade server to four uplink ports that connect directly to Dell/EMC storage or to additional Fibre Channel switches. Each switch is fully supported in native McDATA fabrics that use EFCM management software as well as with optional software features including SANtegrity Binding and SANtegrity Authentication.
Fibre Channel Pass-Through Module
Just like the Ethernet Pass-Through Module, the Fibre Channel Pass-Through Module provides a seamless connection to external Fibre Channel SAN switches such as Brocade® , McData® , and Qlogic® . The optional Dell 2342M Fibre Channel daughtercard on the motherboard of a blade server routes from the midplane to the Fibre Channel Pass-Through Module, then to the external Fibre Channel switch, and ultimately to the storage device. Customers who have already made an investment in external Fibre Channel switches can save money by using their existing infrastructure. The Fibre Channel Pass-Through Module comes with ten short wave optical transceivers by default.
Topspin InfiniBand Pass-Through Module
For high performance computing clusters that require maximum throughput and low latency, the Topspin Infiniband Pass-Through Module connected to a Topspin InfiniBand HCA daughtercard in each blade server and a Topspin 120 or 270 external switch is an ideal option. This high performance solution delivers up to 10Gb/s (4X) throughput via redundant connections from the HCA to the external switches.