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DL380s with NC382i nics - iSCSI configuration/performance

Occasional Contributor

DL380s with NC382i nics - iSCSI configuration/performance

I have  a pair of DL380-G6 servers with NC382i quad nics running Server 2008r2.  Two of the nics in each server are connected to a Cisco 2960G switch which has a separate VLAN for my SAN appliances and servers.  I configured the IP addresses on the nics using Windows network properties and used the MS iSCSI Initiator to connect to my SAN devices. The storage volumes on the SAN devices appear on my servers and everything is working.  But I'm only seeing about 35-60 MB/s file transfers between Windows 7 client machines and the SAN volumes which is not as good as I had hoped (I expected around 60-80 MB/s from a gigabit SAN).  Sometimes the speed is reasonably fast at the beginning of the transfer, but steadily drops down from there.


1)  If I configure the nics using Windows, is the TOE capability of the NC382i being utilized at all?  Or do I have to configure the nics with the NCU in order to make this work?


2) If I use the NCU to set the IP addresses and identify the iSCSI targets, do I still need to use the MS iSCSI initiator?


3) What about MPIO?  Does the NCU offer something similar in terms of load balancing/fail over, or do I need to run MPIO as well?  


4) On the VLAN tab in the NCU there is a setting for VLAN id.  I already have a separate VLAN configured in my switch for SAN traffic.  Is the value in here supposed to match the VLAN number in my switch?


If there are there any other suggestions for improving network file transfer speed I'm open to anything except jumbo frames.  I can't use them because I still have a couple of older SAN appliances on the network that don't support them.  From what I've read, the benefits of jumbo frames for small SANs with a few users are minimal anyway and there seems to be a higher risk of data corruption.


Thank you for any opinions, comments, ideas.