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multiple ESX host network traffic

Posted on 2010-11-26
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I am looking into optimizing traffic between VM's on multiple ESX hosts, and falling a bit short in figuring out which method would work best:

Currently the majority of my company connects via Terminal Servers over a private MPLS network.  The Terminal Servers are hosted across two ESX Servers.  The majority of our main applications are hosted on a 3rd ESX server.

My Corporate office is local to the servers and runs most of the software directly from their PC's.

The Corporate office vs Branch offices (coming in over MPLS) vs Servers are all already split across a few VLAN's to help isolate traffic.

What I am looking into/wondering is if it would be possible and beneficial to look into adding another 2 port NIC card onto my ESX hosts which is designed to handle traffic from a VM on one ESX to a VM on another VM - and if it is possible to do without modifying settings on the VM's themselves.  Specifically setting up routes in the ESX hosts saying that any traffic going to specific IP's/range go over the other two NIC's.

Is that possible? Will it function? and would there be an advantage to doing this?

The connections are all currently 1GB to 1GB switches and there are 2 NIC's for the main LAN traffic.  While it doesn't seem we are saturating the network yet, at the same time going over those 2 NIC's we have all of the information going from the TS to the user, plus all of the information going from the TS to the Application server.  I ultimately want to isolate that without having to modify each of the VM's.
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Question by:americaneldercare
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lrmoore earned 500 total points
ID: 34218944
You could do this easily enough with simple routing on the VM itself and virtual dual-NIC VM's.
One virtual NIC has default gateway assigned, other Virtual NIC used specifically for TS-to-App server traffic. I would put the end user nic on one VLAN and the application server traffic on a separate vlan / ip subnet to segregate the traffic. If traffic to the application server needs to be routed, then simply add a static route to the 2nd NIC for that traffic only.
This is probably simplest method without doing something like installing the Cisco virtual switch onto the ESX host and maybe getting some advanced policy routing on the virtual switch.
I don't think you will have any luck any other way because the ESX host simply doesn't see the IP traffic coming from the VM server.
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by:americaneldercare
ID: 34218980
I had a feeling that was the answer. It is simple/easy true, but also a bit time consuming as I need to modify 20 VM's - and make sure I don't screw up any routes.  That is why I was hoping for a solution on the ESX box.

That changes the debate then to if I should just add a new NIC to the team that already exists or go for the backend routing method.
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by:lrmoore
ID: 34219013
Simplest probably just add a new NIC to the team if they are setup as etherchannel to the switch.
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