ESXi Physical to Virtual NIC Ports Configuration?



  • I'm still very new to deploying/configuring/managing ESXi hosts, so I'm unsure about the best method for managing the networks on our hosts.

    One of our old hosts is configured with 3 physical NIC ports in a static trunk, and the "management network" AND the "guest traffic" are all part of the same vSwitch. We've been using the server in this way for at least the last 3-4 years.

    On the new host I've deployed a few days ago, I'm currently configuring the networking and unsure of the best route to take... My initial thought was to configure the host with two vSwitches:

    • vSwitch0 will be for management (with no VLAN ID assigned, and a static IP; let's say 10.1.10.20). This has two physical NICs connected (vmnic0 and vmnic1, which are connected to physical switch ports 1 and 2 which are trk1)
    • vSwitch1 will be for guest traffic (with 8 different "VM Networks" configured; one for each VLAN that will talk on this host - as well as our other hosts; it's the same on all three hosts). vSwitch1 will have a static IP of 10.1.10.25. This has 6 physical NICs connected (vmnic2-vmnic7, which are connected to physical switch ports 3-8 which are trk2)

    Both vSwitches are configured like this for "teaming and failover":

    • Load balancing: Route based on IP hash
    • Network failure detection: Link status only
    • Notify switches: Yes
    • Failback: No

    Is this standard practice, or should I consider doing it a different way?



  • The approach seems perfectly fine, dual nics teamed for management functionality and the rest teamed for your guests.

    6 NICs though seems like a lot. Are these 10/100/1000? Is your switch capable of supporting a team that large?



  • Thanks for the quick reply and info Dustin!

    Yep, our switch is capable of supporting trunks with up to 8 ports. But if you think it'd be better to make a smaller trunk instead (4 ports instead of 6?) and free up two more ports for other devices, I'd definitely consider it.



  • @shuey said in ESXi Physical to Virtual NIC Ports Configuration?:

    Thanks for the quick reply and info Dustin!

    Yep, our switch is capable of supporting trunks with up to 8 ports. But if you think it'd be better to make a smaller trunk instead (4 ports instead of 6?) and free up two more ports for other devices, I'd definitely consider it.

    I'd leave at least a single NIC free for lab purposes. Where you can perform a restore to a separated vLAN and test system functionality, patches etc.



  • Yeah, 6 NICs for VM network traffic seems like overkill.

    Don't forget vMotion traffic, which I'm assuming you will be utilizing. You will need at a minimum a vmkernel port on one of your vSwitches, and optionally (and recommended depending on your size) dedicated NIC(s) in place for this as well.



  • Thanks for the feedback guys. We don't have a "Plus" license, so we don't have the ability to do vMotion :(.



  • @shuey

    Ah, sorry, bad assumption on my part.



  • @crustachio said in ESXi Physical to Virtual NIC Ports Configuration?:

    @shuey

    Ah, sorry, bad assumption on my part.

    No worries - I work for one of those companies that falls outside what's probably considered the "norm" - I've been here for over 5 years so I'm pretty used to it now 😃


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