Decide if you plan to use one or two switches for the VxRail cluster. One switch is acceptable, and is often used in test and development environments. To support sustained performance, high availability, and failover in production environments, two or more switches are required.
VxRail is a software-defined data center which depends on the physical top-of-rack switching for network communications, and is engineered to enable full redundancy and failure protection across the cluster. For customer environments that require protection from a single point of failure, the adjacent network supporting the VxRail cluster must also be designed and configured to eliminate any single point of failure. A minimum of two switches should be deployed to support high availability and balance the workload on the VxRail cluster. They should be linked with a pair of cables to support the flow of Layer 2 traffic between the switches.
Consideration should also be given for link aggregation to enable load-balancing and failure protection at the port level. NIC teaming, which is the pairing of a set of physical ports into a logical port for this purpose, is supported in VxRail versions 7.0.130 and later. These logical port pairings can peer with a pair of ports on the adjacent switches to enable the load-balancing of demanding VxRail networks.
For network-intense workloads that require high availability, consider switches that support multi-chassis link aggregation, such as Cisco’s Virtual Port Channel or Dell’s VLT Port Channel. This feature can be used to enable load-balancing from the VxRail cluster across a logical switch port that is configured between the two linked switches.
Support for Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) at the cluster level is also introduced in VxRail version 7.0.130. The switches supporting the VxRail cluster should support LACP for better manageability and broader load-balancing options.