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I have a dilemma. I want to have an end-to-end 10 Gigabit Ethernet network over SFP+, but my Dell servers have iDRAC6 which only works on 10/100BASE-T.

The closest thing I could find was the GLC-T transceiver but that only does 1000BASE-T and won't work with 100BASE-T from what I can tell.

How do I connect 100BASE-T (iDRAC6) hosts into a Nexus 2232PP via SFP+?

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2 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

What we did for a similar situation (HP iLO, not iDRAC) was to have a dedicated switch for such management traffic. Since very little traffic goes to them, that switch got a GigE uplink (or in your case, SFP+), and then connected to the iLO ports. The switch was unmanaged because we put all such links on a single subnet anyway. Worked well for us.

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+1. have a look at this serie of blog posts: fragmentationneeded.net/2011/11/…. A similar setup is explained. –  petrus Nov 20 '11 at 17:40
Thank you @sysadmin1138. That is a pragmatic solution :) –  Alain O'Dea Nov 20 '11 at 17:43
@petrus, that blog article was concise and instructive. I particularly benefited from the clear indications of the media used between devices :) What do you think of using Nexus 2224TPs in lieu of Cat 2960's to get front-to-back air? –  Alain O'Dea Nov 20 '11 at 17:53
This is a pretty standard solution, having a dedicated low-end switch for the management network. When you're thinking of the extreme per-port costs of some of the higher-end switches, using them for your DRACs and ILOs doesn't make sense. –  ewwhite Nov 20 '11 at 18:19
That's a good point @ewwhite :) The ports I will save on my 2232PPs could then be used for adding more servers as needed. The 2224TP will support up to 24 iDRAC6 connections which is easily enough for a mixed rack of servers and SANs. –  Alain O'Dea Nov 20 '11 at 18:32
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I'm glad you found my blog helpful and thanks for the plug, petrus.

Whether you go with 2224TP or Cat2960 for your management connection, consider the airflow carefully.

The screwed-up airflow of the catalyst (side intake, rear exhaust) won't cause your environment any problems, but it might get cooked by your servers.

FEXes should be installed with Panduit CDE2 (or equivalent). The Cat2960 should be installed with Panduit CDE1 (or equivalent). Going without these ducts is risky in a typical passive-ly cooled cabinet. See here: http://www.fragmentationneeded.net/2011/03/hot-hot-hot-nexus-fexes.html

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no problem ;). I've been following your posts for a while (maybe since the very one you mentioned :) and found them very interesting and worth mentioning. –  petrus Nov 21 '11 at 21:10
Interesting. We are using actively cooled cabinets with a sealed hot aisle. This is in SwitchNAP. We should be fine without ducts, right? –  Alain O'Dea Dec 17 '11 at 3:32
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