2.1.e Implement and troubleshoot EtherChannel

2.1.e [iii] Load-balancing

http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/switches/lan/catalyst3750e_3560e/software/release/12-2_55_se/configuration/guide/3750escg/swethchl.html#wp1275731

Load-Balancing and Forwarding Methods

EtherChannel balances the traffic load across the links in a channel by reducing part of the binary pattern formed from the addresses in the frame to a numerical value that selects one of the links in the channel. EtherChannel load-balancing can use MAC addresses or IP addresses, source or destination addresses, or both source and destination addresses. The selected mode applies to all EtherChannels configured on the switch. You configure the load-balancing and forwarding method by using the port-channel load-balance global configuration command.

With source-MAC address forwarding, when packets are forwarded to an EtherChannel, they are distributed across the ports in the channel based on the source-MAC address of the incoming packet. Therefore, to provide load-balancing, packets from different hosts use different ports in the channel, but packets from the same host use the same port in the channel.

With destination-MAC address forwarding, when packets are forwarded to an EtherChannel, they are distributed across the ports in the channel based on the destination host’s MAC address of the incoming packet. Therefore, packets to the same destination are forwarded over the same port, and packets to a different destination are sent on a different port in the channel.

With source-and-destination MAC address forwarding, when packets are forwarded to an EtherChannel, they are distributed across the ports in the channel based on both the source and destination MAC addresses. This forwarding method, a combination source-MAC and destination-MAC address forwarding methods of load distribution, can be used if it is not clear whether source-MAC or destination-MAC address forwarding is better suited on a particular switch. With source-and-destination MAC-address forwarding, packets sent from host A to host B, host A to host C, and host C to host B could all use different ports in the channel.

With source-IP address-based forwarding, when packets are forwarded to an EtherChannel, they are distributed across the ports in the EtherChannel based on the source-IP address of the incoming packet. Therefore, to provide load-balancing, packets from different IP addresses use different ports in the channel, but packets from the same IP address use the same port in the channel.

With destination-IP address-based forwarding, when packets are forwarded to an EtherChannel, they are distributed across the ports in the EtherChannel based on the destination-IP address of the incoming packet. Therefore, to provide load-balancing, packets from the same IP source address sent to different IP destination addresses could be sent on different ports in the channel. But packets sent from different source IP addresses to the same destination IP address are always sent on the same port in the channel.

With source-and-destination IP address-based forwarding, when packets are forwarded to an EtherChannel, they are distributed across the ports in the EtherChannel based on both the source and destination IP addresses of the incoming packet. This forwarding method, a combination of source-IP and destination-IP address-based forwarding, can be used if it is not clear whether source-IP or destination-IP address-based forwarding is better suited on a particular switch. In this method, packets sent from the IP address A to IP address B, from IP address A to IP address C, and from IP address C to IP address B could all use different ports in the channel.

Different load-balancing methods have different advantages, and the choice of a particular load-balancing method should be based on the position of the switch in the network and the kind of traffic that needs to be load-distributed. In Figure 38-5, an EtherChannel of four workstations communicates with a router. Because the router is a single-MAC-address device, source-based forwarding on the switch EtherChannel ensures that the switch uses all available bandwidth to the router. The router is configured for destination-based forwarding because the large number of workstations ensures that the traffic is evenly distributed from the router EtherChannel.

Use the option that provides the greatest variety in your configuration. For example, if the traffic on a channel is going only to a single MAC address, using the destination-MAC address always chooses the same link in the channel. Using source addresses or IP addresses might result in better load-balancing.