vSphere vNetwork

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  • 1.  network design suggestions

    Posted Oct 13, 2009 09:10 PM

    Hi all,

    We are designing a new VMware environment with three IBM ESX 4 hosts, a physical server acting as the VCenter server, and the vmdk files for the VMs will live in a Dell Equallogic PS6000E connected via iSCSI. Our IBM consultant said we should have 4 networks, they are

    Service Console



    iSCSI Storage

    The switches we are looking to use are Nortel 4548GT-PWR. A couple questions are (and bare with me, I am just getting my head wrapped around all this).....

    1.) Has anyone used these switches? Any pros and/or cons or suggestions?

    2.) Of the above 4 networks, which should be redundant (across 2 or more physical switches)? I would think the vmNetwork and the iSCSI Storage network are a must.

    3.) How many physical switches should we get? 2, 3, maybe 4? I know the Equallogic takes up 6 ports (3 across each switch) and each ESX hosts will have up to possibly 8 connections I believe (4 across 2 different switches) so thats a total of 24 ports + whatever ports our NetBackup Enterprise server and the VCenter need to use to connect..

    4.) What network would be used for backups? We use NetBackup Enterprise 6.5.3 . As some background, in the past we have tested VCB, for some VMs we would just install an agent.... the new Data Recovery option from VMWare looks interesting too as a replacement for VCB..... not sure which is best.

    Any suggestions you could offer would be greatly appreciated :smileyblush:

    Take care,


  • 2.  RE: network design suggestions

    Posted Oct 13, 2009 09:21 PM

    In a perfect world, I would consider the following:

    2 pNICS for Service Console and VMotion

    2 pNICS for SAN SC and iscsi

    2 pNICs for vmNetwork

    As for the SAN, the more ports you add the more bandwidth you'll allow. The number of ports is dependent on your application and utilzation levels.

  • 3.  RE: network design suggestions

    Posted Oct 13, 2009 09:51 PM

    For the Nortel 4548GT-PWR I never user them I prefer to user Cisco switches , maybe ther are more expensive but still the preferable one, you will need 3 switches , each NIC in IBM server will be connected to diffrent switch , for example if you have NIC1 you asign it to service consol , in each server you will have NIC1 in each server asign to service consol and each NIC connected to different switch.

    Of course if you can assign 2 NICs to each service that will be good , but if you have only 4 NICs and there is no way to add more , you can do this ,

    NIC1 ( SC with Vmotion)

    NIC2 + NIC3 (vmNetwork)

    NIC4 (iSCSI Storage)

    But in real world , you should have at least 2 NICs in each service , for minimum 6 NICs.

  • 4.  RE: network design suggestions

    Posted Oct 16, 2009 02:02 PM

    First of all i suggest you to purchase 2 multi-nic card with 4 interface and to devide each service on different card. (This for fault tollerance)

    I think you need:

    1 Group of 2 interface for Service Console and Vmotion

    1 Group of 2 intercace for Iscsi (but EQP6000 has 4 intercace for each controller so you can consider to upgrade to 4 interface on each node for iScsi)

    1 Group of 2 intercace for vmNetwork but this depend on how many virtual machine you run on each node

    1 Group of 2 interface for vmNetwork for DMZ uses (I suggest you to phisically separate DMZ and LAN traffic)

    Remember that is important to use interface card with TOE Capabilities.