Dell EMC 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 EMC 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.