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How to optimally configure a switch for use with servers?

Posted on 2013-05-24
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Last Modified: 2013-05-24
Hi,

I'm using an HP ProCurve 4204vl switch and our VMWare servers, our NAS and our workstations are all connected to it. I doubt though that this is the best way to do it ... shouldn't the traffic by the servers and the NAS be somewhat separated from the traffic by the workstations? Although, of course, all need to communicate with each other.

There are virtual servers on the NAS that run on the VMWare hosts: shouldn't they be connected somewhat more 'intimately' (VLANs?) ... ?

(the whole infrastructure is going to be upgraded though at some point soonish so that the VMs don't have to run on NAS anymore but on a SAN).

Thank you.
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Question by:Xeronimo
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by:BurundiLapp
ID: 39193755
Is it just your servers that require connection to your NAS?

If so then you would ideally put in a seperate switch to connect to the NAS on seperate NIC's on the VMWare Hosts.

If that isn't an option then you would VLAN off the connections to the NAS but ideally still have them on seperate NIC's to the LAN connections on the VMWare Hosts.

As for your workstations it would be best to have them on cheaper edge switches that plugging them into a core switch put of course it depends on the number of workstations you're talking about.
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by:Xeronimo
ID: 39193770
> Is it just your servers that require connection to your NAS?

Yes, although there's one server that's located in another room that needs access to it as well as a backup store (via Veeam). So I guess that's like having a workstation needing to access the NAS?

> If so then you would ideally put in a separate switch to connect to the NAS on separate NIC's on the VMWare Hosts.

So if there were two NICs on the server I'd use one to connect to that separate switch and one to connect to the main switch?

The NICs would still all have our regular IP addresses or would I need to separate it on that level as well? And is this really worth all the trouble as far as speed and reliability are concerned?

> If that isn't an option then you would VLAN off the connections to the NAS but ideally still have them on seperate NIC's to the LAN connections on the VMWare Hosts.

Ok

> As for your workstations it would be best to have them on cheaper edge switches that plugging them into a core switch put of course it depends on the number of workstations you're talking about.

About 40 workstations. They connect via a patch panel to the ProCurve.
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BurundiLapp earned 500 total points
ID: 39193797
Yes, although there's one server that's located in another room that needs access to it as well as a backup store (via Veeam). So I guess that's like having a workstation needing to access the NAS?

I'd route it through the internal cabling to connect to the LAN & NAS switches if you have enough free ports to do this.

So if there were two NICs on the server I'd use one to connect to that separate switch and one to connect to the main switch?

Yes although the ideal scenario is at least two bonded NIC ports per connection type so you would need four NIC ports, two bonded together for the LAN and two bonded together for the NAS.  It's also good practice to have multiple switches for the core LAN and Core NAS/SAN connections for failover redundancy.

The NICs would still all have our regular IP addresses or would I need to separate it on that level as well? And is this really worth all the trouble as far as speed and reliability are concerned?

Put the LAN on one IP range and the NAS on a seperate IP range to aid in routing configuration on the hosts and VM's, if you are spending the money on a proper SAN it's recommended to seperate the LAN and NAS/SAN connections from each other, the data requirements are usually different, your NIC settings may need to be different to get the setup working optimally and it becomes a problem changing settings if you are using the NIC's for multiple roles.

About 40 workstations. They connect via a patch panel to the ProCurve.

Depending on your workstation requirements you could put in 100mb desktop switches with dual gigabit uplinks to the core switches, if you need gigabit to the workstations then get another of the core switches you have and stack them together using the HP stacking modules. (i've not checked if that switch can be stacked though) and your workstations can go into that stack.

Hope that helps.
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