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Host requirements for link aggregation for ESXi and ESX (1001938)

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These concepts are used in an ESXi/ESX network environment.

To accomplish network redundancy, load balancing, and fail-over, you must:

  • Enable link aggregation on the physical switch.

    Note: Link aggregation is also known as Ether-Channel, Ethernet trunk, port channel, and Multi-Link Trunking.

  • Set up the ESXi/ESX 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 Control Protocol (LACP) with ESXi/ESX and Cisco/HP switches (1004048).

This describes ESXi/ESX link aggregation:

  • ESXi/ESX 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 ESXi/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 ESXi/ESX and a physical switch, see Sample configuration of EtherChannel / Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) with ESXi/ESX and Cisco/HP switches (1004048).
  • The LACP support in vSphere Distributed Switch 5.1 supports only IP hash load balancing. In vSphere Distributed Switch 5.5, all load balancing algorithms of LACP are supported. For more information, see LACP Support on a vSphere Distributed Switch.
  • 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 bond per Virtual Standard Switch (vSS). Prior to vSphere 5.5, when using Virtual Distributed Switches (vDS), each ESXi/ESX host can only have one etherchannel bond configured per vDS.
  • ESXi 5.1, 5.5, 6.0 and 6.5 support LACP on vDS only. For more information, see Enabling or disabling LACP on an Uplink Port Group using the vSphere Web Client (2034277).

Additional Information

For translated versions of this article, see:


fail-over load-balncing no-network-redundancy route-based-on-ip-hash load-balancing

Update History

05/14/2010 - Added ESX/ESXi 3.5 and ESX/ESXi 4.0 to Products. 10/14/2012 - Added information on LACP for ESXi 5.1 to solution 11/08/2012 - Added ESXi 5.1 and vCenter Server 5.1 to products 12/14/2015 - Added ESXi 6.0 and vCenter Server 6.0 to products

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