Dell Solutions for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI requires a reliable, high bandwidth, low latency network connection between each clustered node for storage network traffic. Dell Technologies recommends using redundant 10Gbps/25Gbps/100Gbps top-of-rack network switches for storage network traffic.
Dell PowerSwitch data center switches offer a flexible, easy-to-deploy, cost-effective network solution that is best for Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct and Failover Clustering. However, Microsoft announced support for two-node switchless clusters for Windows Server 2019 Azure Stack HCI and failover clustering. Most recently, Microsoft has extended this support for three- and four-node clusters, using a full mesh storage network topology. A full mesh interconnect requires direct network cable connections between every node of the cluster. These direct connections can be configured either using single- or dual-link full mesh topologies. For redundancy and performance purposes, dual-link direct network connections between every node of the cluster are recommended.
Advantages of a full mesh, switchless Storage Spaces Direct cluster include:
- Datacenter environments with an existing 1 GbE network switch infrastructure reduce costs that are associated with upgrading to 10 GbE (or faster) switches since 10 GbE is a storage network minimum requirement of Storage Spaces Direct.
- Datacenter environments with an existing 10 GbE network switch infrastructure gain increased network throughput for storage traffic since there are 25 GbE network adapter connections between each clustered node.
Consider cluster size carefully before deploying a full mesh switchless Storage Spaces Direct cluster. Expanding a switchless cluster with an additional node may require additional network adapter cards to be installed.