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Are these viable designs for NIC teaming on UCS C-Series?

Is this a viable design on ESXi 5.1 on UCS C240 with 2 Quad port nic adapters?

Option A) VMware NIC Teaming with load balancing of vmnic interfaces in an Active/Active configuration through alternate and redundant hardware paths to the network.

Option B) VMware NIC Teaming with load balancing of vmnic interfaces in an Active/Standy By configuration through alternate and redundant hardware paths to the network.

Option A:

Option A.png

Option B:

Option B.png

Thanks.

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions
Bronze

Are these viable designs for NIC teaming on UCS C-Series?

No.  It really comes down to what Active/Active means and the type of upstream switches.  For ESXi NIC teaming - Active/Active load balancing provided the opportunity to have all network links be active for different guest devices.  Teaming can be configured in a few different methods.  The default is by virtual port ID where each guest machine gets assigned to an active port and then also a backup port.  Traffic for that host would only be sent on one link at a time.

For example lets assume 2 Ethernet Links and 4 guests on the ESX host.  Link 1 to Switch 1 would be active for Guest 1 and 2 and Link 2 to Switch 2 would be backup for Guest 1 and 2.  However Link 2 to Switch 2 would be active for Guest 3 and 4 and Link 1 to Switch 1 would be backup for guest 1 and 2. 

The following provides details on the configuration of NIC teaming with VMWare:

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1004088

There are also possibilities of configuring LACP in some situations, but there are special hardware considerations on the switch side as well as the host side.

Also keep in mind that the vSwitch does not indiscriminately forward broadcast/multicast/unknown unicast out all ports.  It has a strict set of rules that prevents it from looping.  It is not a traditional L2 forwarder so loops are not a consideration in an active/active environment. 

This document further explains VMWare Virtual Networking Concepts.

http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/virtual_networking_concepts.pdf

Steve McQuerry

UCS - Technical Marketing

3 REPLIES
Bronze

Are these viable designs for NIC teaming on UCS C-Series?

Yes both of these would be valid designs with the Quad Port Ethernet adapters.  The active/active, active/standby configuration is a component of ESXi networking configuration and nothing special is required on the hardware side other than the fact that the controllers need to be on the VMWare Hardware Compatibility List.  The Quad Port adapters sold by Cisco for use in the C240 are on the VMWare HCL.

Steve McQuerry

UCS - Technical Marketing

New Member

Are these viable designs for NIC teaming on UCS C-Series?

smcquerr,

But if I have Active/Active on alternate hardware paths to the network (2 different switches), wouldn't that cause problems with Spanning Tree?

Bronze

Are these viable designs for NIC teaming on UCS C-Series?

No.  It really comes down to what Active/Active means and the type of upstream switches.  For ESXi NIC teaming - Active/Active load balancing provided the opportunity to have all network links be active for different guest devices.  Teaming can be configured in a few different methods.  The default is by virtual port ID where each guest machine gets assigned to an active port and then also a backup port.  Traffic for that host would only be sent on one link at a time.

For example lets assume 2 Ethernet Links and 4 guests on the ESX host.  Link 1 to Switch 1 would be active for Guest 1 and 2 and Link 2 to Switch 2 would be backup for Guest 1 and 2.  However Link 2 to Switch 2 would be active for Guest 3 and 4 and Link 1 to Switch 1 would be backup for guest 1 and 2. 

The following provides details on the configuration of NIC teaming with VMWare:

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1004088

There are also possibilities of configuring LACP in some situations, but there are special hardware considerations on the switch side as well as the host side.

Also keep in mind that the vSwitch does not indiscriminately forward broadcast/multicast/unknown unicast out all ports.  It has a strict set of rules that prevents it from looping.  It is not a traditional L2 forwarder so loops are not a consideration in an active/active environment. 

This document further explains VMWare Virtual Networking Concepts.

http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/virtual_networking_concepts.pdf

Steve McQuerry

UCS - Technical Marketing

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