The Lenovo mission-critical X6 servers (x3850 X6 and x3950 X6) offer a choice of network adapter form factors. The standard PCIe low-profile form factor supports the industry-standard PCIe network adapters. The Mezzanine LOM (ML2) is a unique Lenovo network adapter form factor.

The ML2 adapters are installed in a custom ML2 slot. This slot supports adapters with either two 10GbE or 40GbE ports or four gigabit ports. The ML2 adapters support direct connectivity to the IMM2 service processor for out-of-band management. The x3850 X6 supports one ML2 adapter per system and the x3950 X6 supports up to two ML2 adapters per system.

So why would someone want to configure their system with a unique ML2 network adapter vs. an industry-standard PCIe adapter? The answer is price. The ML2 cards typically have a list price more than $100 lower than the same industry-standard PCI adapter. If you need more than one of a particular network adapter, you can get matching network adapters in the industry-standard PCIe form factor. The descriptions for both adapters are very similar.

As an example:

  • ML2 form factor: Intel X540 ML2 Dual-Port 10GBaseT Adapter
  • Standard  PCIe: Intel X540-T2 Dual-Port 10GBaseT Adapter

Lets take a brief look at some of the ML2 adapters supported on the Lenovo X6 systems.

Emulex Virtual Fabric (VFA5) ML2 Dual-Port SFP+ Adapter

The Emulex VFA5 ML2 Dual-Port SFP+ Adapter delivers performance enhancements and new features that reduce complexity and cost while improving performance. The Emulex VFA5 family delivers a new set of powerful features and capabilities that are designed for the virtualized enterprise environment, multi- and single-tenant cloud environments, I/O-intensive environments and converged infrastructure environments. View the Emulex VFA5 Adapter Family – Walk-through video and product guide.

Broadcom NetXtreme II ML2 Dual-Port 10Gbase T Adapter

The Broadcom NetXtreme II ML2 Dual-Port 10GBase T Adapter enables affordable 10GbE network performance with cost-effective RJ-45 connections for distances up to 100 meters. It is compatible with the installed base of GbE switching and cabling infrastructure commonly deployed today. View the Broadcom NetXtreme 10Gbase-T Network Adapter Family – product guide.

Broadcom NetXtreme II ML2 Dual-Port 10GbE SFP+ Adapter

The Broadcom NetXtreme II ML2 Dual-Port 10GbE SFP+ Adapter uses Broadcom's controller technology, which provides outstanding performance, efficiency and scalability for the enterprise data center. The adapter connects to SFP+ Multimode Fiber SR optical modules and direct-attach copper (DAC) cables. View the Broadcom NetXtreme 10 GbE SFP+ Network Adapter – product guide.

Intel I350-T4 ML2 Quad-Port GbE Adapter

The Intel I350-T4 ML2 Quad-Port GbE Adapter offers excellent price/performance, enhanced power savings and market-leading I/O virtualization technologies. View the Intel I350 Gibabit Ethernet Adapters – product guide.

Intel X540 ML2 Dual-Port 10Gbase T Adapter

The Intel X540 ML2 Dual-Port 10Gbase T Adapter is powered by reliable and proven 10GbE technology for high-IO intensive applications. With compatibility for existing 1GbE networks, this adapter simplifies the transition to the 10Gb Ethernet technology. View the Intel X540 Dual Port 10 GbE Adapter – product guide.

Intel X710 ML2 4x10GbE SFP+ Adapter

The quad-port Intel X710 ML2 4x10GbE SFP+ Adapter addresses the demanding needs of the next-generation data center. By providing unmatched features for server and network virtualization, small packet performance and low power; the data center network is flexible, scalable and resilient. View the Intel X710 10 GbE SFP+ Network Adapter – product guide.

Mellanox ConnectX-3 Pro ML2 2x40GbE/FDR VPI Adapter

The Mellanox ConnectX-3 Pro ML2 2x40GbE/FDR VPI Adapter delivers low latency, high bandwidth and computing efficiency for performance-driven server applications. Efficient computing is achieved by offloading from the CPU routine activities, which makes more processor power available for the application. The Mellanox ConnectX-3 advanced acceleration technology enables higher cluster efficiency and scalability of up to tens of thousands of nodes. View the Mellanox ConnectX-3 Pro Adapter – product guide.

For more information on each system:

Visit the web sites: Lenovo System x3850 X6, a 4U rack server scalable to four processors and Lenovo System x3950 X6, an 8U rack server scalable to eight processors. Also read the blogs Business Productivity and IT Benefits of Upgrading with Lenovo X6 as well as Why Consolidate Databases on Lenovo X6?