Thursday, October 6, 2011

vSphere 5 Host Network Design - 10 NICs Segmented Networks

The following design is based around a converged 1GB networking infrastructure where multiple physical switches are interconnected using high speed links. All traffic is segmented with VLAN tagging for logical network separation.

All physical switch ports should all be configured to use PortFast.

Both the storage uplink ports and the virtual switch used for storage should be set to use Jumbo Frames by specifying an an MTU of 9000.

Trunking needs to be configured on all uplinks. Trunking at the physical switch will enable the definition of multiple allowable VLANs at the virtual switch layer. Management, vMotion and FT all reside on vSwitch0, multiple VM Networking VLANs reside on dvSwitch1 and all storage networks reside on dvSwitch2.

This configuration will allow up to 8 vSphere hosts and a single storage array across 2 x 48 port stacked physical switches as long as the switch interconnects are not using Ethernet ports.

An isolated storage network is still my preferred option in almost every environment. Isolating storage to a different physical network would allow up to 12 hosts to be connected across 2 x 48 port switches.

It is assumed that you will be using a separate management cluster for vCenter and associated database or that your vCenter server and database are located on physical servers.


* 1 - Distributed virtual switches require Enterprise Plus licenses. This design really calls for Ent+ licensing as the fail over policies are quite complex and manually configuring these across multiple hosts is almost guaranteed to misconfigured. I would not recommend this design for organizations that do not have access to distributed virtual switches.

* 2 - This vMotion port can be used as shown in the design or if you need a greater number of FT protected VMs then simply change this port to a FT port. Make sure to configure load balancing policies so that FT traffic does not interferer with the Management network.

* 3 - Route based on physical NIC load is a policy only available in a dvSwitch. If you do not have Ent+ then use the default policy instead.

* 4 - Datastore path selection policy is typically best set at Round Robin, but always consult the storage vendor documentation to confirm the best type to use. 

vSphere 5 - 10 NIC SegmentedNetworks Design v1.0.jpg

Comments, feedback and suggestions all welcome.

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