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Ethernet Switches & Routers

Vsphere ESX 4.x & Brocade FastIron Link-Aggregation

by gfcm on ‎04-21-2011 06:59 AM (299 Views)

Background information

How to setup a link-aggregation between a Brocade FastIron and a VMWare ESX 4.x machine based on a static trunk. The goal of this is to maximize the available bandwidth and also to create network redundancy.

Static link aggregations are, as opposed to LACP channels, always configured manually. ESX doesn’t support link-aggregation protocols like LACP so a static trunk is a must.

Equipment used

  • FastIron FCX that runs FCXS07100a.bin (Switch)

Network Diagram


Brocade Configuration

On Brocade FastIron switches static link aggregation are referred to as “trunks”.

Setting up a trunk of multiple physical interface on a Brocade FastIron is fairly easy to configure.

"trunk ethernet 1/1/5 ethernet 1/1/6"  OR "trunk ethernet 1/1/5 to 1/1/6"

You will see the following output after issuing the trunking command.

Trunk will be created in next trunk deploy.

This means that the trunk is not active right away. To finalize and activate the trunk configuration, you still need to deploy the trunk in the running-configuration. Do this by issuing the trunk deploy command.

trunk deploy

The Switch configuration is finished

ESX Configuration

It’s very important to know that on VMWare ESX the only load balancing option for vSwitch or vDistributed Switch that can be used with Link Aggregation is IP HASH!

The only thing that needs to be done on the ESX side is add two NICs to a vSwitch. That’s pretty straight forward. Just go to the “Configuration -> Networking” section with the vSphere client and click on “Add Networking”. Click on the type of networking you want to add (Virtual Machine or VMKernel) and then choose the available VMNICs that you’d like to team together. After configuring the port-group properties you’re done with the basic configuration.

Now for the Link Aggregation to operate properly, you’ll need to set the load balancing option for the vSwitch to IP HASH, instead of the default option “Route based on the originating virtual port id”.

To do this, go to Configuration –> Networking and click on the properties of the vSwitch. After that, click on edit to change the properties of the vSwitch and choose the NIC Teaming tab. You can now change the settings of load balancing property to the desired Routed Based on IP HASH value.