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Casey WeaverFlag for United States of America

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Home Network revised. Need help arranging network with VLANs / loops

Good evening!

I'm a guy who likes to get involved in deep projects to learn and do better and I'm undergoing an aggressive overhaul of my home network and need an education on making this all work. It may not make much sense but please bare with my terribly drawn Paint diagram of my proposed network.

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VM Node: An ESXi 4.1 (eventually 5.1) box hosting several VMs.

CIFS Storage: A Nexenta Storage array that is doing CIFS and NFS file shares. The Storage Array and VM Node are linked with Infiniband SRP for LUN storage, no iSCSI over the network is needed right now or planned.

Desktop. Standard desktop with 2 network interfaces.

Assorted Devices: Standard home stuff. A networked printer, Wii, Xbox 360, other home entertainment devices.

Router: Asus RT-N56U (Dual-band Wireless N and 4-port Gigabit switch and Gigabit WAN). Access Point hosts all wifi devices in the house like laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.

Modem: Motorola Surfboard 6120.. Not really important here?

So the way I see it I need these functions on the network:

Management. I need to access the IPMI interfaces on the servers as well as the Eaton UPS management interface. These will be done over separate management links (not pictured in the diagram)

Storage Access: This is for the 9K Jumbo frames interfaces. I want all hard-wired multi-interface devices to be able to access the storage array and VM nodes via 9K Jumbo frames. This basically means the VM Node, CIFS node, the Desktop, and the future HTPC need to be able to access the VM node and the CIFS / NFS node via the 9K interface.

Device / Storage Access: All the other devices need to be able to access the storage array over general traffic, which is the 1.5K MTU interfaces.

So lets say VLAN 10 is general traffic, VLAN 20 is storage traffic (9K MTU), and VLAN 50 is Management. Just general examples.

PowerConnect 2724's (planned switch of choice) are not Layer 3 capable, for that I would have to step up to the 6024. So basically the router would have to do any routing between VLANs. I am not really interested in network segregation (this is just an advanced home setup). The reason mainly for VLANs is for different MTU sizes between the storage and and general traffics.

So the 9K MTU VLAN does not need internet access. My question is do I need to do any configuration on the router to have the multiple VLANs to exist? Can I just set static IPs on the 9K MTU interfaces and access them by IP address or does there need to be a gateway? If there needs to be, is there any way to have the router serve as a central gateway? (Ignoring the security hazards of such a setup). If you had your drothers, how would you configure the network? I am pretty well versed in storage systems and virtualization (hence the VM and storage array) but am not super advanced in networking so I am looking to learn.

Share your knowledge with me guys :) Is there anything I'm missing or should look at differently? This network is not yet implemented so feel to go wild. I do not see myself spending an extreme amount of money (hence one generation old Dell gigabit switch equipment), but if my life would somehow be made easier by a Layer 3 + Layer 2 switch combo I could do a 6024 + 2724 setup. There could be many things I missed (not being a huge network guy) so if there is *please* don't hesitate to ask for clarification! Thanks guys!
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Hey CiscoDawg,

I appreciate the answer! It looks like you're saying exactly which I didn't *want* to steer towards, which was Layer 3 switching, or at least partial Layer 3 functions. I only say that because I fear my own lack of understanding of layer 3 switching. I suppose that's another issue for me to learn though!

I was trying to wrap my head around your middle paragraph as that has the "meat" of the points you're trying to make. By NetMgmt VLAN do you mean the "VLAN 50" (Or lets even say the standard 4195) I was using as an example in my first post to link the management links of my devices together? Or are you referring to something else?

When you get into Layer 3 switching, do you create separate VLANs in the Layer 3 space and the Layer 2 Space? As I understood it, VLANs operate at layer 2 and then you can have special switches route at Layer 3 correct? So what do you mean by using a Layer 3 VLAN vs a Layer 2 VLAN? I understand I'm probably just misunderstanding the way you're stating it.

For my network needs, is there any reason why I would need a separate DHCP and DNS server? The 1.5K MTU devices would need to be able to access the internet. Only the 9K interfaces would not need internet access. Wouldn't that still go to the router for its gateway? I had see the SG300-10, but I need more ports, and the swtiches are very expensive. I understand you're probably more knowledgeable about the Cisco stuff, I just understand that I need very few features. The GUI of the Cisco seems really well laid out. I had been looking at the Dell PowerConnect 6024 or the ProCurve 2610-24. Now where I work the devices with the most problems by far are the ProCurves, but I doubt I will be loading any of the switches that heavily for too long at least, so I was considering using them as a cheap learning tool.

Additionally, in my researching I had come across this guy doing similar things with Cisco 300s.

Can you tell me what issues he was coming across with that required a separate router? I'm not sure I understand why he needed static routes from the router back to the switch. Isn't that what the Layer 3 switch is supposed to help prevent?

Thank you for your time!
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I have an example drawn out for layout and configuration that details most of the key points needed. Hopefully that makes things a little clearer for the layout you could use.

For the NetMgmt Vlan I was suggesting a vlan to use to manage all of the network gear separately if that is possible on them. Its not needed, but merely a nice extra, they could use the main mgmt network you are going to use for the servers as well.

A Layer 3 vlan is one that has an interface IP defined so it can be routed in or out.  A layer 2 vlan is a vlan that only connects everything in it, it does not route outside of that. Perfect for only your storage to connect on.

DHCP and DNS do not have to be separate.  As indicated on my diagram I show one AD server doing all of that.

The one guy's issue was his internet modem was also his router, which he had no control over.  So he added his own in.

Hope this clears things up.  Thanks
I apologize for taking so long to get back, I've been doing a lot of reading up so that I don't look too silly while I keep asking questions!

I've been looking over what you posted and it clears a lot of things up. I wanted to ask another question in the setup you posted as it has to do with routing. Now I don't want to look *too* silly, but I ask, using something like static routes, can the router (layer 3 device), provide the inter-vlan routing but route the data over directly connected switch interfaces? This, in my mind is something like a triangle, with each switch having a trunk uplink to the router for vlan routing, but a LAG in between themselves for the static route to direct data between the switches. Or perhaps a single link from one switch would be better to prevent some sort of routing loop? This is my ignorance in this showing here.

The reason I ask, is because While looking at Layer 3 options, I noticed I could get an old Cisco 1721 router with a WIC-4ESW for maybe about $60-70 all involved. This would have multiple benefits, including getting my feet wet in Cisco networking, as well as providing full layer 3 capabilities beyond what I would get with a Layer "2+" or basic Layer 3 switch. If this setup would work then I could just put the RT-N56U on the layer 2 switch as an access point. The 1721 by default wouldn't have enough bandwidth over its 10Mbit inferface, but with the WIC-4ESW, it would have enough to handle inter-vlan routing information and whatever came downstream from the internet.

Does this make sense? Is this triangle design possible or am I misunderstanding some crucial part of how routing works? As long as the router doesn't have to handle the traffic itself I don't see where it would be an issue to use an older device.

Thanks for your help!
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Thanks for all of your help, this has gotten me off to a great start! :)
This has given me a great start, thank you so much for your patience in getting this sorted out :)