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my small design is based on 2xXenServer DL120 G6 with 4x1Gbe ports and 1xMSA P2000 G3 with 4x1Gbe Ethernet ports (it has another controller as well but will not be used now). 5 VM machines running with no disastrous load avg. iSCSI as storage connection used.

Possibility 1:
2x1 GBe ports of XenServer1 connected to 2ports of MSA, and another 2x1Gbe ports of XenServer2 connected to MSA as well to the same controller.

Possibility 2:
2x1Gbe ports from XenServer1 and 2x1Gbe ports from XenServer2 connected to cisco switch, and all 4 ports of MSA connected to cisco as well.

My questions:
1) What will be maximal throughput to each server in both possibilities? Is it possible to set some kind of bonding on MSA so there will 4gbps towards the switch?
2) Does the XenServer support this kind of load balancing with NIC bonding ?
3) What is necessary to set on Cisco in case of second possibility ?


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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Given the small number of host machines and the specific model of P2000 you have I would strongly recommend you use its Fibre-Channel ports instead of trying to team the 1Gb iSCSI ports - it'll be much faster. You'll just need to pick up a couple of QLogic or Emulex 4Gb FC HBAs (I personally like HP part numbers A8002A and A8003A, but shop around for generic ones).

As for the idea of bonding, I can't find anything in the documentation to suggest it does it and even if it could there's no certainty you'd see >1Gbps of throughput over that trunk to a single host anyway.

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Ok but what I see, is that the price of Emulex or Qlogic is appr. the same as the HP original part.. Why the heck are those things so expensive :) So do you think I can use those HBA in full extent when the server is of quite low-end style ? CPU/mem. etc. – John Feb 7 '11 at 14:04
Yeah, I can't recommend FC higher for this kind of thing, for a start the controllers 'talk' FC initially and have to kind of convert it into iSCSI anyway so you'll lose performance there too as well as the actual line speed difference. – Chopper3 Feb 7 '11 at 14:59
Before I accept the thing, I have one minor offtopic question. P2000 G3 has only one FC /iSCSI controller, do you think it is worth for the money to buy another FC controller to have redundancy? How often do these things such as controllers fail? Thank you – John Feb 7 '11 at 15:45
Don't worry about accepting questions for now, I'm not in desperate need of the rep :) as for your question I'm a big fan of dual-controllers as they let you make code updates 'live' by switching over to the other controller - important for me but if you only have two hosts to take down then it may be of lesser importance to you. – Chopper3 Feb 7 '11 at 15:50

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