7

As the title says, is there a way to bridge multiple physical ports in ESXi 5.x such that they are not load balanced? I essentially want each physical port to be "plugged" into two separate ports on the vSwitch so traffic is passed in from pNic1 and out to pNic2.

I do understand that under "normal" network conditions this would likely create a network loop, but in this case since pNic2 is plugged directly into the pNic1 of the second server that can't happen.

Ideally I'd like for pNic1 on the "Standalone Host" to be able to pull a DHCP address from the Wan/Network just like any VM on the ESXi host would.

Now for some awesome ASCII art to better demonstrate what I'm looking to do

                         WAN/Network
                              |
         ESXi Host            |
--------------------------    |
|                        |    |
| VM1---|       |---pNic1|----|
| VM2---|       |        |
| VM3---|---vSwitch0     |
| VM4---|       |        |
| VMx---|       |---pNic2|----|
|                        |    |
--------------------------    |
                              |
Standalone Host               | Direct cross-over cable connection
----------------              |
|         pNic1|--------------| 
|              |
|              |
|              |
|              |
----------------

Let me know if you have any other questions and I'll be sure to update the post with more details!

EDIT

In an ideal world I would have the "Standalone Host" plugged into the same switch as the ESXi host...but my provider is giving me only one switch uplink and I have that plugged into the ESXi host....I've done this before with Open vSwitch on a plane jane debian box but I'm trying to figure out how to accomplish this in ESXi

6

Based on what you're trying to accomplish I think what you could probably do is to create a new vSwitch for pNic 2 and then create a VM with two vNic's, one vNic connected to vSwitch1 and one to vSwitch2 and set it up to route/bridge/proxy traffic between the two vSwitches.

  • This is what I'm currently doing with a pfSense vm within ESXi but I wanted to see if there was a way to do this at a lower level so I don't have to have a VM running just to bridge the two connections. – rnavarro Apr 6 '13 at 1:23
  • Gotcha. Unfortunately I don't think there is a way. – joeqwerty Apr 6 '13 at 1:24
  • This is also the only sensible option in this situation. Trying to shoehorn ESXi into a bridge is not something I'd recommend. – pauska Apr 6 '13 at 1:31
  • Blast! I'm trying to do this, too..and setting up an entire OS like Debian with bridging is a very untidy way to do it. There's no lightweight dedicated layer 2 switch OS? If I could just rip the firmware of an unmanaged switch and run it in VMware, that would be perfect.. – JamesTheAwesomeDude Aug 3 '17 at 19:24
3

You would accomplish by creating a separate vSwitch. Your uplinks would be discrete. There's no reason all of the VMs would need to reside on the same vSwitch.

Given the diagram, why wouldn't you plug the standalone host into the network, bypassing the ESXi host?

  • In an ideal world that's how I'd do it...but my provider is giving me only one switch uplink and I have that plugged into the ESXi host....I've done this before with Open vSwitch on a plane jane debian box but I'm trying to figure out how to accomplish this in ESXi. If I create two vSwitches the traffic on those two switches would be isolated...not what I want unfortunately. – rnavarro Apr 6 '13 at 0:58
  • I think you're supposed to use a switch coming from the provider uplink. I would use a switch in this case to remove the dependency on the ESXi host. – ewwhite Apr 6 '13 at 1:18
  • Yep I agree....again that's what the ideal case would look like....but I don't want to pay for another network drop or another power drop for a switch...so I'm looking to do this in software as performance isn't a concern for me. – rnavarro Apr 6 '13 at 1:24
  • Does the provider restrict you from putting your own switch between the vSphere host and their switch? – joeqwerty Apr 6 '13 at 1:39
  • No they don't, I'm just cheap! :) Considering I could do this exact thing with Open vSwitch (tried and tested in "production") I figured I might be able to do it with the ESX vSwitch....but admittedly my ESXi knowledge isn't the best....hence the question! :) – rnavarro Apr 6 '13 at 1:41

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