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I have an UltraStor RS16IP4 ISCSI SAN and two Netgear GS748T switches. I'm looking to integrate MPIO (Multipath I/O) between my servers and the SAN. I'm somewhat new to MPIO and want to know if there are any special hardware requirements when considering which switches to use. I already know the ISCSI SAN supports MPIO and so do my servers. What I'm not sure is if my two dedicated Netgear GS748T switches are up for the task.

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These are the requirements for MPIO:

  • Devices at both ends that support MPIO
  • >1 connection to the network for each device

That's about it.

Further, MPIO only get you redundancy and fault tolerance if you eliminate all single points of failure between endpoints. So if there is a switch between your endpoints, you need two switches and a connection between each switch and each endpoint.

Generally any switch SHOULD suffice. MPIO does not depend on any switch features.

But don't forget about switch quality. Lower-end switches will now handle high traffic loads as gracefully as higher-end gear will. Things to look for when selecting a switch for a SAN network are backplane speeds at least as high as your devices can saturate the switch with and large per-port buffers. (I could not easily find the per-port buffer spec for the switches you are using.)

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