Cisco Nexus 1000v, SC-Ports, VMkernel-Ports and more

October 15th, 2009 by Sebastian Leave a reply »

This week I had my first experiences installing a Cisco 1000v Switch on vSphere4. The first thing I have to say: It rocks but it is the most tricky thing I’ve ever installed. But the combination of servervirtualization and the virtualization of a Cisco Nexus Switch gives great new concepts and the opportunity to divide responsibilities. The biggest benefit is that you can give control of the network-ports, your VMs are plugged to, to your network administrators – They truly can handle all the VM-Ports as physical ones (but they have to know how to handle cisco switches). Furthermore you can let the vEth-Ports move with the VMs from host to host.

nexus1kv architecture

nexus1kv architecture

But before you start installing a Nexus 1000v on your vSphere-Cluster, you should keep the following points in mind:

  • The Nexus 1000v is a virtual Switch, that extends over all the esx-hosts in your cluster and behaves almost like a physical switch. That means, if you don’t configure the uplink-ports in your physical switch correctly, you will have a layer2 loop in that moment, you plugin the second uplink (regardless if it is on the same host of the first uplink or on another host of the cluster) ;-)
  • You probably don’t want your network administrators troubleshoot VMotion or iSCSI issues – That’s why you should consider to leave all the ESX-Management-Ports (plus a VM-Network for your vCenter) on a usual vSwitch with usual per-host-uplinks. That also has the benefit of not loosing control over your vSphere-cluster in the case of building a layer2-loop.
  • For setting up a Cisco Nexus 1000v you need two additional vLans for the nexus1kv Control LAN and the nexus1kv Packet LAN. In this vLANs will be layer2 traffic only. Furthermore you need an IP-connection to the vCenter from the Cisco Nexus 1000v Supervisor-Module.
  • You will need two additional VMs (2GB RAM, 1vCPU, 3GB HD) for the primary and secondary Supervisor Module. But no worries you only have to configure the primary Supervisor, the secondary Supervisor module will fetch the configuration automatically from the primary one.

Further readings you can find here.

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