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Managing Network Datalinks in Oracle® Solaris 11.3

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Updated: December 2017

Link Aggregations and IPMP: Feature Comparison

Link aggregation and IPMP are different technologies that achieve improved network performance and maintain network availability.

The following table presents a general comparison between link aggregation and IPMP.

Link Aggregation
Network technology type
Layer 2 (link layer).
Layer 3 (IP layer).
Configuration tool
Link-based failure detection
Probe-based failure detection
Trunk: Based on LACP, targeting the immediate peer host or switch.
DLMP: Supported. ICMP-based, targeting any defined systems in the same subnet as DLMP addresses, across multiple levels of intervening Layer 2 switches.
ICMP-based, targeting any defined system in the same IP subnet as test addresses across multiple levels of intervening Layer 2 switches.
Use of standby interfaces
Trunk: Not supported.
DLMP: Not supported.
Supported. Standby interfaces can be configured.
Span multiple switches
Trunk: Supported. However, requires switch vendor extensions.
DLMP: Supported.
Switch configuration
Trunk: Required.
DLMP: Not required.
Not required.
Back-to-back configuration
Trunk: Supported.
DLMP: Not supported.
Not supported.
Media types supported
Load-spreading support
Trunk: Supported and controlled by the administrator by using the dladm command. Inbound load spreading is supported.
DLMP: Supported across clients and VNICs of the aggregation. However, load spreading by individual clients and VNICs over the aggregation is not supported.
Supported. Controlled by the kernel. Inbound load spreading is indirectly affected by the source address selection.
Level of support when integrating with VNICs
Excellent support. Aggregation is configured in the control domain or the global zone only and is transparent to the zones.
Supported. However, VNIC properties such as bandwidth limit, dedicated Rx or Tx rings, and link protection cannot be enforced on an IPMP group.
Requires multiple VNICs to be assigned to the zones and needs to be configured in every zone.
User defined flows for resource management
Not supported.
Link protection
Not supported.
Protocol requirements

In link aggregations, incoming traffic is spread over the multiple links that comprise the aggregation in trunk mode. Therefore, networking performance is enhanced as more NICs are installed to add links to the aggregation.

DLMP aggregations span multiple switches. As a Layer 2 technology, aggregations integrate well with other Oracle Solaris virtualization technologies.

IPMP's traffic uses the IPMP interface's data addresses as they are bound to the available active interfaces. If, for example, all the data traffic is flowing between only two IP addresses but not necessarily over the same connection, then adding more NICs will not improve performance with IPMP because only two IP addresses remain usable.