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BL685c, Virtual Connect Flex-10, and iscsi -vShpere ESX4.x

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BL685c, Virtual Connect Flex-10, and iscsi -vShpere ESX4.x

Scott was looking for help with a customer installation:




Yes – well I am trying to help out the customer who purchased installation from a partner – not completed successfully … this is their first VMware on BladeSystem and Virtual Connect – so they are well versed in VMware but Virtual Connect Flex-10 is new – they have gone thru cookbooks and best practices and are stuck here.  They DO have VC Flex-10 and yes they have 16 NICs for sure but he did not add all of them to the server profile.  I will get a screen shot.




Nick was helping:




Hi Scott,


If they have 16 NICs to play about with I would be tempted to create multiple, dedicated vSwitches for each function, and put 2 Flex-NICs in each.




vSwitch 0

-          Service console only (as we would only have a single network mapped we do not need to put the VLAN ID into ESX)

-          Assign 1GB (100MB will do but we have plenty of bandwidth to play with)


vSwitch 1

-          vMotion only (as we would only have a single network mapped we do not need to put the VLAN ID into ESX)

-          Assign 1GB


vSwitch 2

-          Client production VLANS (production and test). As there would be multiple networks mapped in the profile we will need port groups on the vSwitch

-          Assign bandwidth as required, e.g, 8GB. I’d normally say leave it unassigned and it will get what’s left, but with 8 unused NICs the remainder will get divided up among all the NICs with no bandwidth defined within each LOM.



-          iSCSI traffic only. Again, as we would only have a single network mapped we do not need to put the VLAN ID into ESX. However, configure the 2 NICs as active/active in ESX as detailed in the “Left Hand with VMware” guide referenced earlier.

-          Assign bandwidth according to their iSCSI node network connection. If the LeftHand nodes are connected at 1GB (default) assign 1GB.


This would still leave them with 8 unused NICs, so if they wanted greater separation on the Test VLAN they could define a vSwitch dedicated to this.


When assigning the networks your customer could team the NICs across the chips, but I can’t say which connection will be which in the server profile as I haven’t seen a full height Flex-10 blade yet myself (my customers have all been  490 or 495’s). If, after creating the profile with 16 NICs, your customer assigns it to a blade they will see the LOM mapping in the right hand column.


Of course, this is not the only way to layout the network, there are lots of different ways to do it, but this is one way I would suggest.




Good info from Nick. Any other comments or suggestions all you VMware experts out there?