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iSCSI in ESXi on Dell Blades

Posted on 2011-03-04
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Does anyone have experience with Dell Blades, ESXi and iSCSI?

We are setting up a new production VMware environment. It will be Dell Blades (M710HD) connected to EqualLogic iSCSI boxes via 10GB. We have 3 options for making the iSCSI connections.

Broadcom 57711 10GB - hardware iSCSI offload, but no JumboFrames (not supported at this time)

Broadcom 57711 10GB - software iSCSI, optional JumboFrames

Intel X520 (82599) 10GB - software iSCSI, optional JumboFrames

I have both mezz cards on hand and am trying to do some testing inside of VMs using IOMeter. But, so far, nothing definitive.
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Question by:Shaktur
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paulsolov earned 125 total points
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Ensure that the cards are on the VMWAre HCL, if they are you should be ok.  

Most of the time even 1GB connections are fine.  Do you have 10GB on the SAN side? If not then it's not going to make a difference between 1GB and 10GB
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by:gheist
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Jumbo frames need to be enabled on each "vswitch" inside ESXi to make them work AT ALL
So it is better to start trying without.
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by:paulsolov
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Jumbo frames also need to be enabled on your physical switches and SAN to work effectively, otherwise you'll be clipping frames left and right
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by:gheist
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vswitch inside vmware is not jumbo-frame capable by default. so it is easier to install without jumbo frames and carefully enable them.
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by:Jaydeep_verma
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Broadcom 57711 10GB - software iSCSI, optional JumboFrames
Intel X520 (82599) 10GB - software iSCSI, optional JumboFrames

Both of them does support Jumbo frames at this point:

http://www.intel.com/support/network/sb/cs-006333.htm
http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/products/pwcnt/en/nic-broadcom-57711-mezzanine-spec.pdf

Both the cards would support Jumbo frames.     Both the adapters although are iSCSI adapters would work in conjunction with the Vmkernels configured on the ESX operating system

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by:Shaktur
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Thanks for all the input. I was really hoping to find someone with real world experience with these.

Based on our own testing, we are going with:

Intel X520 (82599) 10GB - software iSCSI, optional JumboFrames
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