Solarflare SFP+ 10Gbe cards

Kei-0070

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May 3, 2019
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I've seen the odd thread that suggests that the 7122 model is pretty good. Most of the models I've found are listed as:
SF432-1012-R2.0 S7120
SF329-9021-R7

I'm guessing these are cards from OEMs like dell/IBM etc. Does anyone have any experience with any of these models?
 
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Kei-0070

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May 3, 2019
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I'll let you know in a week or two. Guess we're both looking at the same items today.

Seller just accepted my BO of $75 just a few minutes ago on this: Lot of 4 - SolarFlare S7120 SF432-1012-R2 Dual Port 10GbE PCIe Server Card - Low | eBay
Cool. Will be good to hear some feedback on them as they do seem pretty decent value considering they are new enough to be pcie 3.0.

7.3W - nice
That is something I've wondered about as I've read that they run very hot. My intel X710's seem to run very cool. That said, my server has fairly high airflow over the expansion cards as I have an LSI 8888ELP raid controller and intel RES2SV240 expander to keep cool. The LSI gets very toasty.
 
Aug 2, 2015
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So I bought these on a whim because:

1) my Intel X710 is not playing nice with the DAC cables and in ESXi there's no option to turn on unsupported sfp flag.

2) swapped out for Broadcom BCM57810 but it's been crapping the bed in high usage (like vMotion) in ESXi with both the new native qfle3 and the old bnx2x driver. Been pulling my hair out trying to disable each and every offload and other parameters to make it play nice.
 
Aug 2, 2015
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Received my 4 cards - quickly put 2 to test on ESXi - had to install the vmklinux driver from vmware site as there's no native driver support for this generation. Firmware update on ESXi is not an option either for this generation.

The cards came with fairly old firmware, and the Solarflare support page provides the utilities (sfupdate) that actually included the latest firmwares embedded in the utility for ease of firmware updates. So I fired up linux livecd and did the update from there.

Oh yeah, it accepted my passive DAC cables just fine (shame on you, Intel!)
 
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Kei-0070

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Received my 4 cards - quickly put 2 to test on ESXi - had to install the vmklinux driver from vmware site as there's no native driver support for this generation. Firmware update on ESXi is not an option either for this generation.

The cards came with fairly old firmware, and the Solarflare support page provides the utilities (sfupdate) that actually included the latest firmwares embedded in the utility for ease of firmware updates. So I fired up linux livecd and did the update from there.

Oh yeah, it accepted my passive DAC cables just fine (shame on you, Intel!)
Good to hear they are working ok. I had the same quandary with the intel branded DAC for my x710's and my juniper switch, so I just went fibre instead.

Key things for me are do they work reliably at 10gig and how hot do they run?
 

aero

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I've been using solarflare cards in enterprise settings for many years. They're as good as it gets in my opinion. But I wouldn't recommend anything older than a 7122 at this point.
 

Kei-0070

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Well I've bought a SFN7122F. Will report on how it behaves when it arrives. Fingers crossed, it'll happily work with the intel SFP that I've got.
 

Kei-0070

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Card arrived today. Tested it on one of the windows machines first and all signs were good, although the drivers would not install. Kept causing an NDIS SYSTEM_THREAD_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED bluescreen. Not sure on the cause. But the card showed a link with my intel SFP installed and windows recognised the device which was good enough for me. Swapped it back out with my X710 card and put it into the server and surprisingly, it worked straight from the get go. SFC9120 driver present and a 10Gb link. Yay. Now all that I need to sort out is running some fibres.



Boot ROM firmware can be updated and there is a slightly newer controller firmware. This is the output from sfupdate
Code:
Solarstorm firmware update utility [v7.5.4]
Copyright Solarflare Communications 2006-2018, Level 5 Networks 2002-2005

enp1s0f0np0 - MAC: xx
    Firmware version:   v6.6.0
    Controller type:    Solarflare SFC9100 family
    Controller version: v6.2.7.1000
    Boot ROM version:   v5.0.7.1000

This utility contains more recent Boot ROM firmware [v5.2.2.1002]
   - run "sfupdate --write" to perform an update
This utility contains more recent controller firmware [v6.2.7.1001]
   - run "sfupdate --write" to perform an update

enp1s0f1np1 - MAC: xx
    Firmware cannot be accessed via this interface,
    please use enp1s0f0np0.
 

Kei-0070

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For anyone else who isn't sure on solarflare cards and finds this thread, they seem to be a good choice. Works out of the box on linux, windows drivers and mac drivers available too. It's been happy with intel, avago, cisco and juniper SFP's too. I'm kicking myself for missing out on 3x SFN8522 cards for a smidge more money than one of my intel x710's as I wasn't sure if they were good cards or not.
 

BeTeP

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Mar 23, 2019
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I also bought half a dozen of SFN7322 cards a few months ago. I posted my experiences in this thread.

In general I like them for the price. But I got screwed by non-standard brackets. The cards I bought were full height and I needed them to be half. I figured that the replacement would be easy to find in my spare parts bin. But the SolarFlare brackets happened to very different from everything else I had. The mounting tabs have different lengths (the distance from the bracket to the mounting hole is different for each tab). I ended up having to buy brackets online and pay almost half of what I paid for the cards themselves.
 

Spartacus

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May 27, 2019
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Solarflare was the default recommended cards for the R710/R720s when we added some shared storage by our vendor.
They dont work out of the box on esxi (6.0), I got a few of them for one of our clusters.
Not a huge deal to install the drivers but kinda annoying when it takes 5-10m to restart the host again after installing the cards, been working great since then.
 

aero

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Apr 27, 2016
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FYI, if you have full height brackets but need half height, just mod them yourself....pretty straightforward...save money
 

BeTeP

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Mar 23, 2019
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if you have full height brackets but need half height, just mod them yourself
Sure. I have done it a few times in a pinch. But I never liked the result and very much would prefer to have the original bracket instead. I was just hoping that these can be had for $3-4 shipped like most other brackets.

Also I wanted to keep the full height brackets in case I would need them later.