In the Cisco UCS servers, there are three classes or categories of Network Adapters for B-series and C-Server servers.
The network adapters are all connected to a PCI Slot on the motherboard in the form of a proprietary card called a”mezzanine adapter” which connects to a “mezzanine slot” or “mezz slot” for short. The term mezzanine is widely used by most vendors and refers to the physical way it ‘stacks’ onto the motherboard like a mezzanine level in a physical building.
The three categories are;
|Ethernet Adapters||Network silicon from Intel and Broadcom providing conventional networking capabilities.||Can present up to two Ethernet interfaces to a server when two cards are installed. When using hypervisor, resources of the card handled in software.|
|Converged Network Adapters||Network silicon from Emulex and QLogic that has FC and Ethernet with software drivers for FC interfaces that storage admins care about.||Network cards that have FibreChannel and Ethernet adapters on a single card with fancy silicon for hardware acceleration. One Ethernet network interface per card and one FC interface. When using hypervisor, it shares the resources of the card in software.|
|Virtual Interface Cards||Network silicon from Cisco that is bathed in Unicorn Tears in the final production phase.||
Supports FEX features via VN-Link/802.1BR technology that allows each virtual adapter to appear as a separate Virtual Interface (VIF) on the fabric interconnects.
The architecture of the Virtual Interface Card is capable of supporting up to 128 total virtual network adapters split between vNICs and vHBAs.
Configuration of the VIC is handled in UCS Manager. The hypervisor sees as many “physical NICs” as are configured.
Can allocate multiple NICs to multiple software switches according to whatever policy you need to create.
I write this down because it’s pretty hard to find this summary anywhere is Cisco’s documentation and I keep having to tell people the difference. Now I can point them at this blog post.