The setup for the Quantum DXi network is an easy and intuitive process. It is also a fundamental step ensuring the Quantum DXi appliance is working correctly to help to maximize the overall performances. From this perspective there is a number of settings that can be used to tweak the network configuration and adhere to current requirements.
This step follows the software upgrade stage as covered in the previous article. Now that the virtual appliance is updated to the latest version it is time to take a look at various settings starting from the Quantum DXi network configuration.
The network configuration as per se is strictly related also to other important services like the Network Time Protocol and the Security Protocol to use with the Quantum DXi appliance. This article explores the main options around these three topics.
Which features should I be looking for that can help fine-tuning the Quantum DXi network configuration?
It really depends on the environment and available resources from a networking perspective. In general dedicated networks and when isolated from each other based on traffic type for example help reducing the broadcast “noise” levels. VLANs are a great help from this perspective. Also, separating the Management network from Data and Replication helps segmenting the traffic in a more efficient manner. This means for example that “slower” networks like 1Gb should be used for Management traffic and the “faster” ones like 10Gb and more should be dedicated to heavier traffic types like Data and Replication. Another thing to take in consideration is certainly the option to make each network redundant trying to avoid single point of failures at adapters or network level. Great news is all these aspects can be controlled and configured for the Quantum DXi network setup directly from the appliance. In this article the basic steps on how to configure the Quantum DXi network to test in a homelab scenario.
Setup Quantum DXi network configuration
From the Home > Configuration > System > Network the web console offers the main settings to configure the Quantum DXi network. First the Hostname. It is highly recommended creating the pertinent DNS records for correct FQDN name resolution both ways: forward and reverse lookup. It is possible to add up to 6 domain suffixes and up to 3 different DNS servers name. For best practice it would be ideal to have different DNS servers in different locations or platforms.
How would we feel knowing the data dedupe appliance is not available on the network to send our backups or even restore them in case of failure? In order to reduce to the minimum the risk of single point of failures for the Quantum DXi network the appliance provides the capability to “Bond” multiple network adapters connected to different network switches supporting bonding configurations. Quantum DXi network configuration supports Backup Mode, Dynamic Link Aggregation Protocol (LACP) and Round Robin. We’ll cover these in more detail in a dedicated article.
In addition, the option to specify which and how many network cards should be used. Interestingly the two pairs offer both 1Gb and 10Gb network connectivity with the option to enable Jumbo Frames. Very ideal to separate Management traffic (using standard HTTP frames) from Data and Replication traffic (using Jumbo HTTP frames).
The next step is to specify the desired IP addresses for the network cards available on the Quantum DXi appliance. They will serve different types of traffic including Management, Data and Replication. Same traffic types can travel on different network card providing redundancy. Ideally the first two can provide fault tolerance for the Management traffic whereas the other two can work with Data and Replication traffic taking advantage of a bigger bandwidth. From the same panel also the option to use up to 10 IP addresses per network card and NAT IP addresses very useful especially with Replication scenarios where data needs to travel internet links. In this case the ability to specify a “natted” address as per firewall configuration. Last but not least even the option to add static routes for segmented networks.
Each network card has to be updated individually one at a time. In this case the first one is responsible for the Management traffic.
The second one can run any traffic and ideally the Data and Replication types can use different VLANs memberships. Naturally, the physical and virtual switches to which the Quantum DXi networks are connected need to support the same VLAN tagging.
The bottom of the page also offers an interactive picture which shows the current configuration.
Let’s review and confirm the network settings.
Once reviewed the changes can be committed. This requires a reboot of the Quantum DXi appliance to take effect.
There are other settings that are strictly related to the Quantum DXi network more in general: the Network time Protocol and the connection settings.
Let’s change this to a NTP server of choice. The “new” google service is working pretty solid.
When ready let’s make sure the NTP server configuration is working running the test. This will also show the number of “stratum”. The lower, the better as it means it “connects directly” with the source NTP Server!
From a Security perspective of course it is possible to control and update the password for different Consoles to access Web, Monitor and CLI.
The Quantum DXi appliance also provides the option to connect to the main console with an SSL connection either by a self generated certificate or a verified one through a Certification Authority.
Idle logon sessions can be limited from 1 to 600 minutes of inactivity.
Last but not least from a Security perspective the option to add a security notice which will appear to Admins connecting to the Quantum DXi using the CLI.
Now that the Quantum DXi network has been configured the next step is to start creating the NAS shares that can be used as a target from Backup applications to store and efficiently dedupe the data.