Configure Trunk Ports in ESXi Server

Configure Trunk Ports in ESXi Server

High availability is a major requirement of every organization. Today I will talk about configuring redundant and high speed links in ESXi server. After installing ESXi 5.0 server in physical server, you might want to connect your ESXi host with Ether channel switch. Ether channel or bundle is a technology used in switches that combines multiple ports in switch and work like single link but at the same time doubling the speed. Similarly, ESXi server has a feature called NIC teaming. The NIC teaming combines multiple NICs of physical machine doubling the speed and providing redundant links. Today we will configure NIC teaming in ESXi server. In addition, we will configure Ether channel and Trunk ports in Cisco switch. To configure these technologies its better if you have basic knowledge of VLANs and Ether channel.

Configure Trunk Ports in ESXi Server

The diagram below shows our Network scenario. We have one physical server with two NICs. ESXi 5.0 is installed in this physical host. There are different VLANs in vSwitch 0. We will combine two NICs of physical server and two ports of switch and then configure trunk ports. This combination of two NICs in physical server is called NIC teaming. Similarly, combination of ports in switch is called link aggregation or Ether channel in Cisco terms and Bundle in Juniper terms. The IEEE standard for Ether channel or bundle is called 802.1AX. Here we will configure Ether channel in cisco switch.

Configure Trunk Ports in ESXi Server

First, lets configure Ether channel in Cisco 2960 switch. The ESXi 5.0 server doesn’t support LACP so we will configure link aggregation statically without defining dynamic protocols (like LACP and PAGP). We will leave native VLAN as default.

SwitchA(config)#int range fastEthernet 0/1 – 2
SwitchA(config-if-range)#channel-group 1 mode on
SwitchA(config-if-range)#switchport mode trunk
SwitchA(config)#interface port-channel 1
SwitchA(config-if)#switchport mode trunk

Now, lets configure the ESXi server NIC teaming. The picture below shows our current scenario.

Configure Trunk Ports in ESXi Server

Click properties of vSwitch0,


then select Network Adapters tab.

network adapters

Now click the Add button and select the network adapter that you want to team up with existing adapter.

Select Adapter

After selecting the adapter click Next button.

adapter failover order

Here you can change the order of adapters differently for different port groups. We will leave the default and click Nextbutton and click Finish.

vSwitch properties

In vSwitch0 properties box, select vSwitch and click Edit button.

vswitch failover

vSwitch0 properties dialog box opens. Select NIC Teaming tab here. Select route based on IP hash on load balancing option under policy exceptions. Leave other options as it is and click OK button. We have created trunk ports in ESXi server as well.