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Flex 10, Virtual Connect, Windows 2008 R2, Network Path Failure Detection Issue.

Ian Mann
Occasional Visitor

Flex 10, Virtual Connect, Windows 2008 R2, Network Path Failure Detection Issue.

I am looking for information regarding Network Teaming and Path Failure Detection in a Tunneled mode of operation using Multiple Network Uplinks. I have found that Smartlink does not correctly signal the failure of an uplink to the associated Server downlink when multiple uplinks are employed using Flex 10 technology. If I use a single uplink for either the 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d or 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d Smartlink works fine. There seems to be no documentation or information of any quality available from HP or the wider Internet communities. The Older Network Teaming Utility had a feature called Fast Path, which was enabled by the INP License. This feature was withdrawn sometime ago, but probably would have resolved my issue with path failure detection using Community Address ARP and echo Node probe packets. I am struggling to find an HP expert that can help bottom out how I can successfully implement NIC redundancy for Windows 2008 R2 Data Centre, Hyper-V Clusters and support up to 170 VLANs to the V-Switch and using Flex 10. I would like to implement 4 x NFT teams as follows all tunneled. 1a - 2a Public Network V-Switch (Limited to 64 VLANs by the HP Team). 2a - 2b Management Network (1 x VLAN). 1c - 2c Heartbeat (1 x VLAN). 1d - 2d Backup and Live Migration (4 x VLANs - one for Live Migration, one for DPM based backup and two for legacy backup VLANs to support existing Netbackup agents on Migrated VM's. I have already discounted using Mapped / Managed VLANs due to the limitation of only being able to support 28 VLANs per server profile. I can potentially consolidate some of the VLANs and get them to fit into the 64 VLAN limit imposed by the NCU Team, but it would be absolutely impossible to shrink them down to 22 in the V-Switch on 1a - 2a. If any one has any thoughts or solution then let me know.
4 REPLIES
Ian Mann
Occasional Visitor

Re: Flex 10, Virtual Connect, Windows 2008 R2, Network Path Failure Detection Issue.

I made a small mistake with the information above. The Management Network should have read 1b - 2b Management Network (1 x VLAN).
Additionally VMWare have a solution called Beacon Probing in ESX and V-Sphere, which can detect path failures with Flex 10 NIC's and mutiple uplinks. Consulting with Microsoft earlier today revealed that Microsoft do not have any mechanisms to detect Network failures and rely solely on the Hardware Vendors Solution. In HP's case this is Teaming.
Ian Mann
Occasional Visitor

Re: Flex 10, Virtual Connect, Windows 2008 R2, Network Path Failure Detection Issue.

Here is a little more information of what I am attempting to build from a Virtual Connect configuration perspective.

Active / Active
Tuinneled Mode

Uplinks / VNets
Enc 0, Bay 1, Port X2 = VSwitchA (10Gb connected to Core Switch A)
Enc 0, Bay 1, Port X3 = BackupA (10Gb connected to Core Switch A)
Enc 0, Bay 1, Port X4 = SUSAManagementHB (1Gb connected to Core Switch A), Containing 2 x Networks VLAN166A and VLAN167A
Enc 0, Bay 2, Port X2 = VSwitchB (10Gb connected to Core Switch B)
Enc 0, Bay 2, Port X3 = BackupB (10Gb connected to Core Switch B)
Enc 0, Bay 2, Port X4 = SUSBManagementHB (1Gb connected to Core Switch B) Containing 2 x Networks VLAN166B and VLAN167B

Cluster Hyper-V Blade Profile
Flex NIC 1a = VSwitchA (This Interface Needs to Carry up to 64 VLANs)
Flex NIC 2a = VSwitchB (This Interface Needs to Carry up to 64 VLANs)
Flex NIC 1b = VLAN166A from SUSAManagementHB (1 x VLAN only)
Flex NIC 2b = VLAN166B from SUSBManagementHB (1 x VLAN only)
Flex NIC 1c = VLAN167A from SUSAManagementHB (1 x VLAN only)
Flex NIC 2c = VLAN167B from SUSBManagementHB (1 x VLAN only)
Flex NIC 1d = BackupA (This interface needs to carry 4 x VLANâ s)
Flex NIC 2d = BackupB (This interface needs to carry 4 x VLANâ s)

At the host OS level we will have four NFT with preference order teams with two NICâ s in each teamed as follows.
1a â 2a = VSwitch (Tagged with 64 VLANs)
1b â 2b = Management (Tagged with VLAN 166)
1c â 2c = Heartbeat (Tagged with VLAN 167)
1d â 2d = Backup_LiveMigration (Tagged with 4 VLANs)

The Tags on the VSwitch and Backup teams will then be replicated in each nodes VSwitch.

Interestingly the latest VC Ethernet cookbook does not have a scenario for Tunneled mode and multiple uplinks (VNets) with Flex 10, but appears to have every other imaginable scenario.
I am still looking for help or avise with this if anyone can help then please feel free to post a response.
Ian Mann
Occasional Visitor

Re: Flex 10, Virtual Connect, Windows 2008 R2, Network Path Failure Detection Issue.

There is a known issue listed in the 2.30 Virtual Connect FW release notes, which states "For Server and I/O interconnect hardware changes involving adding or removing Flex 10 functionality, the profile assigned to the server or server bay must be removed, all hardware changes performed and the profile reassigned. Otherwise indeterminate network operations may result. We are running Version 2.31 and can confirm that when modifying VNets and uplinks the profile has to be unassigned and reassigned so that Smartlink will work and signal changes from Uplinks to Downlinks are correctly propogated. We have now tested the above configuration and everything works perfectly with each individual Flex NIC going down or up as expected. NFT and NFT with preference order also fails back to the desired NIC once the path is restored. We are using NCU Version 9.80.0.5, Team Driver Ver 9.80.1.0 (cpqteam.sys), NIC Driver Version 5.0.13.0, VBD Driver Version 5.0.32.0, NIC FW = Boot Agent 5.0.17, Boot Code 5.0.11 on all 8 x Flex NIC's and iSCSI FW Version 3.1.5 from the Online Firmware Update Utility Version 2.1.5.5.
Ian Mann
Occasional Visitor

Re: Flex 10, Virtual Connect, Windows 2008 R2, Network Path Failure Detection Issue.

Smartlink works perfectly with Tunneled mode with multiple Uplinks and VNets.
Ian Mann 17-Jan-2010.