Official connection type between HOSTS and SAN in vmware

Hi experts,
we are implementing a HA environment based on vmware and two DELL hosts wit one iscsi DELL san.
We are moving from Hyper-v where we can connect directly hosts on san without switch in the middle.
Now we are looking to vmware best practices, in order to create a regular and officially supported configuration.
We cannot find the exact documentation about interconnection between HOSTS and SAN in a failover cluster with VSPHERE 6.5 (License used are ESSENTIAL PLUS)
We need to know if we can connect directly hosts to san with their nic, or we need to use a 10gb switch in the middle
For this reason we need the exact documentation reference.
Really thanks for your support, ask me for details if i was not clear
M
Mattia MinerviniAsked:
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Mark BillExchange, AD, SQL, VMware, HPE, 3PAR, FUD, Anti MS Tekhnet, Pro EE, #1Commented:
Of course direct san connected hosts are supported by vmware

what kind of connection are you using from hosts to san? what is the hba card you are using in hosts? more details on hardware being used?
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Mattia MinerviniAuthor Commented:
now we have old hosts & san dell....
directly plugged from gigabit nic Broadcom on hosts -> to gigabit nic Broadcom on san (heartbit, live migration..and so on)

We are changing hardware but configuration is the same
newer hosts & san dell has now 10gb nic instead of gigabit, always Broadcom

someone told us we MUST put a 10gb switch in the middle
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Its got nothing to do with VMware vSphere  but it is UNCONVENTIONAL to connect hosts to SAN without physical switches!

If you want a Mickey Mouse setup for your production environment go straight ahead!

Best Practice is Two physical switches for at least two storage paths for resilience and failover
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
And just to add we have only ever seen what you are proposing in Labs for test and not production.

Physical ISCSI storage switches and Dell have a few with specific functions for iSCSI e.g flow control and acknowledge

Check Dell storage advice and best practices

We have not seen a Dell document which just states connect direct with cables direct!
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Mark BillExchange, AD, SQL, VMware, HPE, 3PAR, FUD, Anti MS Tekhnet, Pro EE, #1Commented:
Lets say if you only have two production hosts in your enviroment, not really any massive benefit in having a SAN switch right?

Depends on the setup, of course for big enterprise setups SAN switches are required. Good SANs and good hosts have multiple ports and controllers which provide failover and HA for smaller setups.

What is a 10GB NIC? by NIC do you mean HBA?

Makes and models?? Servers, SANs, HBAs?

I actually disagree not having a SAN switch is mickey mouse if 2 production hosts covers all your machines IOPs etc.
Anything more than 2 hosts of course SAN switches.

I setup 10GB HBA connected SANS direct and they worked perfectly, over spec for that specific environment. They were actually also packing a 6GB HBA running a second SAN pretty flawlessly.
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Mattia MinerviniAuthor Commented:
yes nic is hba
we have 20 vm, so i think 2 hosts are enough
ok, better with a couple of 10-gigabit switch in the middle, do you know some 16 port model 10-gbe with double power supply and stack?
Thanks again!
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Mark BillExchange, AD, SQL, VMware, HPE, 3PAR, FUD, Anti MS Tekhnet, Pro EE, #1Commented:
i had 50 odd some big ones running of direct connection 10gb is fast sounds fine.

do some motoring on them and check with vendor to confirm.
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Mark BillExchange, AD, SQL, VMware, HPE, 3PAR, FUD, Anti MS Tekhnet, Pro EE, #1Commented:
i came to like dlink. good enterprise switches. by the sounds of it forest connect is fine here.
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Mark BillExchange, AD, SQL, VMware, HPE, 3PAR, FUD, Anti MS Tekhnet, Pro EE, #1Commented:
direct connect *
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Look at the Dell range of switches to support your Dell environment
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Dell N4000 series
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
A few thoughts on this if you were HAPPY in Production when using Hyper-V with direct connect to SAN

Why Question VMware vSphere usage as the way you used in Production with Hyper-V was also UNCONVENTIONAL!

So if that caused you no issues continue as is

As a Supported configuration Dell would suggest Not!

See Equallogic Site for firmware upgrades suitable for vSphere and also Multipath module you will need to install and documents on how to configure multipath and jumbo frames!
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Mark BillExchange, AD, SQL, VMware, HPE, 3PAR, FUD, Anti MS Tekhnet, Pro EE, #1Commented:
Agree on using dell switches in this environment and it is better for support for sure if using all same vendor.
However other vendors will obviously support you, and Dell will surely support your SAN regardless of the switches you are using.

Direct connect is fine here, you have multipath via two controllers and port HA in the SAN is up to scratch.
I literally dropped a controller out of a 3PAR in the middle of the day one time and nothing happened, HA wiring in place.
I could have dropped a host too.
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Mattia MinerviniAuthor Commented:
So config with SWITCH is a best practice, but is NOT MANDATORY for vmware?
Do you know switch dell 10 gbe with 8 or 16 ports?
Thanks
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Mark BillExchange, AD, SQL, VMware, HPE, 3PAR, FUD, Anti MS Tekhnet, Pro EE, #1Commented:
direct connect is fine with two hosts because once the san has 2 controllers you have HA anyway. check with vendor to be certain.

I would not even say it is not best practice. If you have more than two hosts it then becomes a requirement.
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Mark BillExchange, AD, SQL, VMware, HPE, 3PAR, FUD, Anti MS Tekhnet, Pro EE, #1Commented:
just to be more clear on why a switch would become a requirement with more than 2 hosts. usually a SAN will not have enough ports to cover direct connections to more than 2 hosts which would usually make one host useless.

You are in a decent position with 2 hosts for direct connect which would obviouspy provide a faster connection than using san switches.

Just on switches id go with Andrew or vendor for Dell switches. If i had a blank chequebook personally i would run them on a Cisco switch stacked.
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Mark BillExchange, AD, SQL, VMware, HPE, 3PAR, FUD, Anti MS Tekhnet, Pro EE, #1Commented:
also the option to add SAN switches and hosts quite easily of applicable. I must also highly recommend Dell professional services who have dug me out of several holes. Dell have all but surpassed HP now imo.
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Mattia MinerviniAuthor Commented:
with only two hosts direct connection is unconventional but affordable
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Mark BillExchange, AD, SQL, VMware, HPE, 3PAR, FUD, Anti MS Tekhnet, Pro EE, #1Commented:
its perfectly fine with expansion options quickly available on demand. ty for the solution and gl
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