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SMB Direct in a Windows Server 2016 Virtual Machine Experiment
Posted by Didier Van Hoye on October 12, 2017
5/5 (1)

Introduction

Ever since Windows Server 2012 we have SMB Direct capabilities in the OS and Windows Server 2012 R2 added more use cases such as live migration for example. In Windows Server 2016, even more, workloads leverage SMB Direct, such as S2D and Storage Replication. SMB Direct leverages the RDMA capabilities of a NIC which delivers high throughput at low latency combined with CPU offloading to the NIC. The latter save CPU cycles for the other workloads on the hosts such as virtual machines.

Traditionally, in order for SMB Direct to work, the SMB stack needs direct access to the RDMA NICs. This means that right up to Windows Server 2012 R2 we had SMB Direct on running on physical NICs on the host or the parent partition/management OS. You could not have RDMA exposed on a vNIC or even on a host native NIC team (LBFO). SMB Direct was also not compatible with SR-IOV. That was and still is, for that OS version common knowledge and a design consideration. With Windows Server 2016, things changed. You can now have RDMA exposed on a vSwitch and on management OS vNICs. Even better, the new Switch Embedded Teaming (SET) allows for RDMA to be exposed in the same way on top of a vSwitch. SET is an important technology in this as RDMA is still not exposed on a native Windows team (LBFO).

Mellanox InfiniBand Router

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The importance of IeeePriorityTag with converged RDMA Switch Embedded Teaming
Posted by Didier Van Hoye on September 27, 2017
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Introduction

If you read my blog on Switch Embedded Teaming with RDMA (for SMB Direct) you’ll notice that I set the -IeeePriorityTag to “On” on the vNICs that use DCB for QoS. This requires some explanation.

When you configure a Switch Embedded Teaming (SET) vSwitch and define one or more management OS vNICs on which you enable RDMA you will see that the SMB Direct traffic gets it priority tag set correctly. This always happens no matter what you set the -IeeePriorityTag option to. On or Off, it doesn’t make a difference. It works out of the box.

mapped RDMA vNIC to their respective RDMA pNIC

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Forcing the affinity of a virtual NIC to a physical NIC with a SET vSwitch via Set-VMNetworkAdapterTeamMapping
Posted by Didier Van Hoye on September 20, 2017
5/5 (2)

Introduction

Window Server 2016 Hyper-V brought us Switch Embedded teaming (SET). That’s the way forward when it comes to converged networking and Software-Defined Networking with the network controller and network virtualization.  It also allows for the use of RDMA on a management OS virtual NIC (vNIC).

One of the capabilities within SET is affinitizing a vNIC to a particular team member, that is a physical NIC (pNIC). This isn’t a hard requirement for SET to work properly but it helps in certain scenarios. With a vNIC we mean either a management OS vNIC or a virtual machine vNIC actually, affinitizing can be done for both. The main use case and focus here and in real life is in the management OS vNICs we use for SMB Direct traffic.

complete Switch Embedded Teaming configuration

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Hyper-V Networking 101. Part 1: NICs and Switches
Posted by Thorsten Windrath on March 22, 2017
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Network cables

Source: pixabay.com

Introduction

There are lots of posts regarding Hyper-V networking. But there doesn’t seem to be a single compiled and up to date guide covering fundamentals and some advanced topics alike. This article aims to fill that gap, without a wall of text but a few easy to understand diagrams, tables, and PowerShell snippets. We will take a look at Hyper-V’s basic networking concept, NIC teaming (Network Interface Card) and different approaches to let VMs (Virtual Machines) talk to specific VLANs or even VLAN trunks.

The first article in the Hyper-V Networking 101 series will cover everything you need to know about virtual switches and NICs. The last post is planned as a real-world example: A way to implement a secure Wi-Fi (and/or wired) guest network on top of a virtual firewall.

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Exploring VMWare’s VPID Technology
Posted by Gary Williams on January 11, 2017
5/5 (3)

I’ve been using VMWare’s VPID (Virtual Port ID) technology for some time now both in work and in the home lab but I was curious to see just how VMWare handled a NIC going down and then coming back up and it turned out to be a lot more powerful and smooth than I first though.

In my lab, I’ve got several HP Microservers and a mix of TP-Link and Netgear switches.
I’ve found the TP-Link switches to be perfect for a lab as they have 48 1GBit ports and 4 1GBit FC ports. They haven’t cheapened out like Netgear have with the link between the last two Ethernet and the first two FC. With Netgear, you can only use last two Ethernet OR the first two FC ports.
You cannot use all of the ports on the switch. With TP-Link, all the ports are available and I find the web GUI a little more initiative although I did experience a bug on the TP-Link where the SNMP Engine kept crashing. This was fixed in a firmware upgrade so it wasn’t a major issue.

Anyway back to VMWare and VPID!

Virtual Machine Port Group

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How to Deploy Switch Embedded Teaming (SET) Using SCVMM 2016?
Posted by Charbel Nemnom on August 5, 2016
5/5 (2)

Windows Server 2016 - Switch Embedded Teaming with RDMA       Windows Server 2016 – Switch Embedded Teaming with RDMA [image credit: Microsoft]

Introduction

With the release of Windows Server 2016, Microsoft is introducing a new type of teaming approach called Switch Embedded Teaming (SET) which is a virtualization aware, how is that different from NIC Teaming (LBFO), the first part it is embedded into the Hyper-V virtual switch, that means a couple of things, the first one you don’t have any team interfaces anymore, you won’t be able to build anything extra on top of it, you can’t set property on the team because it’s part of the virtual switch, you set all the properties directly on the vSwitch. This is targeted to support Software Defined Networking (SDN) switch capabilities, it’s not a general purpose use everywhere teaming solution that NIC Teaming was intended to be. So this is specifically integrated with Packet Direct, Converged RDMA vNIC and SDN-QoS. It’s only supported when using the SDN-Extension.

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