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Re: VSA ESX Multiple PNIC's

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Frequent Advisor

VSA ESX Multiple PNIC's



Is there a best practice for VSA's and multiple PNIC's?


My setup is as follows:


5x ESX Host, Each with 1 PNIC for Management, and 2 PNIC's for VSA Node.

Each host is dedicated to one VSA node.

2x Dedicated ISCSI switches with each host having one PNIC connected to each switch.


When the VSA node is started it seems to just pick one of the PNIC's and stick with it.  Is there a recommneded load balancing setting that works well with this scenario so that I can make use of both PNIC's?




Regular Advisor

Re: VSA ESX Multiple PNIC's

Are you using etherchannel and ip-hash load balancing?


Frequent Advisor

Re: VSA ESX Multiple PNIC's

No, my switches are not stacked so I cannot use etherchannel.


Re: VSA ESX Multiple PNIC's

Hi Dan,

your connection is the best. Unfortunately it is not possible to setup better.

Because HP VSA doesn't support bond, you can forget about load balancing.

Two and more physical network adapters will always work in failover mode only,

i.e. all trafic will proceed over one pNIC only,

exactly how you can see in your VMware ESXi Performance Tab.


I tried to setup two vNICs in VSA too but without positive result.


Because SanIQ deamon listened on one interface only

and only over this SanIQ interface flows all traffic.


HP VSA is the slowest solution in the world.

Competition, for example StorMagic SvSAN or Open-e DSS allows bonding of interface

therefore load balancing too.

Open-source as OpenFiler, FreeNAS, NAS4Free, NexentaStor etc. support link aggregation,

only HP VSA not.

If you don't have 10gigabit physical NIC, with HP VSA you will never get higher speed than gigabit

i.e. 100MBps, practically even less.


I hope that HP will allow bond in any future version,

sooner the better, since without this feature is HP VSA "very" slow...


Hi 5y53ng.

Ip-hash or any another external link agregation is not solution for higher throughput.

Balancing over multiple NICs work only when more source IP generate requests on more destination IP.

Many IP to one IP connections over multiple NICs is not supported,

or otherwise: many source connection sessions to one destination uses always only one NIC.

And one VSA has only one destination IP.


Regular Advisor

Re: VSA ESX Multiple PNIC's



Sure, one IP to one IP will only utilize a single pNIC, but there are multiple IP addresses in an iSCSI network, so multiple physical NICs can certainly be utilized simultaneously. The VSAs are in a cluster communicating with each other and you also have to consider there is more than one host, MPIO, and gateway load-balancing.


Using IP hash load-balancing the pNIC used can predicted for any given outbound flow. XOR the source and destination IP addresses and calculate the modulus using the number of pNICs as the denominator. Careful consideration should be given to the IP scheme used on the iSCSI network to ensure the physical NICs will be used evenly.


I have seen a single VSA utilize a 2 Gbps etherchannel at 100% for sustained periods of time.


Regular Advisor

Re: VSA ESX Multiple PNIC's



Unforunately without ip hash or bonding there's nothing you can do to try and utilize both pNICs.