ONTAP 9.14

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Benefits of using VLANs in iSCSI configurations

A VLAN consists of a group of switch ports grouped together into a broadcast domain. A VLAN can be on a single switch or it can span multiple switch chassis. Static and dynamic VLANs enable you to increase security, isolate problems, and limit available paths within your IP network infrastructure.

When you implement VLANs in large IP network infrastructures, you derive the following benefits:

  • Increased security.

    VLANs enable you to leverage existing infrastructure while still providing enhanced security because they limit access between different nodes of an Ethernet network or an IP SAN.

  • Improved Ethernet network and IP SAN reliability by isolating problems.

  • Reduction of problem resolution time by limiting the problem space.

  • Reduction of the number of available paths to a particular iSCSI target port.

  • Reduction of the maximum number of paths used by a host.

    Having too many paths slows reconnect times. If a host does not have a multipathing solution, you can use VLANs to allow only one path.

Dynamic VLANs

Dynamic VLANs are MAC address-based. You can define a VLAN by specifying the MAC address of the members you want to include.

Dynamic VLANs provide flexibility and do not require mapping to the physical ports where the device is physically connected to the switch. You can move a cable from one port to another without reconfiguring the VLAN.

Static VLANs

Static VLANs are port-based. The switch and switch port are used to define the VLAN and its members.

Static VLANs offer improved security because it is not possible to breach VLANs using media access control (MAC) spoofing. However, if someone has physical access to the switch, replacing a cable and reconfiguring the network address can allow access.

In some environments, it is easier to create and manage static VLANs than dynamic VLANs. This is because static VLANs require only the switch and port identifier to be specified, instead of the 48-bit MAC address. In addition, you can label switch port ranges with the VLAN identifier.

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