Configuring NIC Teaming in ESXi 6.5 upd 1.

Posted by Veniamin Kireev on March 21, 2018


A NIC team can share a load of traffic between physical and virtual networks among some or all of its members, as well as provide passive failover in the event of a hardware failure or network outage.

To utilize NIC teaming, two or more network adapters must be uplinked to a virtual switch. The main advantages of NIC teaming are:

  • Increased network capacity for the virtual switch hosting the team.
  • Passive failover in the event one of the adapters in the team goes down.

How to setup NIC team

For configuration, we use WEB GUI ESXi. Go to Networking:

WEB GUI ESXi - Networking

Virtual switches:

WEB GUI ESXi - Virtual switches

After selecting the desired vSwitch, click Add uplink – and get the error notification: (

There are no free physical adapters to attach to this virtual switch - Error

Click OK. Go to Host / Manage / Services and start the SSH service.

HOST - Manage - Services - SSH service

We connect to any convenient SSH client and enter esxcli network nic list for viewing network interfaces:

list for viewing network interfaces

After defining the interface, enter:


If the console did not display anything in response, this is normal, we return to WEB GUI for further customization. If you get an error – you have to deal with it.

In the Virtual Switches window, select the required virtual switch and click “edit settings” / expand NIC teaming:

Edit standard virtual switch - vSwitch0

Here we can select the appropriate load balancing policy:

Virtual switch port ID – defines the uplink port based on the virtual switch port number. One virtual adapter uses one physical port in one-time. The mechanism provides an even distribution when the number of virtual adapters exceeds physical ones. It is not suitable for highly-loaded virtual servers that handle a large amount of traffic from different clients, does not allow the use of 802.3ad aggregation technology. In addition, there may be various kinds of problems when working with iSCSI, NFS, since VMkernel can only use one physical NIC to work with different iSCSI-targets.

Route based on source MAC hash – similar to the above method, uses a hash-based distribution of the source MAC address. Used in earlier versions.

Route based on IP hash – works by hashing the source and destination IP addresses. The traffic of the virtual machine, directed to different IP-addresses, will be distributed by different physical interfaces. To use, you need to enable 802.3ad support on the switch to which ESXi Server is connected. The uniformity depends on the number of TCP / IP sessions between the server and clients. With a large number of connections, Route based on IP hash allows you to distribute the load more evenly and does not have the disadvantages of the Route based on the originating virtual switch port ID mechanism.

Use explicit failover order – uses the first active virtual switch network adapter defined by the failover order parameter, which is defined by the Active / Standby NIC mode in relation to the virtual switch.


This mechanism is convenient to use at the port level of virtual machines, the service console and VMkernel. For example, having set the service mode for the first NIC active mode and passive for the second one, and vice versa for the VMkernel port, you can configure the failover for management networks.


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