Step 1. Assess your requirements and perform a sizing exercise to determine the quantity and characteristics of the VxRail nodes you need to meet planned workload and targeted use cases.
Step 2. Determine the number of physical racks needed to support the quantity and footprint of VxRail nodes to meet workload requirements, including the top-of-rack switches. Verify that the data center has sufficient floor space, power, and cooling.
Step 3. Determine the network switch topology that aligns with your business and operational requirements. See the sample wiring diagrams in Appendix F: Physical Network Switch Examples for guidance on the options supported for VxRail cluster operations.
Step 4. Based on the sizing exercise, determine the number of Ethernet ports on each VxRail node you want to reserve for VxRail networking.
- Two ports might be sufficient in cases where the resource consumption on the cluster is low and will not exceed available bandwidth.
- Workloads with a high resource requirement or with a high potential for growth will benefit from a 4-port deployment. Resource-intensive networks, such as the vSAN and vMotion networks, benefit from the 4-port option because two ports can be reserved just for those demanding networks.
- The 4-port option is required to enable link aggregation of demanding networks for the purposes of load-balancing. In this case, the two ports that are reserved exclusively for the resource-intensive networks (vSAN and possibly vMotion) are configured into a logical channel to enable load-balancing.
- More than four ports per node can be reserved for VxRail networking for cases where it is desirable for certain individual VxRail networks to not share any bandwidth with other VxRail networks.
Note: The VxRail cluster must be at version 7.0.130 or later to support link aggregation.
Step 5. Determine the optimal VxRail adapter and Ethernet port types to meet planned workload and availability requirements.
- VxRail supports 1 GbE, 10 GbE, 25 GbE, and 100 GbE connectivity options to build the initial cluster.
- Starting with VxRail version 7.0.130, you have flexibility with the selection of Ethernet adapter types:
- Reserve and use only ports on the NDC/OCP for VxRail cluster networking.
- Reserve and use both NDC/OCP-based and PCIe-based ports for VxRail cluster networking.
- Reserve and use only PCIe-based ports for VxRail cluster networking.
- If your performance and availability requirements might change later, you can reserve and use just NDC/OCP ports to build the initial cluster, and then migrate certain VxRail networks to PCIe-based ports.
- If your requirements include using FC storage to support VxRail workload, you can select either 16 GB or 32 GB connectivity to your Fibre Channel network.
Note: The VxRail cluster must be at version 7.0.010 or later to migrate VxRail networks to PCIe-based ports.
Step 6. Select the network adapter type and cable type to connect the VxRail nodes to your switches
- VxRail nodes can connect to switches with either RJ45, SFP+, SFP28, or QSFP adapter types, depending on type of adapter cards selected for the nodes.
- VxRail nodes with RJ45 ports require CAT5 or CAT6 cables. CAT6 cables are included with every VxRail.
- VxRail nodes with SFP+ ports require optics modules (transceivers) and optical cables, or Twinax Direct-Attach Copper (DAC) cables. These cables and optics are not included; you must supply your own. The NIC and switch connectors and cables must be on the same wavelength.
- VxRail nodes with SFP28 ports require high-thermal optics for ports on the NDC/OCP. Optics that are rated for standard thermal specifications can be used on the expansion PCIe network ports supporting SFP28 connectivity.
Step 7. Determine the additional ports and port speed on the switches for the uplinks to your core network infrastructure and interswitch links for dual switch topologies. Select a switch or switches that provide sufficient port capacity and characteristics.
Step 8. Determine whether to enable out-of-band management. Dell iDRAC functionality is built into each VxRail node, and requires a 1GbE connection. Dell recommends deploying a dedicated 1 GbE switch for this purpose. If this is not practical, you can also use open ports on the top-of-rack switches.
Step 9. Decide whether to use a local laptop or a jump host to enable initial connectivity to the VxRail management interface.
- To use a local laptop for VxRail management connectivity, reserve one additional port on one of the top-of-rack switches for this purpose.
- The need for the additional port to access the management interface is removed if connectivity is available elsewhere on the logical path from a jump host on the VxRail external management VLAN.