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Best VMWare Server Set up

Posted on 2010-03-28
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Last Modified: 2012-05-09
We are looking at vitalizing our environment using
VSphere 4 enterprise. 3 X HP DL380 G6 dual 4 core (48GB RAM) with LeftHand P4500 10.8TB iSCSI storage. Probably run 10 guests per Host so plenty of power for machines. Configure servers as a load balanced HA cluster. My question/s are;

How many NICS should I use per machine? Should use something like the HP NC380T NIC? Does VMWare support this
What’s the best iSCSI switch config – i.e. jumbo frames, separate network, how do I obtain best throughput? Should I separate iSCSI from rest of network if so how?

Appreciate several questions
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Question by:boomerbostock
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by:bleeuwen
ID: 28953479
Separate ISCSI from the rest off the network. Calculate which throughput you need (10 GBps?). Use dedicated network cards with TOE for it.
Use different nic's for different networks. 1 for Service console, and one for Vmotion. Then at least two for production.
Check your hardware on the following page: http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php
The NIC you want to use isn't on the list off ESX4, on 3.5 it is.
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coolsport00 earned 2000 total points
ID: 28984886
Sounds like you have a good setup. For NIC compatibility, you can verify with VMware's Hardware Compatibility List:
http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php
(BTW...yes, it looks like VMware does support the NC380T NIC; performed a lookup on the I/O tab:
http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php?action=search&deviceCategory=io&productId=1&advancedORbasic=advanced&maxDisplayRows=50&key=&datePosted=-1&partnerId%5B%5D=41&ioTypeId%5B%5D=6&manufacturer%5B%5D=-1&vid=&did=&svid=&ssid=&rorre=0).

For iSCSI, I recommend looking at the config guide (http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r40_u1/vsp_40_u1_iscsi_san_cfg.pdf). It will provide best practices, which will also depend on your goals and org requirements.

Yes, I would separate your storage (iSCSI) from your VM and VMotion traffic, if you have the budget to do so (just more NICs added). I would have 1 NIC assigned for the Sevice Console and VM traffic and use another NIC as a 'failover' in case of the 'active' NIC fails. You can see the ESX Config Guide for Networking best practices as well (http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r40_u1/vsp_40_u1_esx_server_config.pdf).

Regards,
~coolsport00
~coolsport00
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by:coolsport00
ID: 28985070
BTW...yes, "bleeuwen" is correct in the NIC compatibility...only for 3.5, not 4 :(
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by:vmwarun - Arun
ID: 29006045
Alternatively, you can team all the NICs present in the host into a single vSwitch and configure Route based on IP Hash, configure Etherchannel at the physical switch level and use VLANs to segregate the Service Console, Virtual Machine & iSCSI Traffic.

With respect to Jumbo Frames, IMHO configure it only if you have a specific requirement.
Please note that each and every equipment in the Network should support Jumbo Frames else you will have problems.
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by:bleeuwen
ID: 29007182
Doesn't the G6 has standard 4 nic's embedded on it? This should be enough for initial setup of your ESX (2 for production, two for service console/vmotion), otherwise you could put an extra dual or quad nic card in it to get the extra nic's you maybe want. Also put two ISCSI nic in it (failover & performance).
If you have 3 HP machines, try to get HA and DRS for failovers and resource scheduling (n+1 for failover).
Is the lefthand with 1 or 10 GB ISCI host port interface?
Maybe you can get best practices from : http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vi3_iscsi_cfg.pdf (although it is for ESX 3) or http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r40/vsp_40_iscsi_san_cfg.pdf for ESX 4
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