I am not a network guy and would like to know how can I setup the below two configurations and their pros and cons:

Networking component: --

  • WAN: Cisco 2970 * 1
  • Load Balancer: F5 switch 1600 * 2
  • Private Subnet: Cisco 2960 * 2

My situation is like that, my F5 switch 1600 will connect to Cisco 2970 upstream to the public (WAN) and all my host will connect to the pair of Cisco 2960 private lan which then interconnect to the pair of F5 switch 1600 providing load balancing as well as fault tolerance function. All of my host equip with two ethernet interface (most of them are using broadcom 5700) and they will team up and each interface will connect to one cisco switch so as to privide fault tolerate as well as link aggregation.

My question is, how can I config my equipment (Cisco 2970, F5 switch 1600, Cisco 2960 as well as my host) physically (cabling) and logically (system configuration?), and what are their pros and cons?

  1. Host using balance-ALB.

  2. Host using 802.3ad.


Regarding load balancing you have a couple options. If you plan to use a lot of capacity for sending responses you probably want to investigate direct server return and wire your hosts up so they don't always have to route back through the F5. If that isn't a huge concern it makes diagnostics a little easier if the F5 handles both parts of the connection by having your hosts route through it for both the request and the response.

Regarding 802.3ad there are times when it can be beneficial. However it also increases the failure-zone. Where as with a separate network connection and two physically diverse network paths if you have a configuration error or software failure in one, your other path should continue to function. If you setup everything in a bonded scenario and you experience either a configuration mistake or a software bug it is possible your entire site will go offline(because the bond will not negotiate properly). That said it is usually easier to diagnose a 'standard' approach of using bonding with contractors and Cisco TAC staff. This is the standard 'fail safe' vs 'fail over' approach. Either is valid and both have pros/cons that you will want to weigh specifically to your environment.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.