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redundant switching for vmware

Posted on 2013-06-18
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Last Modified: 2013-08-13
Right now i have two vmware hosts and two NAS devices for storage of my VMs.  I would like to add a second switch to the environment to ensure the network is redundant as well.

I have just added a quad port networking card to each vm host so they have eight NICs each.

I am looking at the networking for each host and i have three vswitches setup.  vswitch0 has two physical adapters attached to it, vswitch1 has one NIC and vswitch2 has one NIC.

I am under the impression that i could add two more physical NICs to vswitch0 and plug them into a second physical switch.  I would do the same for the other two remaining NICs and vswitch1 and vswitch2.

Is there anything i need to configure within the networking settings of the hosts, or do i just plug the new NICs into a second physical switch and and assign them to the vswitches?

Any help is appreciated.  Hope this question is clear.  the goal is to have a second physical switch that will act as a backup if the primary one fails.  Thanks!
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Question by:IKtech
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asavener earned 500 total points
ID: 39257420
Yes, you can do it that way.  By default, I think the first physical NIC will be active and the others will be standby.

How many interfaces do you have on your NAS devices?
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LVL 121
ID: 39257440
You need to match the Teaming Policy to the Physical Switch configuration. You must also connect your two physical switches in a LAG configuration.

configure trunks on the switches, or etherchannel or portgroups, depends on what switches you have.

also make sure for redundancy you select a network interface, and a seperate interface on your quad network interface.

If you want to read more on networking in VMware ESX/ESXi, then I recommend the following:-

I would also recommend reading through the Networking Sections of the following guides to gain a better understanding of Networking in VMware ESX/ESXi.

Pages 13 - 73 Discuss Networking in Detail, including trunks, VLANs, switches, and load balancing

ESXi Configuration Guide ESXi 4.1
http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r41/vsp_41_esxi_server_config.pdf

Virtual Networking
http://www.vmware.com/technical-resources/virtual-networking/virtual-networks.html

Virtual Networking Concepts
http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/virtual_networking_concepts.pdf
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by:IKtech
ID: 39257528
two NICs on each NAS
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by:IKtech
ID: 39257636
@hanccocka
I have cisco switches.  Could you elaborate a little more on how to setup the LAG configuration?

Sorry i am a bit confused by what you are recommending.  Thanks!
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Expert Comment

by:asavener
ID: 39257640
OK.  If I were doing it, I'd do something like this:

NAS1
   NIC1  172.30.15.1 - Switch 1
   NIC2  172.29.15.1 - Switch 2

NAS2
   NIC1  172.30.15.2 - Switch 1
   NIC2  172.29.15.2 - Switch 2

VMHost
   vSwitch1 - 172.30.15.5 - Switch1
      NIC1 - Active
      NIC2 - Standby
   vSwitch2 - 172.29.15.5 - Switch2
      NIC3 - Active
      NIC4 - Standby


This give you multipath IO to your NAS boxes, provides redundant physical paths, and provides redundant logical paths.  It will survive almost all user errors.  (Trip over a power cable, unplug a patch cable, duplicate an IP address, etc.)
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Expert Comment

by:asavener
ID: 39257657
You do not want to use link aggregation.  VMware ESXi boxes don't support round-robin or any of the really fancy performance boosting tricks.
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by:IKtech
ID: 39257792
i have the qnap NAS NICs setup in active backup mode with only one ip address.  Do you think that will work ok or should i go with the multipath setup?
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Expert Comment

by:asavener
ID: 39257875
Yes, multipath is recommended.

MultiLINK, link aggregation, LAG, EtherChannel, whatever you want to call it, is not recommended.
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Author Comment

by:IKtech
ID: 39260160
i have included a screen shot of what my networking looks like on one of vmware hosts.

Do i need to add a second ip address for each vmkernel port on vswitch2?  I am assuming i will need to add a second ip for the vmkerel port on vswitch0 as well.

Can i use all the same subnet for the IPs including the two NICs on the storage device?

Keep in mind i have another four physical adapters to use for the host.

thanks again for the advice.
hostNetwork.PNG
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Expert Comment

by:asavener
ID: 39260310
It would be preferred not to have iSCSI and regular network traffic on the same interface.
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