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 VSwitch link bonding issue - FreeNAS 
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Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:00 pm
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Post VSwitch link bonding issue - FreeNAS
Hi all,

I have setup a FreeNAS in my ESXi host with 2 gigabit NICs both set to active. I've tried to add 2 virtual NICs to the FreeNas VM but they only work in independent mode, getting 2 IP addresses. Everything works and I can hit the webgui through either IPs.
I've attempted to setup Link Aggregation on FreeNAS using load-balancing (no LACP since I don't have a switch that supports that) but no matter how I set it up, as soon as I bond the 2 NICs and reboot the system no longer gets DHCP addresses. The bonded link shows nothing and even when I force set it to a static address it doesn't fix things and it can't ping other systems and vice versa.

I was under the impression that only 802.3ad (LACP) required managed switches to function so I choose load-balancing. Any ideas?


Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:16 pm
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:13 pm
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Post Re: VSwitch link bonding issue - FreeNAS
I can't speak to the setup for FreeNAS, but I had some trouble a while back trying to setup Intel load balancing within a VM with two e1000 vnics. It can down to the fact that the vSwitch is just a pretty basic switch.

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Dave Mishchenko
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Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:22 pm
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Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:13 pm
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Post Re: VSwitch link bonding issue - FreeNAS
I can't remember specifics about my scenario, or if this is what actually made it work, but I had a similar situation to you when I was trying to nest ESXi within itself on a host once. I had added 6 NICs to the nested ESXi install, and attempted to team pairs of them together in a similar fashion, but was unable to get network connectivity to function to those nested ESXi installs.

This is where the specifics of what I did to get it to work get a but fuzzy ...

I think I had to enable promiscuous mode on the vSwitch for the actual physical host. Again, I can't remember for certain if this is what made it work in the end, but it's worth a shot for you at any rate.


Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:40 am
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Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:00 pm
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Post Re: VSwitch link bonding issue - FreeNAS
Thanks for the replies guys, I've actually changed to a TurnKey Ubuntu build instead of FreeNAS and got link aggregation to work on it. Duplicating the machine and running 2 VMs with 2 bonded links yielded iperf test results of about 4.6Gbps between the VMs through the VSwitch which indicates to me the bonding is functional and the VSwitch is working fine in that regard.


Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:43 am
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Post Re: VSwitch link bonding issue - FreeNAS
If you look at the performance tab for the VM, does it show both NICs in use? Within a vSwitch transfer speed is not limited to the speed of the connected physical NICs. I.e. if the NICs are 1 Gb, a transfer within a vSwitch can exceed that and is limited to what the host can handle.

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Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:54 am
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Post Re: VSwitch link bonding issue - FreeNAS
Dave.Mishchenko wrote:
If you look at the performance tab for the VM, does it show both NICs in use? Within a vSwitch transfer speed is not limited to the speed of the connected physical NICs. I.e. if the NICs are 1 Gb, a transfer within a vSwitch can exceed that and is limited to what the host can handle.


D'oh! Lol and I spent all this time trying to figure out things for link aggregation, good knowledge though. I just reduced the number of links and of course you are right, it stayed the same. From the charts it's maxed out at about 4.6Gbps as well.
So now the question is, what is the limit the host can handle from a vSwitch perspective? I'm very happy with the performance now but just curious about capabilties.
I do have 2 physical NICs going out to my network so having only 1 vNIC in my VM will still allow me to saturate those right?


Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:50 pm
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