As we explained previously in our "Understand the basics of network management on VMware ESXi 6.7" article, your virtual machines can have access to the physical network thanks to several layers : port groups, virtual switches (vSwitch) , ...
In this tutorial, you will see how to create a new virtual switch with a new port group and connect your virtual machines to another physical network if desired using additional physical network cards.
At the moment, our VMware ESXi hypervisor has 2 port groups.
These are the 2 existing port groups by default :
Currently, our hypervisor has 2 network adapters as you can see below.
Note : if your server has a network card with 2 RJ45 connectors, VMware ESXi will display 2 physical network cards (vmnic).
If you go to the "Virtual switches" tab and click on "vSwitch0" (the virtual switch created automatically during the installation of VMware ESXi), you will see that its topology contains :
On VMware ESXi, you can only create standard virtual switches (vSS).
Unlike VMware vSphere which will also allow you to create distributed virtual switches (vDS).
For this tutorial, we added 2 physical network cards to our server.
In the image below, these are the network cards : vmnic2 and vmnic3.
When you want to add a new port group and create a new virtual switch on VMware ESXi, you need to create your new virtual switch first.
Indeed, if you click on "Add port group", you will see that you will not be able to create a new virtual switch at the same time.
As you can see, VMware ESXi only offers you virtual switches (vSwitch) that already exist on your hypervisor.
Note : you can create multiple port groups on a single virtual switch if desired and isolate network traffic from them by using a different VLAN ID on each port group.
So, you need to start by creating a new virtual switch.
To do this, in "Networking -> Virtual switches", click on : Add standard virtual switch.
In the "Add standard virtual switch - [new vSwitch name]" window that appears, select the uplink (physical NIC) you want to associate with this virtual switch.
Note that you can add uplinks (physical NICs) later to this virtual switch if desired.
So, in our case, we choose "vmnic2" for the moment.
When you create a switch, you can specify :
Note : if you want to virtualize a hypervisor (VMware ESXi, Hyper-V, ...), it's important that the 3 security settings mentioned above are configured on "Accept" so that network access and your nested virtual machines Internet access to work properly.
Once the virtual standard switch (vSS) is configured, click Add.
The "Virtual switch [vSwitch name] was successfully created" message appears.
As you can see, by default, if you assign only one physical network adapter (physical NIC) to a virtual standard switch (vSS), a warning will appear :
This virtual switch has no uplink redundancy. You should add another uplink adapter.
To fix this issue, make sure you have an additional (unassigned) physical NIC on your VMware ESXi host and click : Add Uplink.
If an additional physical network adapter (physical NIC) is available (not currently used by your host), this will appear in green as "Uplink 2".
In our case, this physical NIC is named "vmnic3" on our VMware ESXi host.
When you modify a standard virtual switch (vSS), you will find the same settings already explained previously, as well as new settings.
For the "NIC teaming" section, this allows you to configure how faults concerning network links should be detected and to choose whether you want to do fault tolerance and/or load balancing .
For detailed information on the settings in this "NIC teaming" section, refer to step "4. Associate network adapters (NIC Teaming)" of our tutorial on the basics of network management on VMware ESXi 6.7.
In the "Traffic shaping" section, you will find several additional settings :
Warning : in the case of a standard virtual switch (vSS), as is the case here, the bandwidth limitation will only be applied to outgoing traffic.
To also limit the bandwidth for incoming traffic, you must use a virtual distributed switch (vDS). Which is only available with VMware vSphere and not on a single VMware ESXi host.
Once the additional physical network adapter has been added and the desired settings changed (if applicable), click Save.
The "Virtual switch [vSwitch name] was successfully saved" message appears.
At the top of the page, you will see that the number of uplinks is 2 instead of 1.
If you look at the bottom of this page, you will find a "vSwitch topology" section where you will easily see that 2 physical adapters (physical NICs) are assigned to this one.
For you to be able to connect your virtual machines to your new virtual switch (My vSwitch), you must add at least one port group to it.
To do this, in "Networking -> Port groups", click on : Add port group.
Provide a name for your new port group, select the new virtual switch you just created, and click Add.
As you can see, when you add a new port group, there are several settings available :
The "Port group [port group name] was successfully created" message appears.
Now that the virtual network is correctly configured on your VMware ESXi hypervisor, you just need to modify the configuration of your virtual machine and select your new port group for the virtual network adapter of this one.
In our case, we select our new port group named "My port groups".
If you go back to "Networking -> Virtual switches" and click on the name of your new virtual switch (My vSwitch in our case), you will be able to see the name of your virtual machine appear in the "vSwitch topology" section. .
Note that VMware ESXi shows you all VMs (referenced in your inventory) using the relevant port group, although some VMs may be powered off (shut down) at the moment.
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