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Two disk controlles, 6 Nics on one server - Question from a newbie

Posted on 2014-03-25
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Last Modified: 2014-03-27
What's the purpose of having two controllers and six (three on each) NICS on a server.
Is it better I/O performance?  Is it failover in case one controller dies?
The three NICS are labeled Mgmt, Data1 and Data2
Same labeling on controller 2:  Mgmt, Data 1 and Data 2.

I'm not understanding the rationale for this.
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Question by:brothertruffle880
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:mlsbraves
ID: 39954616
My Dell EqualLogic SAN is similar and it is for both failover and performance.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:mlsbraves
ID: 39954627
In my enviroment I have stacked iSCSI switches and stacked Management Switches.

So
Controller 1:
MGMT ---> Managemnt Switch (Primary)
Data 1 ---> iSCSI Switch (Primary)
Data 2 ---> iSCSI Switch (Secondary)

Controller 2:
MGMT ---> Managemnt Switch (Secondary)
Data 1 ---> iSCSI Switch (Primary)
Data 2 ---> iSCSI Switch (Secondary)

This way if there is any failure (Managemnet Switch, iSCSI Switch, or controller) it would not disrupt service.
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LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39954818
NICs can be teamed for increased bandwidth or configured for failover in case a NIC fails OR a switch fails. In a virtual host, your VMs could have dedicated NICs with the same capabilities. And then you could use them for iSCSI connections.
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Author Comment

by:brothertruffle880
ID: 39955864
Thanks to all responses.  Very enlightening.
Question:
1.  What is the MGMT Nic for?  Managing the controller? the NIC?
2.  Is the ISCSI NIC for transferring data?
3.  How can I tell if the duplicate controllers/vnics were set up for performance or failover purpose?

Finally, is there any online class or book or youtube video that teaches a basic class in these concepts.  As you can see, I'm a newbie to these concepts.  Perhaps vendor web site?
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Accepted Solution

by:
mlsbraves earned 668 total points
ID: 39956145
Can you tell us what hardware you are using and what purpose you are using it for?

1. MGMT is for managing and configuring your device. Either through CLI or web GUI.
2. Yes iSCSI is for transferring data. Most common in SAN and NAS environment.
3. In a SAN, Duplicate Controllers will provide better performance built in, and as long as it is setup correctly in your environment will provide failover and optimal performance.

Need more info on how you are setup to provide the best documentation for your situation. Is this a new setup or an existing one?
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Expert Comment

by:compdigit44
ID: 39957619
You would would like you could upload screen shots of your Vm setup so experts can give detailed responces for you.
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LVL 56

Assisted Solution

by:andyalder
andyalder earned 1332 total points
ID: 39959015
It's clear from the question that you are describing an iSCSI SAN storage device, not a server.

Your iSCSI storage box has two iSCSI host ports per controller plus a management port for telnet/web access. It probably has a serial port on each controller too since you have to have some method of setting the management IP address to start with.

The two controllers provide high availability, so long as all paths are optimal you can remove one controller for maintenance. Load balancing is normally per disk group or per LUN, would have to know what make it is to confirm that.

You should have two physical switches dedicated to iSCSI (in some cases you may use VLANs on shared switches but there should still be two of them for redundancy. It should be cabled so that both controllers connect to both switches, then  there should be a cable from each switch to each servers iSCSI ports.

Is there a maker's name on the front?
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LVL 56

Assisted Solution

by:andyalder
andyalder earned 1332 total points
ID: 39959036
Here's a fairly typical iSCSI SAN storage box. You can see the two host ports, the management port, the serial port (round jack plug on this particular one) and a 4-lane SAS port for additional disk shelves.iSCSI storage
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Author Comment

by:brothertruffle880
ID: 39959353
Thanks Everyone!   This is very useful information.
I can't give any more information because I don't have any.  The VM people are in a different location and I'm merely being fed sparse data to create Visio diagrams.  However, I wanted to have some understanding of what I'm doing. Thus, my questions.
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LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 39959379
If you're creating Visio diagrams what template are you using for this? The templates normally have the maker's name as the folder name and the machine name as the template name. If you create a new Visio with just this box on it and save as .JPG you could upload it and we might recognise it. That way you don't give away any confidential info.
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