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I want to configure a 24-port Cisco Catalyist 2960 to perform as follows:

  1. Four ports going to a SAN
  2. Four ports going to four ESX servers for iSCSI storage traffic
  3. Four ports going to the four ESX servers for management traffic (the vmware stuff)
  4. Four ports for linking two of these switches together.
  • The switch's management address is (
  • The ESX service-console has been setup as and hooked into Gi0/11

Requirement 1 and 2 seem okay - we've put that on a separate VLAN (10):

interface range Gi0/1 - 10
  description Storage
  switchport access vlan 10

Requirement 4 seems okay - we've set those up as a trunk:

interface range Gi0/21 - 24
  description Uplink
  channel-group 1 mode active

The switch-ports for #3 have been setup as their own VLAN to isolate the VM traffic.

interface range Gi0/11 - 20
  description ESX
  switchport access vlan 20

My problem is that the switch can't ping at all. Do I need to setup routing? My ESX console is on the default VLAN (i.e. I've not specified it in the setup), and the laptop I'm using to terminal in to the switch is also on VLAN 1.

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One other item of config I forgot to mention is that I've set no spanning-tree vlan 1 – Cylindric Jul 28 '09 at 17:03

You will need to implement some method of InterVLAN Routing to route between the different vlans in your scenario. However, due to the utilization of 2960 Switches you won't have the capability of implementing "ip routing" and configuration of SVIs for a Default Gateway for each subnet. One solution is to implement "Router on a Stick" utilizing a separate Layer 3 Router or Switch to handle the IP Routing and SVIs for each vlan/subnet. The traffic will then be trunked out of the 2960 to the MLS Switch or Router and will be returned over the same trunk port. This isn't the best method has it greatly reduces your throughput due the single interface. You will need to determine wether the amount of throughput is acceptable for your design. If not, I would recommend you upgrade to the 3560G or 3750G switches which would be capable of routing your Layer 3 traffic between subnets.

Also, in your VMWare ESX Configuration, is the Service Console dedicated to a specific eth interface, or do you have it connected to a VSwitch being tagged with a specific vlan id? You'll want to make sure that if you are trunking to that port that you configure the tagging of the Service Console to the requested vlan id, or you implement "switchport trunk native vlan xx" with xx being the vlan you wish the Service Console traffic to be in.

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I'm not sure I understand. I'm not needing to route between the VLANs. I want it separate and isolated anyway. What I need to be able to do is have the switch itself (isn't that on vlan 1?) be able to "talk" to the ESX server's port which is also on vlan 1. Also for example, my laptop is connected to Gi0/19 (default vlan) and needs to see the ESX on port Gi0/11 - also default vlan. Config can be seen at – Cylindric Jul 28 '09 at 17:23
Cylindric, First off you should always sanitize your configs for passwords and other sensitive data before posting on the Internet. Might want to update your entry. Not sure if you read my additional information, but you will need to configure the ESX host to send the necessary Service Console information over to you in the same vlan. You can accomplish this with by setting the Service Console into the VSwitch with the correctly tagged vlan id, or you can implement "switchport trunk native vlan 1" where any untagged packets from the port are assumed to be in vlan1. – jeffp711 Jul 28 '09 at 17:32
Cylindric, what is the IP address you have on your laptop? Is it a address that you are using to config the switch, or is it a 10.20.30.x address? If you program both IPs into your laptop, and configure the switch with the "switchport trunk native vlan 1" you will be able to administer both the switch and ESX console. – jeffp711 Jul 28 '09 at 17:38
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Okay, I think this is all working now! Jeff's answer wasn't directly the correct one, but it got me into the right area of the config. One of the problems I had was incorrect subnet masking on the ESX server :(

Here's the switch config that seems to be working right now:

First we name the box and also enable Jumbo frames, as it'll be used for Storage and large-file traffic:

hostname Switch-009
system mtu jumbo 9000

Next we create the two VLANs for the Storage network and the VMWare network (VSphere traffic, VMotion, etc)

vlan 10
  name Storage

vlan 20
  name VMWare

Now we configure the first 10 ports to be for the storage. This is where the 4 ports from the SAN and the NIC port from each of the four ESX servers will connect (and two spares)

interface range Gi0/1 - 10
  description Storage
  switchport access vlan 10

Now we do the same for the VMWare traffic ports:

interface range Gi0/11 - 20
  description ESX
  switchport access vlan 20

Next we configure the last four ports (these happen to be the four dual-purpose GBIC sockets)

interface range Gi0/21 - 24
  description Uplink
  channel-group 1 mode active

Finally we give the VMWare VLAN an ip address so that we can connect to it for switch-management purposes

interface vlan 20
  ip address

We now have all the storage equipment (EqualLogic controllers, VMWare vswitch for storage etc) all on 10.10.x.x addresses, all the VMWare traffic on 10.20.x.x addresses, and a production network (not on these switches so not shown here) on 10.50.x.x addresses.

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Not directly concerning your problem - but you should enable Jumbo Frames for your iSCSI VLAN.

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Yeah, we enabled that from end-to-end. Because we did it right at the start, I can't comment on the performance improvements though, as I have no baseline to compare to. Point of note is that there's no GUI way of doing this with the ESX servers, it's a CLI command. – Cylindric Sep 11 '09 at 10:11

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