6.3. Using 1 GbE and 10 GbE NetworksΒΆ

1 Gbit/s Ethernet networks can deliver 110-120 MB/s, which is close to a single drive performance on sequential I/O. Since several drives on a single server can deliver higher throughput than a single 1 Gbit/s Ethernet link, networking may become a bottleneck.

However, in real-life applications and virtualized environments, sequential I/O is not common (backups mainly) and most of the I/O operations are random. Thus, typical HDD throughput is usually much lower, close to 10-20 MB/s, according to statistics accumulated from hundreds of servers by a number of major hosting companies.

Based on these two observations, we recommend to use one of the following network configurations (or better):

  • A 1 Gbit/s link per each 2 HDDs on the node. Although if you have 1 or 2 HDDs on a node, two bonded network adapters are still recommended for better reliability (see Setting Up Network Bonding).
  • A 10 Gbit/s link per node for the maximum performance.

The table below illustrates how these recommendations may apply to a node with 1 to 6 HDDs:

HDDs 1 GbE Links 10 GbE Links
1 1 (2 for HA) 1 (2 for HA)
2 1 (2 for HA) 1 (2 for HA)
3 2 1 (2 for HA)
4 2 1 (2 for HA)
5 3 1 (2 for HA)
6 3 1 (2 for HA)


  1. For the maximum sequential I/O performance, we recommend to use one 1Gbit/s link per each hard drive, or one 10Gbit/s link per node.
  2. It is not recommended to configure 1 Gbit/s network adapters to use non-default MTUs (e.g., 9000-byte jumbo frames). Such settings require switch configuration and often lead to human errors. 10 Gbit/s network adapters, on the other hand, need to be configured to use jumbo frames to achieve full performance.
  3. For maximum efficiency, use the balance-xor bonding mode with the layer3+4 hash policy. If you want to use the 802.3ad bonding mode, also configure your switch to use the layer3+4 hash policy.