I'm having trouble finding concrete evidence that doing what I am trying to do is not supported in ESXi (5.1). Maybe my google-fu is just not working today.

I have an ESXi host that I have connected to 2 VLANs I would like each VLAN to be able to manage the server using vSphere Client. I cannot configure the switch to allow communication to the server. When I add the second vmkernel port it disconnects me from the vSphere client on my desktop and I have to access the server physically and reconfigure the management network.

Is it impossible to have VMkernel on two vSwitches that are different (V)LANs?

Basic Drawing Link: http://imgur.com/deP61qV

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    You can have multiple management interfaces in vSphere. – ewwhite Oct 14 '13 at 21:50

The Management console only has one IP address certainly, and that must sit on a port group, which typically has an assigned VLAN - and there's only one option to enter which VLAN that is anyway.

So no, you can't do that - use routing.

  • Great, will do! Thanks for confirming it is a limitation with ESXi. It is possible to solve relatively easily with routing of course just not what I wanted :) – Mr. Lost IT Guy Oct 14 '13 at 19:59
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    Maybe it's my lack of vSphere experience or maybe I'm misunderstanding the question, but I've got a vSphere 5.1 host with 2 physical NIC's, both connected to a different VLAN, and I've got a vSwitch with a VMKernel port configured for each NIC and I've got Management Traffic enabled on each VMkernel port and I can access the host from both VLAN's using the appropriate ip address of each respective VMKernel port. – joeqwerty Oct 15 '13 at 14:57
  • Hmmm....you could be right.... – Chopper3 Oct 15 '13 at 15:48
  • necro'ing this. i will try and see what happens. – Mr. Lost IT Guy Oct 28 '13 at 14:55


Yes you are right, you can reach the box via different VLAN and or IP block. It does not matter, even so if you use one virtual switch with multiple adapters, then you can override the active-passive adapters. This is how you create round-robin connection for iSCSI adapters, for example. So always one adapter active for the current IP address and attached for the iSCSI binding. From there you can use a different VLAN(s), it doesn't matter. Also, the connection can be a trunk connection or a fixed tagged VLAN. When it's a trunk, then you must add the VLAN number to the kernel management port. If it's an access port with a tagged VLAN, then no need to add the VLAN there, only the IP address. With trunk ports you can have all your current VLAN's in one virtual switch.

The "only" limitation here is the physical adapters. So you need at least two adapters to have two different IP management address to reach the VMkernel.

Second management IP address although cannot be pinged from Windows/Linux, only can be pinged and reached from VMware CLI, so use vmkping to check the extra active IP management address.

Here are some related documents from VMware regarding howto do this:

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