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Number of nic ports needed to VMware Infrastructure

Posted on 2008-06-19
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Last Modified: 2010-08-05
Dear madliv,

You have written "I would try at minimum to have 4 nic ports  per server, 1 for vmotion, 1 for the service console, and the rest for the VM's to use".
I ask you:how many traffic the service console generates?
is it possible to put on 1 nic port vmotion and service console?
Thanks for your answer.
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Question by:mrmodular
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LVL 57

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by:Pete Long
Pete Long earned 110 total points
ID: 21820399
Yes it is - its possible to have 1 NIC full stop

However in a PRODUCTION envrionment its considered good practice to have the service console on its own connecion - running vmotion on its own, seperates vmotion from LAN traffic so thats obviously a bonus, and the more nics you can throw at your VMs the better (just make sure that the physical switches they plug into have LACP enabled).
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LVL 3

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by:nmv
nmv earned 50 total points
ID: 21820423
I don't know what LACP has to do with his question. LACP stands for Link Aggregation Control Protocol and is used to connect multiple switches to eachother in order to create a so-called trunk.

In order to put multiple virtual networks over 1 single NIC, your switch has to support VLAN's. You can create multiple vlans on your switch, put all of these tagged on the interface of your ESX and add the tags to your portgroup configurations.

Keep in mind that, if you want to use HA (and obviously you will, since you mention vMotion), VMware will throw you a warning (constantly) that your service console etc. needs to be on a separate vmnic. It will all work however.

Best regards,
Koen
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LVL 57

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by:Pete Long
Pete Long earned 110 total points
ID: 21820459
>>I don't know what LACP has to do with his question. LACP

Because multiple VM's on a VI3 environment are presented through multiple NIC's - this breaks normal Layer 2 conventions - if LACP is enabled, the switches are configured to accept the same MAC address traffic coming in through multiple ports (trunks)

>>In order to put multiple virtual networks over 1 single NIC

This is NOT correct VI3 can operate quite happily without using VLAN tagged/untagged traffic
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LVL 13

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Randy_Bojangles earned 90 total points
ID: 21822605
I'm with Pete on this - you do need LACP to handle the MAC address changing that multiple NICs connected to one VM will occassion to happen at the switch side

All of his above points are true - but you REALLY wouldnt want to do this in the real world!

If you're looking at Vmotion (which is cleverer again than simple HA, HA is included in standard VI3 but you need Enterprise for VMotion) then you're looking at two Licenses for VI3 Enterprise AND a license for Virtual Centre (needed for Vmotion) at which point the cost of a few bog standard Intel NICs from the HCL is really not an issue surely :-)

NB that Vmotion needs a Gigabit connection to work

Andy
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