How to Create A Dedicated Storage NIC in XenServer

Wickenburg-networkIn Vmware ESX, when using NFS storage, you are required to create a separate and additional vmkernel portgroup to access your NFS storage. This way ESX Management traffic travels over one port group and NFS traffic travels over another.

In Xenserver the concept is similar; however executed much differently.

First and foremost you need to be aware of a few limitations in XenServer. While XenServer does allow you to create a dedicated nic (or bond) for NFS traffic, this nic must remain unmanaged by Xenserver. In contrast, a XenServer's management traffic travels over its "Management interface", which obviously has to be an interface that is managed via XenServer.

Allow me sum this up. You cannot share a nic or nics between management traffic and NFS traffic. This means that you are going want to create a bond for management traffic and a bond for NFS traffic you are going to need 4 free interfaces on your Xenserver box.

Now it is possible to use VLAN tagging and route your Management traffic and virtual machine traffic over the same physical interfaces. However its important to know that XenServer does not support VLAN tagging on the Management interface, so whatever VLAN you use for management, it must be the native vlan on the ports configuration.

The information below is from the Admin Guide for XenServer 5.5

Switch ports configured to perform 802.1Q VLAN tagging/untagging, commonly referred to as ports with a native VLAN or as access mode ports, can be used with XenServer management interfaces to place managementtraffic on a desired VLAN. In this case the XenServer host is unaware of any VLAN configuration.

XenServer management interfaces cannot be assigned to a XenServer VLAN via a trunk port.

Bottom line; its probably best to have seperate physical connections for your management traffic and NFS traffic.

Also, according to the Admin Guide, your NFS network should not be routed. See the words below and read them thusly.

"Before dedicating a network interface as a storage interface for use with iSCSI or NFS SRs, you must ensure that the dedicated interface uses a separate IP subnet which is not routable from the main management interface. If this is not enforced, then storage traffic may be directed via the main management interface after a host reboot, due to the order in which network interfaces are initialized."

Ok now that we got all that out of the way, lets actually create our dedicated storage nic.

First we need to get the uuid of the pif (physical interface) that we want to use. Note that this is just an example using a standalone interface.

#xe pif-list host-name-label=<"your_hostname>

Next we reconfigure our pif

#xe pif-reconfigure-ip mode=statc IP=<your-ip-on-nfs-vlan> netmask=<your-mask> uuid=<pif-uuid>

#xe pif-param-set disallow-unplug=true uuid=<pif-uuid>

#xe pif-param-set other-config:ManagementPurpose="Storage" uuid=<pif-uuid>

Alternatively you can use xe pif-forget to remote the interface from Xencenter database and configure it manually via the XenServer Kernel like you would any other interface in Linux, however this could be more confusing in the long run.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s