vSphere Networking Help

This is going to be an easy question, but when adding host networking, 2 of the 3 choices are:

Physical Network Adapter
Virtual Machine Port Group for a Standard Switch

What is the effective difference between these two settings? The wizard screens look exactly the same and ask the same questions.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Physical Network Adapter - this refers to the Network Interface in the Host Server (or uplink), which the Standard Switch or vSwitch must be connected to uplinked to.

A Virtual Machine portgroup, is a virtual port on the virtual switch.

see my EE Article

HOW TO: Configure basic networking on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) Host Server

If you want to read more on networking in VMware ESX/ESXi, then I recommend the following:-

I would also recommend reading through the Networking Sections of the following guides to gain a better understanding of Networking in VMware ESX/ESXi.

Pages 13 - 73 Discuss Networking in Detail, including trunks, VLANs, switches, and load balancing

ESXi Configuration Guide ESXi 4.1


Virtual Networking


Virtual Networking Concepts


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jschwegAuthor Commented:
Yes, I get that, but If I want to create a new vSwitch and tie a physical adapter to it, it appears that I can accomplish the same end result by using either of those choices. Just trying to understand.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
think of the standard switch, what we often refer to as a vSwitch.

This is the same as a physical switch in the physical world, a switch with many ports (24/48) that you can attach computers to - this is the Virtual Machine Portgroup.

virtual computers can share and communicate with each other across this switch, BUT if the virtual servers need to send data elsewhere in the network outside of the physical server, this vSwitch needs to be uplinked to a physical network interface in the host server.

does that make it clearer ?

A virtual machines network interface MUST be connected to a virtual machine portgroup (which is labelled), which is connected to a vSwitch, and the vSwitch must be connected to a physical network interface in the host server.

You cannot (well you can!) connect a virtual machine directly to a network interface on the host....

You want all your virtual machines to share a switch, which is connected.
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