Search the VMware Knowledge Base (KB)
View by Article ID

VLAN configuration on virtual switches, physical switches, and virtual machines (1003806)

  • 51 Ratings


This article describes the various VLAN tagging methods used with ESXi/ESX.

Virtual LAN (VLAN) implementation is recommended in ESXi/ESX networking environments because:
  • It integrates ESXi/ESX into a pre-existing network
  • It secures network traffic
  • It reduces network traffic congestion
  • iSCSI traffic requires an isolated network


There are three methods of VLAN tagging that can be configured on ESXi/ESX:

External Switch Tagging (EST)

Virtual Switch Tagging (VST)

Note: The Native VLAN is not tagged and thus requires no VLAN ID to be set on the ESXi/ESX portgroup.

Virtual Guest Tagging (VGT)

  • All VLAN tagging is performed by the virtual machine.
  • You must install an 802.1Q VLAN trunking driver inside the virtual machine.
  • VLAN tags are preserved between the virtual machine networking stack and external switch when frames are passed to/from virtual switches.
  • Physical switch ports are set to trunk port.
  • For more information, see Sample configuration of virtual machine (VM) VLAN Tagging (VGT Mode) in ESX (1004252).
  • See this example snippet of code from a Cisco switch port configuration:

    switchport trunk encapsulation dot1q
    switchport mode trunk
    switchport trunk allowed vlan x,y,z
    spanning-tree portfast trunk
For additional information on these configurations, see VMware ESX Server 3: 802.1Q VLAN Solutions.

Additional Information

For translated versions of this article, see:


esx esx-networking network-security

See Also

Update History

02/08/2013 - Added ESXi 5.x and vCenter Server 5.x to Products 04/18/2013 - Added link to article 1003825

Request a Product Feature

To request a new product feature or to provide feedback on a VMware product, please visit the Request a Product Feature page.


  • 51 Ratings

Did this article help you?
This article resolved my issue.
This article did not resolve my issue.
This article helped but additional information was required to resolve my issue.

What can we do to improve this information? (4000 or fewer characters)

Please enter the Captcha code before clicking Submit.
  • 51 Ratings