Installing some ESX 4.0 servers using Emulex CNAs connected to Nexus 5020s. We're also using the Nexus 1000v. Each server has two CNAs (single port) with each one connected to a different Nexus 5K. We are using the 5K and CNAs for both 10Gb Ethernet and FCoE. What's the best way to do redundant paths?
I can't do vPC. If I put the two connections from a server in to a vPC I can't bind a vFC to it. The 5K won't let me. So I thought I'd use vPC-HM on the 1000v side. But, am I correct in reading that if you do this you still have to put each port in a channel-group on the 5K side by itself? If so, that won't work either due to the vFC issue.
If I just uplink both CNAs to the same system-uplink profile I can't duplicate frames (and a loop).
What are my options?
Use vPC-HM. You do not have to create a channel group on the Nexus 5020s for vPC-HM to work. You do need to have CDP enabled to make the configuration easier. The great thing about vPC-HM is that the N1KV does all the load balancing not the upstream switches.
Now if you want to later add more connections to the uplink say another connection from switch 1 and switch 2 and load balance across 4 connections then you will need an etherchannel on the upstream switch. The documentation does a good job of explaining this scenario.