Thursday, September 6, 2012

NIOC prioritizing specific VLANs/Subnets

It’s not unusual when presenting the NIOC feature for a client, they ask me:
 Is it possible to prioritizing the traffic of just a group of VMs ?

The answer is yes !!!
But first let’s remember what NIOC is:

Network I/O Control (NIOC) is a feature on the Distributed Virtual Switches (vDS) that when the hosts detects a congestion on it's network card, it will then starts to prioritize the traffic flowing from it.
To prioritize it's network traffic, it uses the SHARES concept (the same concept we are used to with vCPU and memory shares of a VM).

You can configure the shares on the following traffic types:

- vMotion
- FT logging
- Management
- NFS (Network File System)
- Virtual machine traffic
- vSphere Replication traffic

That’s when the client realizes all the traffic for the virtual machines will get the same priority and then the inevitable question pops up.

Luck of us that the NIOC has been enhanced with vSphere 5.0 and now it includes the capability of creating a user defined network resource pool.
With that in mind, you can create a new network resource pool, give it a higher share than the Virtual machine traffic and associate this resource pool with a PortGroup.

If all your VMS are on the same Port Group you wound not be able to prioritize the atraffic among them.
You will need to segregate your VM's traffic, creating new PortGroups/ VLANs, let’s say for critical VMs, or databases then you can give them a higher priority over the others.

Let’s see how to configure it.

- On vCenter, go to Home/Networking
- select the vDS that has the portgroup you want prioritize.
Make sure the NIOC is enable.
- click on “New Network Resource Pool”

- add a name, a description (optional) and adjust the share as you wish.

 - click OK

as you can see the New Network Resource Pool has been created

It’s time to associate this resource pool with a Port Group
- click on Manage Port Groups

- Select the Port Group you want to change and on the Network Resource Pool Column select the Network Resource Pool you just created. Click OK

There’s also another way to associate a Port Group with a Resource Pool.

- Right Click on the Port Group you want to change and select Edit Settings

- Select Resource Allocation
- Change it for the desired Network Resource Pool.

 - Click OK.

Now you can give the network priority your VMs deserves.

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I’m an IT specialist with over 15 years of experience, working from IT infrastructure to management products, troubleshooting and project management skills from medium to large environments. Nowadays I'm working for VMware as a Consulting Architect, helping customers to embrace the Cloud Era and make them successfully on their journey. Despite the fact I'm a VMware employee these postings reflect my own opinion and do not represents VMware's position, strategies or opinions. Reach me at @dumeirell

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