NIC teaming for ESX can be configured for both network load balancing and for failover.

This is an ideal configuration for production environments in which you have more than one NIC(s) installed in the ESX host machine

In case of a failover configuration, the NICs are configured in active-passive mode.

In case of load balancing, all the involved NICs are in active mode and the traffic from the host is distributed among the teamed NICs.

NOTE: Two or more NIC cards are required to use NIC teaming in ESX Server.

Step 1: Create a new vSwitch

On the corresponding ESX host, click Configuration – Networking – Add Networking

Add the required NICs to the switch.

Select the vSwitch from the Configuration -> networking . Select Network adapters and click on add.

  • In the Add Adapter Wizard select the NIC card which needs to be added to the switch and click on next.
  • If the NIC card is already attached to another      virtual switch, it will be removed from it and added to the new one.
  • In the failover order, we can configure the active and standby adapters if required. Click next and finish the configuration.

Step 2: Configure teaming
Configuring teaming in ESX Server will implement load balancing for outbound traffic only.

For implementing the same for inbound traffic; the required configurations need to be done on the physical switch to which the NICs are actually connected.

Switch configuration steps:
Suppose two NICs vnic0 and vnic1 are added to a virtual switch vswitch0. vnic0 and vnic1 are physical adapters connected to switch ports gi0/23 and gi0/24

Create a port channel in the switch for the ports.

Commands used for the same in Cisco Catalyst IOS-based physical switches are given below:

s3(config)#int port-channel1 s3(config-if)#description NIC team for ESX server s3(config-if)#int gi0/23 s3(config-if)#channel-group 1 mode on s3(config-if)#int gi0/24 s3(config-if)#channel-group 1 mode on

This creates port-channel1 and assigns GigabitEthernet0/23 and GigabitEthernet0/24 into a team.

Ensure that the load balancing mechanism that is used by both the switch and ESX Server matches. To find out the current load balancing mechanism of the Cisco switch, use this command in enable mode:

show etherchannel load-balance

This will report the current load balancing algorithm in use by the switch. We can either use IP based or MAC based load balancing . IP based option gives better utilization across the members of the NIC team than some of the other options.

Set the switch load-balancing algorithm using one of the following commands in global configuration mode:

port-channel load-balance src-dst-ip (to enable IP-based load balancing) port-channel load-balance src-mac (to enable MAC-based load balancing)

// Now the vSwitch is created and the physical switch is configured for teaming. Further required configuration for the vSwitch is given here:

Esx configuration for teaming

The load balancing mechanism in physical switch and ESX server should match for teaming to be functional.
Open the corresponding virtual switch properties. Select the Vswitch and then click edit

Select the NIC teaming tab. Choose the appropriate load balancing mechanism from the drop down menu

If IP based load balancing is configured in switch , select the option “Route based on IP hash”

If MAC address based load balancing is configured in switch, select the aoption “Route based on MAC hash”

Network Failover Detection: Link Status Only

Notify Switches: YES

Failback: YES

Failover Order (both adapters Active)

Click Ok

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