Switch meshing ProCurve switches unless…

… you are using those switches for routing. Great so the only option for improving my networking environment for load balancing my ESX environment was crushed by these two HP documents: Switch Meshing and LAN Aggregation Through Switch Meshing.

Apparently there is a whole list of requirements for switch meshing. This list is most clearly defined in Switch Meshing (starting from page to 5 and ending at page 7). Just a short beginning of the list:

  • A meshed switch can have some ports in the meshed domain and other ports outside the meshed domain. That is, ports within the meshed domain must be configured for meshing, while ports outside the meshed domain must not be configured for meshing.
  • Meshed links must be point-to-point switch links.
  • On any switch, all meshed ports belong to the same mesh domain.
  • A switch can have up to 24 meshed ports.
  • A mesh domain can include up to 12 switches.
  • Up to five inter-switch, meshed hops are allowed in the path connecting two nodes through a switch mesh domain. A path of six or more meshed hops between two nodes is unusable. However, in most mesh topologies, there would normally be a shorter path available, and paths of five hops or fewer through the same mesh will continue to operate.
  • ….

I have four HP ProCurve 5300 series switches and they all do routing. Switch meshing was my only option left after exploring NIC teaming articles from Scott Lowe and Lukas Kubin. Those articles describe perfectly how you could do NIC teaming and VLAN trunking on one ProCurve switch, but not how to do it with two of them. After some searching the only option to accomplish what I wanted was a HP patented technique called switch meshing.

So this is not an article explaining how to configure switch meshing for use with ESX, but to warn people for all the requirements. If your environment complies with all the requirements made for switch meshing the two documents named above will do sufficiently as far as it goes how to configure and what switch meshing exactly is.

If I ever end up in an environment where I am able to configure switch meshing I will certainly post how I did it. During my search for what switch meshing was I found out about another technology called XRRP. With that technology at least I can make a really good failover for my gateways, but later more on that.

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