Marc Huppert

Stage XVII: 10GbE for all

After completing Stage XVI: Custom High Performance NAS it was time to invest again…..

I was able to get a full 10GbE network switch for my HomeLab/HomeDC. A Brocade VDX 6730-32….

This switch has 24 x 10GbE SFP+ ports and 8 x 8Gbit FCoE ports. The FCoE ports are not licensed at this time. Maybe a future upgrade……?

I connected two of the SFP+ ports as an uplink to my existing Cisco switch and used the other ones for my hosts.

Each ESXi host within my HomeDC has a dual port 10GbE SFP+. Before this network upgrade, I used only one port inside each ESXi host. Now I have enough ports available to support all 10GbE ports. Each ESXi host is now connected with both 10GbE ports (both are configured within my vDS as active ports). The two Apple Mac Minis in HomeDatacenter A are connected with DAC Cables and the host in HomeDatacenter B is connected via Fibre.

My custom High Performance NAS was created without a 10GbE connection. I ordered the official Synology E10G15 NIC. This NIC has a single 10GbE SFP+ port. The NIC is installed automatically within XPEnology and could be used from the GUI.

At this time, all my ESXi hosts and my NAS was connected via 10GbE. I used the Solarflare NIC located in my Thunderbolt PCIe Expansion box for a while. It worked great, but the noise from the internal fans was getting on my nerves. I wanted a 10GbE Solution not based on the PCIe Expansion. I found the Promise SanLink 2 Thunderbolt SFP+ box. This little beast has also an internal fan, but it is operating only at a very low speed.


10GbE Dual Port Thunderbolt 2 device. Before plug-in this thing, you need to install the drivers within Mac OS X. You can download it directly from Promise. A small utility for configuration settings can also be downloaded there. The configuration utility has these options:

Balanced: This is the default setting. It is con gured for balanced receiving and transmitting with little or no load on the CPU. For general use, not speci c to an application.

Low Latency: This will add some load to the CPU but provide faster updates. This setting is appropriate for network gaming or applications with low latency requirements.

High Throughput: This is optimized for very high transmitting and high receiving. This is place some load on the CPU but less than Low Latency. This is appropriate for applications that require high transmit rates for a single (or very few) connection.

Server: This is con gured for multiple client connections, video server, backup server, le server, etc. 

I configured mine with the Low Latency option. I shared the Promise SanLink2 10GbE box between my iMac and my work MacBookPro. I am able to achieve 500MB/s to my NAS. Very nice :-)

I am also upgrading my HomeLab / HomeDC with minimum one new host. Continue reading the next story here: Stage XVIII: VSAN + VVOLs