I have 3 ESXi hosts, each with 4 uplinks dedicated to a port group. I want to utilize each of these uplinks for incoming/outgoing traffic (load balancing).

From what I understand I need to setup link aggregation and on my Force10 switches (stacked) and set IP Hash based load balancing.

VMware KB article 1021492 shows how to do this with Force10.

What isn't clear to me is, how many port channels do I need to setup?

One per ESXi host, or one for the entire port group? Does it matter?


What isn't clear to me is, how many port channels do I need to setup?

One per ESXi host, or one for the entire port group? Does it matter?

You would configure one port channel per ESXi host. So, from your example, you would configure three individual port channels, each containing 4 switch ports.

  • you could setup two vSwitches, assign two pNIC's to each vSwitch and then you would setup two port-channels for each vSwitch (and thus have two port-channels per host). I've done this many times when some customers wanted to have physical NIC separation for DMZ or other types of traffic. Personally, I don't see the point but some people feel strongly about things like that. – Rex Oct 2 '12 at 20:04
  • @Rex I think you might be misunderstanding the question (or maybe I am), but it sounds like the OP is asking about how to configure the switch, not how to configure the ESXi hosts. – MDMarra Oct 2 '12 at 20:06
  • given my day, it's probably me doing the misunderstanding. :) – Rex Oct 2 '12 at 20:12

You would setup a LAG for each vSwitch. If you assign all 4 physical NIC's to a single vSwitch, the simple answer is to setup one LAG with all 4 NIC's. This would be per-host. You can assign multiple port-groups to a single vSwitch.

There are other ways to do this, so, it all depends. :)

Distributed vSwitch will change things if you go that route.

  • So with a standard vSwitch and 3 hosts I need 3 port channels, but with a Distributed vSwitch I need one. Is that correct? – Luke Oct 2 '12 at 19:47
  • @Luke Distributed vSwitches don't change your physical architecture. All that they do is make configuration/provisioning of hosts easier. – MDMarra Oct 2 '12 at 19:52
  • @MDMarra - from my understanding, VMWare only supports one port channel per vSwitch or per vDS. Using dvUplinks, you could have pNIC's on separate servers connected to the same vDS in a port-channel configuration.. maybe i'm wrong as I've never actually done it this way, but that was my understanding that it was possible and the 1 port-channel per vSwitch/vDS – Rex Oct 2 '12 at 20:02
  • But there would still need to be 12 ports broken down into three separate port channels on the Force 10 switch. – MDMarra Oct 2 '12 at 20:03
  • To my chagrin, I haven't done much with vDS, but my understanding is that it basically creates a single vSwitch across all hosts. Given that and the single port-channel per vDS, having a single vDS used by all hosts would only require a single port-channel to be configured on both sides.. We're going off topic and should probably take this conversation somewhere else.. :) You can crush my inferior intellect there and I can run home after with my tail between my legs if I'm wrong :) – Rex Oct 2 '12 at 20:14

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