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ESXi network configuration

Posted on 2010-11-21
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hi,

I have a machine with 2 quad core processors with 16G RAM and 2 giga bit NICs. ESX 4i is installed on this machine.
I have to deploy 6 VMs on it. I am bit confused with network configuration. I know all these VMs just need one CPU and 1-2G RAM. Please suggest best way to configure these two nics to handle the traffic interms of performance and security.

Many thanks.

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Question by:sysbase
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by:bgoering
ID: 34183183
Much depends on your physical network. If your switches are capable of VLAN trunking (or if there is no need for more than one IP subnet) just add your 2nd NIC to the existing vSwitch created during install, then under the vSwitch properties on the NIC teaming tab make both active - would recommend the IP hash load balancing method. This will give you some fault tolerance as well as more bandwidth for your virtual machine traffic.

Let us know your requirements for the vms. Are they all to be on the same network? Let us know about your physical switches. Are they VLAN capable?

Good Luck
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by:James_3
ID: 34183224
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by:sysbase
ID: 34183291
Thanks for replies guys,

At this point all VMs would be on same subnet but later on I will be spliting them on different VLANS. but I think we can manage firewall rules for individual VM IP on our hardware firewall. I mean ACLs for in-out traffic to those VMs? right?

Actually, I have all these 6 physicall old machines. These are not heavy machines, I mean can easily be managed on VMs but 2 of them are web servers which needs good response back to clients.

Would this be good to use 3 machienes 1 phycial NIC and rest 3 machienes should use other physical NIC?  or the way to load balance accross both? and if one network card/connect fails the other should response? what about service management console?

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by:James_3
ID: 34183451
The below link is very good to and covers vlans and more in depth load balancing.
http://www.tcpdump.com/kb/virtualization/vmware-esx-server/esx-nic-teaming/intro.html

If you configure the vswitch with load balancing and connect the nics to different physical switches if possible then it would all have failover if a problem were to arise. I would configure all 6 Vms to use both nics.
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Author Comment

by:sysbase
ID: 34183540
James, how would you configure all 6 VMs to use both nics? would you explain please?
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James_3 earned 167 total points
ID: 34183568
Yes,
If you configure the VSwitch on the host to use two network connections as seen here http://www.tcpdump.com/kb/virtualization/vmware-esx-server/esx-nic-teaming/vswitch-configuration.html

Then it can load balance across the two nics.
There are different options with load balancing depending if your swich supports them.
See here http://www.tcpdump.com/kb/virtualization/vmware-esx-server/esx-nic-teaming/load-balancing-methods.html
Be aware of the cpu usage on the true link aggregation method though.

Hope this helps
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by:bgoering
bgoering earned 166 total points
ID: 34183722
I would point back to my first response - one vSwitch, two physical nics.

When you installed esxi it created a vSwitch and assigned a nic to it. Use the vSphere to assign the other nic. It also created a vm network for you. I wouldn't do the link aggregation - the IP hash load balancing method provides a good balance of traffic across your nics.

Good Luck
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by:vnekic
vnekic earned 167 total points
ID: 34184807
I don't know if you ever looked at the NIC performance but 1 network card can handle all them virtuals operations with no problem.  If any of your servers are a file server (transfering heavy loads then it can be on it's own NIC.

Link Aggregation which is done at the SWITCH is another story when you start looking at load balancing.

Keep in mind the usage of that ESXi server now and in the future.
Internet connections?  SAN connections?  All these will require a seperate network.

One thing to think about in regards to mass file transfer is the source and destination.  100Mb <> 1000Mb

If you decide to do the IP hash load balancing, this will effect the performance of your ESXi system which will require the handleing of the algorithms involved and packet management.

It is very important to know what your servers will be used for.  In almost every case, your 1 single 1Gb NIC card will be more than enough to handle all the server at full speed.

An example of performance:
We have several ESXi Servers with different drive setups.  
ESXi1 has a 4 Drive SAS RAID-5 and it is connected to our primary network card (production)
ESXi1 uses the Second NIC to plug into a VLAN2 that is connected to the SAN
(VLAN2 has several ESX boxes connected to that same SAN)
(SAN has a RAID 10 - 6 Drive Setup)

In all operations, this server will barely tap the power of both of them NICs with 6 Servers on the HOST.

When we copy vmdx files to or from the SAN .. then we see close to max performance of the RAID.. not the NIC.  ESXi 1 with the RAID5 to RAID10 pushes 115MB /sec (Megabytes).

Another ESX server we have with 2 Drives in there (RAID-1) can only push about 44MB /sec

These are extreme file transfer conditions.  Most Server operations will not see this unless it's a FILE server that has HUGE files on them.  (ISO's for example)

Hope some of this helps in your setup process.
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Author Comment

by:sysbase
ID: 34187177
Thanks guys for replying me here. really appreciate that.

So I have setup one VSwitch0, 2 NIC with it. I have attached the image as well.
I have setup
Load Balancing: IP Hash

Can you guys please suggest what I should setup the rest of properties. You guys can have a look on the image too.

IP Hash and all these properties should be setup on VSwitch or VmNetwork (Virtual Machines Network)?
 Networking
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by:bgoering
ID: 34187769
What you have there looks good to me. Are you still having issues?
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