Wednesday, March 24, 2010

NIC teaming in ESX Server

NIC teaming in ESX Server

(Extracted from VMware KB Article: 1004088)


This article discusses how to configure NIC teaming. A NIC team can share the load of traffic between physical and virtual networks among some or all of its members, as well as provide passive failover in the event of a hardware failure or a network outage.


To utilize NIC teaming, two or more network adapters must be uplinked to a virtual switch. The main advantages of NIC teaming are:

  • Increased network capacity for the virtual switch hosting the team.

  • Passive failover in the event one of the adapters in the team goes down.
To configure NIC teaming using the Virtual Infrastructure Client:

  1. Highlight the host and click on the Configuration tab.

  2. Click the Networking link.

  3. Click Properties next to the virtual switch.

  4. On the Ports tab, highlight the name of the virtual switch and click Add.

  5. Select the appropriate network adapters and click Next.

  6. Ensure the selected adapters are under Active Adapters.

  7. Click Next.

  8. Click Finish.

  9. On the Ports tab, highlight the name of the virtual switch and click Edit.

  10. Click the NIC Teaming tab.

  11. The default load balancing policy is Route based on the originating virtual port ID. If the physical switch is using link aggregation, Route based on IP hash load balancing must be used. For more information, see ESX Server requirements for link aggregation (1001938).

Additional Information

Sample environment using four network adapters:
Virtual switch Portgroup # Uplinks
1 Service Console 1
2 Virtual Machine 2
3 Vmotion 1
The NIC team used for the virtual machine network provides extra capacity as well as failover and keeps the portgroup connected to the network if one of the network adapters fails. The VMotion uplink is ideally connected to its own subnet along with other ESX Server host's VMotion ports to separate its traffic from the virtual machine and Service Console traffic and maximize performance.
An additional network adapter can be uplinked to virtual switch 1 to provide for failover on the Service Console (management) interface, or to a new virtual switch 4 to provide for iSCSI or NFS storage (ideally on its own subnet).

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