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Last Update: Jul 23rd, 2020
ETBWMGR Siupported Hardware

ET/BWMGR Hardware Requirements



The idea that a complex software product will run the same on any hardware is not a sound one; all hardware is at least slightly if not substantially different. We spend 2-3 weeks testing and tuning hardware to optimize it, so the most optimal solution for running the ET/BWMGR is to use hardware that we've tested. If you can't buy our hardware or you simply want to use something else, you should try to match components to have some confidence that the product will work well.


Our images run on 64-bit i386 platforms using either AMD or Intel cpus. Most modern CPUs are 64-bit compatible; if you have an older system you need to check your cpu to see if it's 64 bit compatible.


The cpu you need will depend on how much traffic you need to manage, and there is no magic chart that will tell you what you need. If you have 100s of url matching rules you'll need more cpu than if you are only managing by IP address. A rule of thumb is to always get more than you'll need. Running out of CPU is bad.

It's best to check with us before selecting a cpu so we can recommend a minimum for your specific needs. It's too difficult to generalize. We recommend multi-core cpus to avoid live-lock and other such problems inherent in single core systems.

Network Adapter

The network adapter is the most important part of your system; the difference in performance between NICs can be substantial. There are nics that "work", and there are NICs for which we have made substantial improvements to the network drivers.

We recommend a dedicated path for your traffic and a separate port for administration. There are several reasons for this, most of them too technical for this document. There are optimizations in the bridge forwarding that can be made when there is no stack present. We also don't recommend using onboard NICs; often these ports are wired with lower throughput than if the same NIC were in a PCI slot. Use the onboard ports for admin and get a 2 port network card for your traffic flow.


The diagram above shows the setup for both Bypass and for a regular 2 port Ethernet NIC. The failover function is only for Bypass, of course.

Following is a list of NICs in order of recommendation:

1) Get a Bypass Card from us. Bypass is an extremely useful feature as it allows you to take the system offline for maintenance or if an upgrade has problems. You're also sure to get a network card with NICs that we fully support.

2) Get a 2 port card with Intel 82575, 82576, 82571, 82573, 82546, 82574 or i350 NICs. 82574s have not been well tested at high loads.

3) *Most* Broadcom NICs will "work", but we don't use them ourselves at high speed. If you have less than 100Mb/s of traffic they should work fine. Broadcom has many variations and has OEM nics for vendors like Dell. Check with us to make sure a specific NIC is supported.

4) For 10g, only i540 and 82599 NICS are supported. Others may work but we can't offer any support or guarantees of performance.

Many other NICs will work as administration ports, but we don't recommend them for traffic flows. In order to optimize data flow certain features must be enabled and disabled, so only optimized drivers will work well.

Buy a Bypass Card locally and buy Activation for your system

If you can get a bypass card locally you won't be able to use it with out software unless we activate it. Activation is $250. So if you can find one in surplus it may be better than paying shipping and duties.

We support virtually all Silicom cards manufactured through 2022; if you're buying one of their newer cards make sure you check with us to make sure it's supported.

NIC Selection

If you have a Single or Dual or Quad core system, Any NIC will do. The 82571 NIC used the FreeBSD em driver and is long tested and proven. If you have 6 or more PHYSICAL cpu cores, you should get an "igb" driver card that supports multiple queues. The queues can interrupt on multiple CPUs, which allow the load to be spread among multiple cpu cores. We have bypass cards with the 82575 and the i350 NICs that support this feature.

HDD System

SATA is required. While some older SAS drives may work, supporting 300 controllers for the 1 customer who simply must use some specific system isn't practical.

Appliances Supported

The following off-the-shelf 1U appliances have been tested with the ET/BWMGR:

Dell R210
Supermicro 5017C-MF, 5017C-MTF, 5017C-MTRF
Supermicro 5017R-MTF, 5017R-MTRF, 5017R-WRF
Supermicro 5015A-EHF-D525
Supermicro 6016T-NTRF
Supermicro 6017R-NTF, 6017R-WRF
Supermicro 5018D-MF, 5018D-MTF, 5018D-MTRF
Supermicro 5018R-M, 5018R-MR
Supermicro 6018R-MTR

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