ESX/ESXi host requirements for link aggregation (1001938)
These concepts are used in an ESX/ESXi network environment.
To accomplish network redundancy, load balancing, and fail-over:
- Enable link aggregation (also known as Ether-Channel, Ethernet trunk, port channel, Multi-Link Trunking) on physical switch
- Set up the ESX/ESXi Virtual Switch configuration to be compatible with these concepts
Note: For Ether-Channel sample configuration and more detailed information, see Sample configuration of EtherChannel / Link aggregation with ESX/ESXi and Cisco/HP switches (1004048).
This describes ESX/ESXi link aggregation:
- ESX/ESXi host only supports NIC teaming on a single physical switch or stacked switches.
- Link aggregation is never supported on disparate trunked switches.
- The switch must be set to perform 802.3ad link aggregation in static mode ON and the virtual switch must have its load balancing method set to Route based on IP hash. Ensure that the participating NICs are connected to the ports configured on the same physical switch.
- Enabling either Route based on IP hash without 802.3ad aggregation or vice-versa disrupts networking, so you must make the changes to the virtual switch first. That way, the service console is not available, but the physical switch management interface is, so you can enable aggregation on the ports involved to restore networking.
- For more information on ESX networking concepts, see the VMware Virtual Networking Concepts.
- For more information on VLAN configuration for NIC teaming, see VLAN Configuration on Virtual Switch, Physical Switch, and Virtual Machines (1003806).
- To configure NIC teaming on ESX and a physical switch, see Sample configuration of EtherChannel / Link aggregation with ESX/ESXi and Cisco/HP switches (1004048).
- The only load balancing option for vSwitch or vDistributed Switch that can be used with EtherChannel is IP HASH.
- Do not use beacon probing with IP HASH load balancing.
- Do not configure standby or unused uplinks with IP HASH load balancing.
- VMware supports only one Etherchannel per vSwitch or vNetwork Distributed Switch (vDS).
- ESXi 5.1 supports LACP on VDS only. For more information, see Enabling or disabling LACP on an Uplink Port Group using the vSphere Web Client (2034277).