Example Architectural Decision – Jumbo Frames with IP Storage (Use Jumbo Frames)

Problem Statement

When using IP based storage over a converged 10GB network, should Jumbo Frames be used?


1. Fully Supported storage

2. Maximum vSphere environment availability

3. Maximize performance where possible


1. Dedicated 10GB Storage Network which is highly available

2. Two 10GB connections per ESXi host dedicated to IP Storage

3. Storage array supports Jumbo Frames

4. Benefit of Jumbo Frames outweighs the complexity to implement/maintain/support

5. Network performance is constrained at an interrupt level


1. Maximum of two connections per ESXi host for IP Storage


1. Maximum performance and security

Architectural Decision

Use Jumbo Frames


1. There is a dedicated physical network for IP storage

2. All devices end to end support Jumbo Frames and this is enabled on all switches globally

3. As only IP storage traffic traverses the dedicated network, a larger MTU will not have any adverse effects on data network traffic.

4.  IP storage packets will not be fragmented or dropped as the storage network has been verified and configured to support Jumbo Frames. Thus avoiding costly re-transmits

5. No routing exists (or is required) for the IP storage network, as such the environment is flat and simple to support

6. IP Storage performance will not be constrained by MTU

7. A standard MTU of 1500 can optionally be configured at the VMKernel layer if performance is negatively impacted by Jumbo Frames without the need to modify the switch configuration which will support up to 9216 MTU

8. Increasing the MTU will decrease the number of packets required for the same bandwidth to help prevent IP storage network being constrained at an interrupt level


1. A dedicated network needs to be maintained for IP storage which reduces consolidation

2. Storage network needs to be configured for Jumbo Frames

3. The Storage controller needs to be configured for Jumbo Frames

4. The VMKernel/s need to be configured for Jumbo Frames

5. Where the networks becomes constrained at either an interrupt or throughput level, any benefit of Jumbo Frames may be reduced or lost and IP storage performance may degrade


1. Do not use Jumbo Frames

2. Use Jumbo Frames in a converged network (ie: No dedicated IP Storage switches)

Relates Articles

1. Example Architectural Decision – Jumbo Frames for IP Storage (Use Jumbo Frames)


Thanks to Rob McNab (IBM) and Peter McCrystal (IBM) for their input into this example architectural decision.

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