How to properly configure load balencing in ESX 4i

rdefino used Ask the Experts™
I have a lab ESX4i server setup. I believe I configure the 2 nics I have for load balancing, but when I copy a 600mg file to another system it's very slow. Now I just rebuilt this esx server from scratch. It work fine before. The system I'm coping the files too has 2 1gb nics configured as teaming.  

What do I need to check to make sure I configured it correctly?


Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
Paul SolovyovskySenior IT Advisor
Top Expert 2008

Unless you have Cisco EtherChannel with trunking you are not going to get true load balancing.  It does a type of round robin and it provides failover.  The round robin is per VM.

This is two sided- most of the load balancing is per flow, even with cisco devices.  With per flow balancing when you start the file copy it is only 1 flow.  I feel obliged to say that with the management nic on esx servers (which is used for the copy) they really only use 1 of the nics for most traffic regardless of configuration.  Also realize you are using NFS for the file copy, ESXi has a funny stack for dealing with NFS that can be slower.  
Paul SolovyovskySenior IT Advisor
Top Expert 2008

namoon: Good point but with NFS I've actually had faster responce then with iSCSi, I believe most of that is due to overhead of iSCSI vs native file level througput and scsi locking.  Per flow on iSCSI has been upgraded on ESX 4 with multipath and severak vmkernel ports, so no longer do we have to deal with a max. of 1GB throughput no matter how many nics we have.

rdefino:  If it was working before take a look at the other side.  Copy the same file from a physical server to your destination, it could be several issues that are not related to ESX.
It appears you're configuring NIC Teaming for your LAN connectivity.  I would change the Load Balancing to Route Based on IP Hash within VMware and make sure your LAG configuration on the switch does not use LACP.

If you're trying to configure a type of load balancing for iSCSI, you cannot use NIC Teaming but have to enable iSCSI Multipathing.

How to Configure iSCSI Multipathing
1.Open VMware vCenter.
2.Select Host > Configuration > Networking.
3.Click Add Networking.
4.Select "Virtual Machine" to create new vSwitch for iSCSI connectivity > Next.
5.Select "Create a virtual switch" and check the box next to the VMNICs for iSCSI connectivity > Next.
6.Type a name for the new virtual switch.  (e.g.  iSCSI) > Next.
7.Click Finish.
8.Scroll down and click Properties on the newly created vSwitch.
9.Click Add button to add Service Console port.
10.Select "Service Console" > Next.
11.Type a name for the new service console port.  (e.g.  iSCSI Service Console) > Next.
12.Select "Use the following IP settings" and type an IP Address on the iSCSI network > Next.
13.Click Finish.
14.Click Add button to add first VMkernel port.
15.Select "VMkernel" > Next.
16.Type a name for the first new VMkernel port (e.g.  iSCSI VMkernel 1) > Next.
17.Select "Use the following IP settings" and type an IP Address on the iSCSI network > Next.
18.Click Finish.
19.Repeat Steps 14 to 18 to create additional VMkernel ports for each physical network adapter (VMNIC).
20.Select the first VMkernel port created and click Edit.
21.Click the NIC Teaming tab and select "Override vSwitch failover order".
22.Designate only one active adapter and move the remaining adapters to the Unused Adapters category.
23.Click OK
24.Repeat Steps 20 to 23 to map each VMkernel port to only one active adapter.  Only one active adapter can exist per VMkernel port for multipathing to function properly.
25.Identify the port names for each VMkernel port created.  (e.g.  vmk0, vmk1)
26.Using the vSphere CLI, connect each VMkernel port created to the software iSCSI initiator using the esxcli command.
27.esxcli swiscsi nic add -n  -d
(e.g. esxcli swiscsi nic add -n vmk0 -d vmhba33)
28.Repeat the esxcli command until all VMkernel ports have been connected to the software iscsi initiator.
29.Verify the VMkernel ports connections by running the esxcli command.

a.esxcli swiscsi nic list -d
(e.g.  esxcli swiscsi nic list -d vmhba33)
30.Multipathing configuration is now complete.

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial