Microsoft NLB in VMware: alternative to multicast and unicast with the SafeKit software

Microsoft NLB in VMware: alternative to multicast and unicast with the SafeKit software

Microsoft NLB multicast mode

As explained in the knowledge base of VMware, in the case of Microsoft NLB multicast modeyou need to manually configure static ARP resolution at the switch or router for each port that connects to the cluster.  Deployment of the Microsoft NLB multicast mode in an unknown network environment can prove to be a complex and strenuous task.

Microsoft NLB unicast mode

With Microsoft NLB unicast mode, you must configure the ESXi/ESX host to not send RARP packets when any of its virtual machines is powered on. That's why, VMware recommends configuring the cluster to use NLB multicast mode with the previously mentioned problems.

Alternative with the virtual IP address of Evidian SafeKit

With the SafeKit software, network load balancing is implemented by filtering packets in the network stacks as with Microsoft NLB. The virtual IP address is set as an alias IP address on the NIC card of each physical or virtual machine. A single network is sufficient to implement network load balancing, without the  prerequisite of two network cards and two IP networks as required by Microsoft NLB unicast mode.

The virtual IP address configuration does not require any special network configuration and the network load balancing can run in any environment (thanks to the vmac_directed technology). An important feature when the solution must be deployed in an unknown infrastructure: unknown switches or routers, physical servers or virtual servers.

Note that the solution is available on Windows and Linux (even on Windows editions for PCs).

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