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In an external hosting site I have three ESXi hosts all hooked up into the same network.

What would be a good solution to create a virtual network spanning all the VMs on those three hosts? Can I somehow bridge vSwitches between ESXi hosts over the existing physical network, or do I need a second physical network connecting my ESXi hosts?

Alternatively, would investing into vSphere be a better solution here?

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    This is unclear. What are you trying to do? – ewwhite Jan 4 '17 at 13:02
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    I'm trying to create an internal, virtual network connecting VMs located on different ESXi hosts. – Halik Jan 4 '17 at 13:05
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    I think you're probably trying to create a physical network, not a virtual one. Do you need multiple VLANs. Do you control the physical elements of the hosting site, or is it just a service? – marctxk Jan 4 '17 at 14:26
  • @marctxk yes - the main question is what are the physical network requirements for connecting multiple vSwitches located on multiple ESXi hosts. I do not have access to the physical network at the hosting site, but I can request some configuration changes on their side (like, hook up additional NICs via a VLAN). Also, I'm trying to make sure if basic ESXi tools are enough for the task (or do I need vCenter for that) – Halik Jan 4 '17 at 22:23
  • If you only have one VLAN on all your vSwitches then your traffic is untagged, and the hosting centre can pass your traffic across any VLAN of their choice, you won't see it at all. If you need multiple VLANs on your vSwitches then the hosting centre will either need to provide the VLANs that you require (it may not be able to, or it may be unwilling to), or provide q-in-q tunnelling (again maybe it won't want to provide that). – marctxk Jan 5 '17 at 9:32
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It depends on your licencing - if your licence allows for vDistributed Switches then use them, they make life so much easier and configurations inherently consistent. If you don't have that option then you just need to create vStandard Switches and then it's down to you to ensure they're consistent manually.

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    Thanks for the reply, but the issue is more about physical setup that is required to connect the hosts. ie, if I connect two hosts via dedicated NICs, assign vSwitches to them, will the VMs connected to the vSwitches on both sides see each other? – Halik Jan 4 '17 at 13:42
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    It has to start that way yes, the uplinks for all hosts carrying VM traffic have to carry the shared VLANs/VM traffic too - typically you'd just use .1q trunk ports carrying all of the VLANs needed for VM traffic down a pair of links in active/passive - then match the VLANs to port groups on the VSS/VDS and assign the port groups to the VMs - that's the easiest way anyway. – Chopper3 Jan 4 '17 at 13:51
  • The solution (and the issue :)) is slowly starting to become clear. I'll look into it a little bit more, and prolly mark this answer as accepted. Thanks! – Halik Jan 4 '17 at 22:25
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    Finally had a chance to implement this in live environment. Simple, consistent configuration between VSSs proved to be enough for the traffic to flow between the hosts. Thanks! – Halik Mar 14 '17 at 15:07
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As far as i remember you can create vNetwork Distributed Switches using vCenter server.

https://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do%3Flanguage%3Den_US%26cmd%3DdisplayKC%26externalId%3D1010557

As Chopper3 says Distributed Switches easier in management and configuration.

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  • Thanks for the reply, but sadly I don't have vCenter deployed. – Halik Jan 4 '17 at 22:31

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