VMware NSX Lab Environment: Part 4 – Networking Hardware

The VMware NSX Lab Environment requires physical networking connectivity for the ESXi Hosts, NAS appliance, and any Uplinks to other networks.  The amount of physical equipment used in the VMware NSX Lab Environment will determine the type of physical switch selected.  In my configuration I required a total of (12) 1 Gbps physical switch ports.

  • 4 Physical Servers with dual-port Network Interface Cards (iLO Ports were not connected)
  • 1 Network Attached Storage appliance with a dual-port Network Interface Card
  • 1 Uplink from the Access Switch to the L3 Switch
  • 1 Uplink to the Internet

The physical switch must also support VLAN and a minimum MTU size of 1600 bytes.

You will also need a router with support for eight networks (interfaces). Using a software-based approach, a virtual machine could be used for static routing.  Alternatively you could implement hardware-based solution by purchasing a L3 capable switch.  These are the networks that are required:

    • vMotion A – For the Management Cluster
    • vMotion B – For the Compute Cluster
    • Transport A – For the Management Cluster
    • Transport B – For the Compute Cluster
    • Management A – For the Management Cluster
    • Management B – For the Compute Cluster
    • Corp-HQ uplink A –
    • Corp-HQ uplink B –

2960c 3560c

In my VMware NSX lab environment I selected a Cisco Catalyst 2960-8TC-L 10-port 1 Gbps Compact switch to connect my (4) HP ProLiant servers [8-ports], QNAP NAS appliance [1-port], and an Uplink [1-port] to a Catalyst 3560CG-8TC-S 10-port 1 Gbps Compact Switch.  In the end my decision was based on noise.  I could have used a single L3 switch however I was concerned with the amount of noise a larger switch would make in my office.

Noise & Power: The Catalyst 3560-C and 2960-C switches leverage Cisco EnergyWise technology.  Using my Kill-A-Watt meter, power consumption at idle for the Catalyst 2960-C switch is under 23 watts.  The fanless, silent operation allowed me to use the switch in my office without disruption.

Continue reading the VMware NSX Lab Environment series:

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