Dell FX2 Overview & Setup for vSphere Environments

By | July 22, 2017

In this series of blog posts, time permitting, I’ll go through the base configuration required for the following 2 scenarios (Scroll down for links to the configurations)

  • Configure FX2 chassis with dual FN410S IO Modules to LAN switches and iSCSI storage array (direct iSCSI)
  • Configure FX2 chassis with dual FN2210S IO Modules to LAN & FC switches

In both scenarios the blades will have VMware ESXi 6.5 installed and connected to a new Cluster within vCenter Server. The only difference being the storage connectivity type due to the differences in IO Modules.

Configuration guides

The below configuration blog posts are “coming soon”!

  • Configure FX2 Chassis
  • Configure FX2 Blades (Full width FC830 or half width FC630 or quarter width FC430)
  • Configure IO Modules (Choose one of the below)
    1. FN410S (For LAN and iSCSI)
    2. FN2210S (For LAN and FC)
  • Configure FC Switches (If using FN2210S)
  • Configure iSCSI (if using FN410S)

First impressions

My impressions of the FX2 architecture is good. It can be configured for N+1 (Multiple fans, Dual PSUs, Dual IO Modules) It can work “out of the box” meaning zero configuration to the IO modules in basic deployment scenarios. Furthermore the CMC is based on iDRAC technology so it’s very simple to manage if you have any iDRAC experience.

In terms of enterprise feature set, something like Cisco UCS wins, but if you need basic blade management and familiar, simple setup at a lower cost then in my opinion FX2 is a good choice.

FX2 Chassis

The chassis as already discussed uses iDRAC technology for management and the same look and feel for central management of the chassis components. It can be configured with dual PSUs, up to 8 blades and up to 2 IO modules which depending on the type purchases can provide Ethernet for network and iSCSI or FC for storage. The chassis is 2U in size. If you purchase an 8 blade configuration, understand that the blase will require C19/20 power connections on your PDUs, this will be noted on your Bill Of Materials.

Chassis overview: http://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/povw/poweredge-fx-chassis

FX2 Blades

The blades act just like PowerEdge servers. The iDRAC interface is the same as PowerEdge but the blades are far more compact than any other Dell PowerEdge server. You can purchases full width, half width or quarter width nodes. 8 quarter width nodes will fit into a single 2U chassis, improving consolidation ratios in your data center.

Blade options: http://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/productdetails/poweredge-fx

FX2 IO Modules (IOMs)

The IO Modules come in 3 options. Simply put you can choose from: 4x SFP+, 4x Base 10, 2x FC  with 2x SFP+

IOM options: http://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/povw/fn-io-aggregator

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