This section provides an overview of the network architecture, including compute and management server connectivity, and configuration details for the ToR and virtual switches.
Open Networking is a core element of Dell EMC’s networking strategy and mission. Open Networking disaggregates the hardware from the operating system, giving you the choice of picking the operating system that best fits your unique network infrastructure needs. Open Networking is achieved by using standards-based building blocks that use open source where possible.
The Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) is an open-source project within the Open Computer Project that provides an installation environment for bare-metal networking switches. ONIE also provides the option to install different network operating systems on a common set of networking hardware. ONIE is like any operating system boot loader for Windows or Linux and uses the same GRand Unified Bootloader (GRUB) structure that is commonly found in Linux distributions.
In the Dell EMC Networking portfolio, any switch model with an “-ON” suffix, such as the Dell EMC Networking Z9264F-ON and the Dell EMC Networking S5248-ON switches, has ONIE enabled.
For information about ONIE, see http://onie.org/.
The network architecture employs a VLT connection between the two ToR switches. The inherent redundancy of a non-VLT environment requires standby equipment, which increases infrastructure costs and risks. In a VLT environment, all paths are active, adding immediate value and throughput while protecting against hardware failures. VLT technology enables a server or bridge to uplink a physical trunk into more than one Networking S5248-ON switch by treating the uplink as one logical trunk. A VLT-connected pair of switches acts as a single switch to a connecting bridge or server. Both links from the bridge network can forward and receive traffic. VLT provides a replacement for Spanning Tree Protocol (STP)-based networks by using multiple active paths to provide both redundancy and full bandwidth utilization. The major benefits of VLT technology are:
The Dell EMC Networking S5248-ON switches each provide six 40/100 GbE uplink ports. The VLT interconnect (VLTi) configuration in this architecture uses two 40/100 GbE ports from each ToR switch to provide a 200 GB data path between the switches.
The following figure illustrates the Networking S5248-ON VLTi configuration.
Figure 5. Networking S5248-ON VLTi configuration
The Dell EMC network switching infrastructure uses VMware NSX network virtualization, which is part of the VMware Cloud Foundation software infrastructure.
NSX technology enables the decoupling of network services from the physical infrastructure. Logical networks are created on top of a basic Layer 2 (switched) or Layer 3 (routed) physical infrastructure to decouple the physical and virtual environments. This decoupling enables agility and security in the virtual environment while allowing the physical environment to focus on throughput.
The NSX platform also provides for network services in the logical space, including switching, routing, firewalls, load balancing, and VPN services.
In addition, application requirements do not require modification to the physical network.
You can achieve bandwidth prioritization for different traffic classes such as host management, vSphere vMotion, and the VM network by using vSphere Distributed Switch (VDS). VDS, which can be configured, managed, and monitored from a central interface, provides:
The following figure shows the VDS configuration for the management and compute servers.
Figure 6. vSphere Distributed Switch for dual-port configuration