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ESXi Setup

Posted on 2011-02-22
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
Setting up new servers with ESXi 4.x
They are HP DL380 G7's with 6 NIC ports.

How should I configure the networking on these servers?

I was going to setup 4 NICs to the iSCS and 2 to the LAN.  But now I am thinking I need a vMotion / Management network also.  What is the best way to configure these, do we need a separate Management network?  
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Question by:jasonrac
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Expert Comment

by:jimmyray7
ID: 34957203
I would devote 2 to LAN, 2 to storage, and either 1 or 2 to vMotion/Management.  You could put the management on the LAN and free up a NIC for Fault Tolerance or something else.
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Assisted Solution

by:ThorinO
ThorinO earned 100 total points
ID: 34957209
I would use 2 for the VM Network/service console, 2 for the vMotion network, and 2 for the iSCSI network.

the vMotion network won't use 2 NICs at once so you won't gain much here so you could use 1 for vmotion and 1 for the service console but then vCenter will complain about redundancy for the service console.

I would create a vSwitch for each group.
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Author Comment

by:jasonrac
ID: 34957217
Should each network be physically separate switches and different networks?
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Expert Comment

by:ThorinO
ID: 34957221
That would be best or VLANed if possible
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Author Comment

by:jasonrac
ID: 34957543
Okay so let's say I have
iSCSI --> 192.168.1.0 / 24
Management --> 192.168.2.0 / 24
LAN --> 192.168.3.0 / 24

What network would the host be on?  192.168.2.0 ? And I would route traffic from my LAN to the Management?  I assume traffic between the Mgmt and LAN does not need to be at Gbps speed?  (There will be a router in the middle)

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Expert Comment

by:chkdsk01
ID: 34961104
It's ESXi, so no need to worry about service console.  Your management can be on the same as the LAN, unless you need to seperate it for security reasons.

You also will want to have at least one nic for vMotion.

Check out this article.  There are eight parts to it, but part seven (link below) goes over best ways to configure different numbers of physical nics.

http://kensvirtualreality.wordpress.com/2009/05/01/the-great-vswitch-debate-part-7/
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Author Comment

by:jasonrac
ID: 34961662
Thank you both - I read those articles last night actually and they are very helpful.

I am going to make 3 networks:
1.) iSCSI - completely separate with no router to the other networks
2.) VMWare Management / vMotion -
3.) LAN

I believe that my vCenter server should be on the VMWare Management subnet and that all my hosts should have their management IPs on the Management subnet - is that correct?

If so I will have to put a router between my Management and LAN subnets - I think that is okay b/c there should not be any significant traffic between these networks.  

Is this the correct setup?
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Accepted Solution

by:
chkdsk01 earned 400 total points
ID: 34961960
What I typically do, since there is not much management traffic, especially with ESXi, is to create four vSwitches.  One of my current environments looks like this.

1.) Management - 10.90.10.x /20 --> vlan 48
2.) Storage - 10.90.96.x /20 --> vlan 101
3.) vMotion - 10.90.65.x /20 --> vlan 66
4.) LAN - pNics are plugged into ports on vlan 48

Then my management and LAN are on the same network and vlan.  Storage is in it's own, as is vMotion.  I don't need a /20 for storage or vmotion but I kept it the same.

Since you have pNic limitations, I would suggest the following:

3 vSwitches with two pNics each

vSwitch 1 - Storage PortGroup
vSwitch 2 - vMotion Portgroup
vSwitch 3 - VM Network and Management Portgroup

This way you don't need to worry about tagging ports with multiple vlans and configuring vlans on the vmware side.  Each trunk of two ports is only in one vlan.  In addition to eliminating the need to route between MGMT and LAN.  I much prefer the KISS method and there is not much traffic on the management nics to begin with.

Also, one other thing some don't consider is when configuring a vSwitch two nics it is best to add pNics on different busses, e.g. not assigning two pNics from a dual-port nic.  Just to eliminate additional single points of failure.

Hope this helps.
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Author Comment

by:jasonrac
ID: 34962921
Thank you
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