dell-pc-5224-01_1In Part 7 of my home lab build out, I'd just installed Synology DSM 5.0 on my NAS server which is going to provide iSCSI storage for my two ESXi hosts. I want to maximise the network bandwidth available for iSCSI and so want to team four of the five gigabit NICs in my NAS using 802.3ad Dynamic Link Aggregation and enable jumbo frame support.

To initially setup the Dell PowerConnect 5224 you need a 9-pin serial cable. Any old 9-pin null modem cable (which is the standard type I'm lead to believe) will do the job. The biggest issue I had is that modern day motherboards seem to be lacking in serial ports, so I had to bust out an old PC which did have a port. You can connect over serial using Putty by selecting the connection type as Serial and specifying the relevant COM port and baud rate...

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Under the Connection menu on the left, under Serial you can specify additional connection options. For the 5224 the default configuration is 9600 baud, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, no parity and XON/XOFF flow control.

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Click Open and hit ENTER a couple of times. You should be presented with a login prompt...

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Login or Reset Password

The default login for the 5224 is username "admin", password "admin". If the default credentials don't work and you don't know what the password is, you can reset the switch to factory defaults using the following procedure:

  • With the serial console connected, restart the switch (disconnect and then reconnect the power cord).
  • Keep hitting CTRL+F as the switch boots.
  • You should be dropped into a boot-rom style prompt.
  • One of the options presented is "Reset to Factory Defaults?". Select this option and the switch should restart.
  • If the switch doesn't restart and boot back to the normal login prompt, power cycle the switch again.

Configure the Management Interface

Once you've been able to login as admin, one of the first things you'll want to do is set the management interface IP address. This will allow you to access the web configuration so you won't have to do everything from the command line (although, you can if you want). The commands to do this are below, highlighted in bold.

Console#configure
Console(config)#interface vlan 1
Console(config-if)#ip address 192.168.0.2 255.255.255.0

Console(config-if)# end
Console#copy running-config startup-config
Startup configuration file name [startup-config]: <ENTER>
Write to FLASH Programming.
Write to FLASH finish.
Success.

Any time you make a configuration change, you must run the command "copy running-config startup-config" otherwise when the switch gets restarted all the configuration will be blown away; something I found out the hard way. Test the connection by pinging some other device on your network...

Console#sh ip int
IP address and network: 192.168.0.2 255.255.25.0 on VLAN 1,
an address mode: User specified.
Console# ping 192.168.0.1
Type ESC to abort.
PING to 192.168.0.1, by 5 32-byte payload ICMP packets, timeout is 5 seconds
response time: 20ms
response time: 10ms

response time: 10ms
response time: 10ms
response time: 10ms
Ping statistics for 192.168.0.1:
5 packets transmitted, 5 packets received (100%), 0 packets lost (0%)
Approximate round trip times:
Minimum = 10 ms, Maximum = 20 ms, Average = 12 ms
Console#

Now that the management interface IP is configured on VLAN 1 you should be able to access the web configuration GUI by putting the switch IP into a browser. Use the same credentials to login as you did from the serial console session.

dell-powerconnect-5224-web-gui

 

Enable Jumbo Frame Support

Expand the System menu at the top left and then expand Switch. You'll see an option for Jumbo Frame. Enabling Jumbo Frame support is as simple as setting the "Jumbo Frame Support Status" value to "Enabled" and clicking Apply Changes.

dell-powerconnect-5224-enable-jumbo-frame-support

Configure LACP Trunk

Under Link Aggregation select Trunk Settings. My NAS has 5 gigabit NICs which are patched into ports 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24. The NIC patched to port 20 is the onboard LAN which I'll use for management of the device. The NICs which are connected to ports 21-24 will become part of my LACP trunk that serves iSCSI storage for my ESXi hosts. To make ports part of an LACP group, click on the port numbers on the "LACP" row and click Apply Changes. The switch will automatically group those ports as trunk 1 as shown below:

dell-powerconnect-5224-lacp-trunk

Configure VLANS

From the left-hand pane menu, select VLAN, VLAN Membership. Here you can begin to configure your VLANs. I will be setting up a dedicated VLAN for iSCSI traffic, one for vMotion traffic and a few others for virtual machine traffic. To create a new VLAN select "Add a new VLAN" from the "Show VLAN" field. Specify a name for the VLAN, then a VLAN ID.  Leave the status as Active then click on each port number that you want to be part of the VLAN.

Each time you click on a port, it will cycle through the available port settings of T, U, F and Blank. As the web GUI page explains, T means any traffic on the port will be tagged, U means traffic will be untagged, F prevents the port from automatically joining a VLAN via GVRP and Blank means that the port is not a member of the VLAN.

The first VLAN I want to create is for iSCSI traffic and will be using VLAN ID 10.  Each ESXi host has five gigabit NICs, vmnic0 -- vmnic4. I will be utilising vmnic3 and vmnic4 on each host for iSCSI traffic. There are connected to ports 13 and 14 for esx01 and 18 and 19 for esx02. For VLAN 10 I set those ports to "T" and also set Trunk 1 (the LACP trunk) to "T" as well. This is shown in the image below:

dell-powerconnect-5224-iscsi-vlan10

 

Next I will be creating a VLAN for vMotion traffic. On each host I will be using a single NIC (vmnic2) for vMotion traffic and will be assignined VLAN ID 20. The same process applies. Select "Add New VLAN" from the Show VLAN drop-down menu, then specify a name (e.g. vMotion-VLAN), a VLAN ID (20) and then set the relevant ports to "T". In my case these are ports 12 and 17. Apply the changes.

On each ESXi host I plan to utilise the 4th and 5th NICs for iSCSI traffic, the 3rd NIC for vMotion and the 1st and 2nd will be used for a combination of management and virtual machine traffic. The 1st and 2nd NICs on each host are connected to ports 10 and 11 for esx01 and 15 and 16 for esx02. For each virtual machine VLAN, I need to set each of these ports to tag traffic. For example, VLAN 2 is configured as follows:

dell-powerconnect-5224-vlan2

VLAN 3 is configured in the same way:

dell-powerconnect-5224-vlan3

I repeat the process for additional VLANs I want to make available for virtual machine traffic. At the current time, I'm not actually sure what I'm going to be using these VLANs for. Now that the relevant VLANs, LACP trunk and Jumbo Frames are configured I can begin to configure the distributed virtual switches and iSCSI adapterd within vSphere.