Pin Traffic - VMFEX

Answered Question
May 15th, 2012

When creating the Dynamic vNIC Connection Policy I note the option “Protection” in which you can preference FabA or FabB, however, this is for the entire DVS, correct?

If I want for example a VMotion Port-Profile with ALL traffic switched locally on FabA with failover to FabB, how can this be achieved? Can Pin Groups still be used with VMFEX??

I have this problem too.
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Correct Answer by Jeremy Waldrop about 1 year 11 months ago

I recommend placing vMotion and Management vmkernel interfaces on standard a vSwitch and use the VM-FEX for VM networking only. VM-FEX and Nexus 1000v are really designed as VM networking access switches and not physical host access switches.

Our standard config for UCS is this:

  1. vmnic0 and vmnic1 - uplinks on standard vSwitch0 and used for Management vmkernel, QoS applied for silver class
  2. vmnic2 and vmnic3 - uplinks on standard vSwitch1 and used for vMotion vmkernel, vmnic2 is active and vmnic3 is standby. This forces vMotion to stay on one fabric interconnect or the other. QoS applied for bronze class
  3. vmnic4 and vmnic5 - uplinks to either a VMware Distributed switch, Nexus 1000v or VM-FEX. QoS applied for Platinum class

If IP storage is in the mix then we create 2 additional vmnics for that using the Platinum class

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Correct Answer
Jeremy Waldrop Tue, 05/15/2012 - 03:33

I recommend placing vMotion and Management vmkernel interfaces on standard a vSwitch and use the VM-FEX for VM networking only. VM-FEX and Nexus 1000v are really designed as VM networking access switches and not physical host access switches.

Our standard config for UCS is this:

  1. vmnic0 and vmnic1 - uplinks on standard vSwitch0 and used for Management vmkernel, QoS applied for silver class
  2. vmnic2 and vmnic3 - uplinks on standard vSwitch1 and used for vMotion vmkernel, vmnic2 is active and vmnic3 is standby. This forces vMotion to stay on one fabric interconnect or the other. QoS applied for bronze class
  3. vmnic4 and vmnic5 - uplinks to either a VMware Distributed switch, Nexus 1000v or VM-FEX. QoS applied for Platinum class

If IP storage is in the mix then we create 2 additional vmnics for that using the Platinum class

NaelShahid_2 Tue, 05/15/2012 - 09:28

Thanks for the response Jeremy.... Makes perfect sense, I had been told that you could not mix VMFEX with standard VMware switches (I did doubt this as I have used this mixture with none UCS + 1000v configs in the past)...

A few questions if you don’t mind:

1. In your config are you using fabric failover with the vmnics? – If so could you use 1 vmnic with each vswitch (suppressing the error from ESX re mgmt redundancy)

2. Would vmnics4/5 be added to the VMFEX DVS once the DVS has been configured and sent down to vCentre?

3. Are you applying QoS to the VMFEX Port-Profiles for standard VM networking?

4. I have read (somewhere!) that the uplinks on the VMFEX DVS are cosmetic and are not actually used to forward traffic, but more to keep vcentre happy... Not sure if this is true, however, it would also make sense. If this is the case then in the VMFEX world QoS on the uplink vmnics would have no affect and hence applying QoS to the VMFEX Port-Profiles for VM networking??? – Can you clarify this for me?

## Please note, the reason I am looking to use VMFEX is to allow the use of PVLANs on a common backup LAN ###

Lastly, I enjoyed the UCS TrainSignal stuff, very good indeed...

Regards

Jeremy Waldrop Wed, 05/16/2012 - 04:03

Yes, you can have an ESXi host with some NICs on a standard vSwitch and some on DVS.





  1. No, I do not use fabric failover with VMware vNICs. I do with Windows/Linux though
  2. Yes, only vmnic4/5 would be added to the DVS
  3. Yes, I usually use the gold QoS class for VM networking
  4. Yes, with ESXi 5 hypervisor bypass mode is an option. This is where all switching happens on the Fabric Interconnect.
NaelShahid_2 Wed, 05/16/2012 - 05:28

Thanks again.

So with VMFEX (none high perf mode) are the uplinks on the FEX DVS cosmetic? IE. VM traffic does not pass these uplinks and instead go direct to the FIs?

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Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:02 AM
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