VMware: ESXi Networking

Posted on 2013-12-23
Last Modified: 2014-01-06
I am configuring a new vSphere 5.1 environment, and trying to configure it using the same strategy as our other offices.

Office A (ProCurve switches):
* vSwitch0 -- VMkernel for management: Switch ports tagged on 1000, VMkernel tagged 1000.
* vSwitch1 -- VMkernel for NFS: Switch ports tagged on 1002, VMkernel tagged on 1002.
* vSwitch2 -- VM Port Groups for VM traffic: Switch ports tagged on 300,400,500,600, same for VM Port Group taggings.

Office B (Cisco switches):
* vSwitch0 -- VMkernel for management: Switch ports set to Access mode, untagged on 1000, VMkernel VLAN set to NONE.
* vSwitch1 -- VMkernel for NFS: Switch ports set to Access mode, untagged on 1002, VMkernel VLAN set to NONE.
* vSwitch2 -- VM Port Groups for VM traffic: Switch ports set to TRUNK on 300,400,500,600, same for VM Port Group taggings.

As you can see Office A has tagged traffic going to the VMkernels and Office B has untagged traffic going to the VMkernels.

What is the correct way? Does it matter which way you choose? Advantages vs. Disadvantages?
Question by:pzozulka
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Accepted Solution

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
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Sometimes it depends on your physical switch hardware, often you would use Tagged Frames, when running multiple VLANs down a trunk of more than one network interface.

If using a single access port, you would use untagged frames.

Personally, we would like to see configurations all the same across all hardware, which includes vSwitches.

Because I would guess, some of your vSwitches are Tagged, and some are Untagged. e.g. some you specify the VLAN, and others you do not.

It depends if you and your VMware Admin Team, understand your networking configuration, and you have it well documented.

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In both environments, when running multiple VLANs down a pipe, we use Tagged Frames. My question is more for the other connections, such as, the Management and NFS connections where only a single VLAN is used for each.

Each of those VMkernels are using NIC Teaming on the ESXi hosts across two same model switches. This is used in both environments. This strategy helps us with redundancy in case one of the switches die. This strategy implements the NIC Team - based on port ID so technically only one network interface is active at a time.

Having said that, it seems both Trunked and Access ports -- tagged or untagged should work OK for our new office setup using the above mentioned strategy. Please confirm.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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Yes, it will work fine.

Document it, print screen shots of networking, and print out and document configurations from ALL physical switches to aid, with any changes in the future.

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