Physical switch requirement changes for Azure Stack HCI
Published Mar 15 2023 10:15 AM 8,882 Views
Microsoft

Hello everyone, I’m Basel Kablawi, PM on the Azure Edge and Platform - Core Networking team, here to announce the latest updates to the physical network switch requirements! 

 

Our ecosystem of physical switches is designed to help ensure the compatibility and reliability of network switches with Azure Stack HCI, Microsoft's hyperconverged infrastructure solution. By participating in this program, vendors can validate that their physical switches meet the network requirements for rock-solid interoperability with Azure Stack HCI solutions. 

 

In this blog, we’ll discuss how we’re reclassifying the physical network switches that meet the requirements of Azure Stack HCI to answer the following questions, such as: 

 

  • “Do I need a datacenter switch for every deployment architecture?” 
  • “Does my management and compute switch need storage capabilities?” 
  • “Are all 22H2 requirements needed for switchless configurations?"
  • And other related questions...

One of the core benefits of this program is helping you have a seamless deployment and operational experience. This eliminates the risk of switch compatibility issues that increase deployment and troubleshooting times. You know that when you select a physical switch, Azure Stack HCI has everything it needs for the highest quality experience.

 

Our previous approach required all devices to support each network requirement, regardless of the type of traffic the switch was used for. We heard your feedback, and this led us to update how we think about physical switches connected to Azure Stack HCI nodes.

 

What are we changing?

As with the recent change we made to network adapters, physical switches will now be aligned based on the traffic type that they carry. This means more, low-cost and high-quality devices will be available for selection over time. The traffic types are as follows: 

  • Management traffic
  • Compute traffic - This can be broken down into two categories:
    • Standard virtual machine traffic
    • SDN enabled virtual machine traffic
  • Storage traffic 

Here's an example of the new structure which shows how the specific requirements map to a device carrying a certain type of network traffic:

 

Basel_Kablawi_1-1678823072679.png

 

For an updated mapping of the requirements, please see the documentation on our requirements page.

 

What does this mean for me?

This change is intended to expand our switch ecosystem by adding more validated switches. With this new approach, there is no more “one size fits all. You simply pick a switch that has the required capabilities for your specific role types 

 

What if my switch isn’t listed in the catalog?

If you are utilizing a switch that currently is not on the list, please contact your physical switch vendor. 

 

Is my device still validated for Azure Stack HCI?

All devices listed (21H2/22H2) at the time of this blog are still validated for Azure Stack HCI. Previously certified devices met all the requirements for each role type and as a result remain validated with these changes. All future devices will be validated according to our updated requirements and testing tool results. 

 

Summary

With the changes to our switch program, you can use the new validation structure to identify the best switches for your intended workloads, configuration, and more. 

 

As always, if you have feedback, please leave a comment in the chat below. 

 

Thanks for reading! 

Basel Kablawi 

 

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‎Mar 15 2023 03:34 PM
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