Linux NIC enumeration and Dell servers

Once again I am running into the weird issue where at install time my NICs are enumerated one way and after a reboot another. This first happened to me in 2007, while installing Oracle Enterprise Linux (OEL) 4u5 on a Dell PowerEdge 2950. The on-board NICs were numbered 'gb1' and 'gb2' but enumerated 'eth1' and 'eth0', respectively. Strangely, the problem went away silently and just now reappeared in OEL 5u3.

Today I am using new R11 servers from Dell, the R710 with two dual on-board Broadcom NICs as well the quad-NIC add-on from Intel. At boot, my 'eth0' seems to be what I expect it but after a reboot it becomes 'eth4'. Found an updated white paper from Dell, listing a work-around: nic-enum-whitepaper-v4.pdf.


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