PowerConnect 5324 and ethernet bonding

Michael Halligan michael.halligan at mypointscorp.com
Sun Apr 10 20:48:28 CDT 2005

Do yourself a favor. Set fire to the Dell, and buy a Cisco.  At least with the 5224s, Dell was
supposed to support 802.3ad, which the linux kernel supports fine.. the 5224 as of 6 months ago
still did not properly work with 802.1ad, we bought cisco 2948-ts-ge's to replace all of our Dell
switches, and found a good use for the Dell switches : 

Monitor stands.

But seriously.. if you're using redhat, the simplest way to use bonding from a reliability point of view
is to have : 

/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-bond0 : 

/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth* : 

/etc/modules.conf with a 2.4 kernel : 
[root at sf-dnsutil0 bitpusher]# cat /etc/modules.conf
alias bond0 bonding
alias eth0 tg3
alias eth1 tg3
options bonding primary=eth0 mode=1 arp_interval=250 arp_ip_target=UPSTREAM IP ADDRESS
probeall bond0 eth0 eth1 eth2 bonding

/etc/modprobe.conf with a 2.6 kernel : 
alias bond0 bonding
alias eth0 tg3
alias eth1 tg3
alias eth2 e100
options bonding primary=eth0 mode=1 arp_interval=250 arp_ip_target=UPSTREAM IP ADDRESS
install bond0 /sbin/modprobe eth0; /sbin/modprobe eth1; /sbin/modprobe eth2; /sbin/modprobe bonding; /bin/true

Make sure that everything is in the same broadcast domain.. if you have multiple switches you're doing this on, they
should be cross-connected between each other to prevent flapping.. 

If Dell has figured out their head from their rear, then I'd look into
using 802.3ad which is actually a very useful link load balancy/redundancy protocol.. But, we junked our
switches because dell couldn't figure out how spanning tree worked well enough to implement it in their firmware..
I have heard rumours that you can grab the foundry or SMC firmware, throw them on the dell switches, and make them
reliable since they're all remanufacturered from ACCTON.. Food for thought.

Michael T. Halligan
MyPoints Beta
Infrastructure Engineer

-----Original Message-----
From: linux-poweredge-bounces at dell.com on behalf of Greg Dickie
Sent: Sun 4/10/2005 12:22 PM
To: Tom Cross
Cc: linux-poweredge at dell.com
Subject: Re: PowerConnect 5324 and ethernet bonding

Haven't played with it in RHEL 4 but if you use bonding mode=6 you
should not need to do any setup at all on the switch. This works if you
don't need to load balance traffic coming from different subnets. Also,
I haven't tried it on our 5324s but look for trunk setup. 


On Sun, 2005-04-10 at 13:34 -0500, Tom Cross wrote:
> I have a Dell PowerEdge 2800 with Redhat Enterprise v4.0 installed.  I
> also have a Dell Power Connect 5324 managed switch.
> I would like to take advantage of the dual gigabit ports on the 2800 by
> using ethernet bonding mostly for performance reasons.  They are both
> there, I would like to use them.
> How do I configure my Dell "managed" switch to handle two ethernet ports
> as one?
> The only thing I could find in the documentation that looked close was
> using "channel groups".
> Using these commands:
>         # interface ethernet g14
>         if# channel-group 1 mode on
>         if# exit
>         # interface ethernet g16
>         if# channel-group 1 mode on
>         if# exit
> Both ports are now in channel group 1.  However, as I watch my stats,
> the switch appears to be sending all the packets to port 16 (eth1) while
> linux is sending them out equally between the two.
> Is there a way to tell the switch to equally distribute the packets
> between the two ethernet ports?
> Thanks for all/any comments!!

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