In both VMware ESX and ESXi host, vSwitches can be configured either from the GUI or from the command line.
vSwitch is also known as vSphere standard switch.
The CLI configuration are very helpful when you are installing multiple ESX servers and planning to script the vSwitch configuration.
This article explains how to configure vSwitch from CLI using esxcfg-vswitch command examples.
List all vSwitches
On ESX: To view all the current vSwitches in ESX server, use the -l option as shown below. This will display both the switch and portgroup information.
# esxcfg-vswitch -l Switch Name Num Ports Used Ports Configured Ports MTU Uplinks vSwitch0 128 3 128 1500 vmnic0 PortGroup Name VLAN ID Used Ports Uplinks Management Network 0 1 vmnic0
On ESXi: Instead of esxcfg-vswitch, you can also use esxcli command to list vSwitches in ESXi as shown below. By default, each ESXi host has one virtual switch called vSwitch0.
# esxcli network vswitch standard list
Add a new vSwitch
To add a new vswitch, use the -a option as shown below. In this example, a new virtual switch vswitch1 is created:
# esxcfg-vswitch -a vSwitch1
If you are on ESXi host, you can also use esxcli command as shown below to add a new switch.
# esxcli network vswitch standard add -v vSwitch1
The default number of logical ports on vswitch is 56.
The maximum number of vSwithces that can be created on a single ESXi host is 127.
When two or more virtual machines connected to the same vswitch the traffic between them is routed locally and whenever it needs to connect to the outside world, the traffic is routed through the uplink adapter basically a NIC port attached to the virtual switch.
Add a Port to vSwitch
On ESX: We just created the virtual switch. But, in order to associate a network port (add a uplink) to this virtual switch, use the following syntax:
esxcfg-vswitch –L <primary NIC> <vswitch name>
# esxcfg-vswitch -L vmnic1 vSwitch1 # esxcfg-vswitch -l Switch Name Num Ports Used Ports Configured Ports MTU Uplinks vSwitch0 128 3 128 1500 vmnic0 PortGroup Name VLAN ID Used Ports Uplinks Management Network 0 1 vmnic0 Switch Name Num Ports Used Ports Configured Ports MTU Uplinks vSwitch1 128 2 128 1500 vmnic1 PortGroup Name VLAN ID Used Ports Uplinks
On ESXi, execute the following command to add uplink:
# esxcli network vswitch standard uplink add -u vmnic1 -v vSwitch1
Create Port Groups
Next we will see how to create port groups. Port groups are nothing but a group a ports on vSwitch. It is also logical segmentation of vSwitch. Every Port group has a name called Network label. This is the endpoint network for your virtual machines.
In the following example, you will see how to create the port groups and assign the VLAN to the portgroups. In general, VLAN ID 0 disables the VLAN tagging on port group.
The syntax to add a new port group is:
esxcfg-vswitch –A <Port Group Name> <vSwitch name>
The syntax to assign a VLAN to the port group is:
esxcfg-vswitch <vSwitch name> –v <VLAN ID> -p <Port groupname>”
On ESX, do the following to create port groups:
# esxcfg-vswitch -A VM_Traffic_on_VLAN120 vSwitch1 # esxcfg-vswitch vSwitch1 -v 120 -p "VM_Traffic_on_VLAN120" # esxcfg-vswitch -A VM_Traffic_on_VLAN100 vSwitch1 # esxcfg-vswitch vSwitch1 -v 100 -p "VM_Traffic_on_VLAN100"
View the portgroups that were just created above:
# esxcfg-vswitch -l Switch Name Num Ports Used Ports Configured Ports MTU Uplinks vSwitch0 128 3 128 1500 vmnic0 PortGroup Name VLAN ID Used Ports Uplinks Management Network 0 1 vmnic0 Switch Name Num Ports Used Ports Configured Ports MTU Uplinks vSwitch1 128 2 128 1500 vmnic1 PortGroup Name VLAN ID Used Ports Uplinks VM_Traffic_on_VLAN100 100 0 vmnic1 VM_Traffic_on_VLAN120 120 0 vmnic1
On ESXi, do the following to create port groups using esxcli command:
# esxcli network vswitch standard portgroup add -p VM_Traffic_on_VLAN120 -v vSwitch1
Verify if vSwitch Exists
To check if a virtual switch already exists, use the -c option as shown below.
The return code 1 indicates that vSwitch0 already exists:
# esxcfg-vswitch -c vSwitch1 1
The return code 0 indicates that vSwitch5 is not present.
# esxcfg-vswitch -c vSwitch5 0
Verify if Port Group Exists
To check if the port group already exists on the vSwitch use the following commands:
The return code 1 indicates that VM_Traffic_on_VLAN100 portgroup already exists:
# esxcfg-vswitch -C VM_Traffic_on_VLAN100 1
The return code 0 indicates that VM_Traffic_on_VLAN100 portgroup does not exist:
# esxcfg-vswitch -C VM_Traffic_on_VLAN505 0
Add vMotion Network
To add vMotion network & assigning a VMkernel IP to handle the vMotion traffic, follow the steps below:
# esxcfg-vswitch -A "vMotionNetwork" vSwitch1 # esxcfg-vmknic -a -i 126.96.36.199 -n 255.255.255.0 -m 9000 "vMotionNetwork" # vim-cmd hostsvc/vmotion/vnic_set vmk1
View the vMotion configurations:
# esxcfg-vmknic -l Interface Port Group/DVPort IP Family IP Address Netmask Broadcast MAC Address MTU TSO MSS Enabled Type vmk0 Management Network IPv4 188.8.131.52 255.255.255.0 184.108.40.206 64:31:50:51:84:6a 1500 65535 true STATIC vmk1 vMotionNetwork IPv4 220.127.116.11 255.255.255.0 18.104.22.168 00:50:56:6b:cb:d3 9000 65535 true STATIC
Set MTU for vSwitch
On ESX, to set the MTU for any vswitch do the following:
# esxcfg-vswitch -m 9000 vSwitch1
Alternatively, only on ESXi, you can also do the following to set MTU.
# esxcli network vswitch standard set --mtu=9000 --vswitch-name=vSwitch1
Remove Port Group from vSwitch
To remove a port group from vswitch use the following command:
# esxcfg-vswitch -D VM_Traffic_on_VLAN100 vSwitch1
To unlink a primary NIC from the virtual switch do the following:
# esxcfg-vswitch -U vmnic1 vSwitch1
View vSwitch Network Policy Settings
The following commands list the network policy settings for a vSwitch.
The network policy settings are security policy, traffic policy and failover policies.
# esxcli network vswitch standard policy security get -v vSwitch1 Allow Promiscuous: false Allow MAC Address Change: true Allow Forged Transmits: true # esxcli network vswitch standard policy failover get -v vSwitch1 Load Balancing: srcport Network Failure Detection: link Notify Switches: true Failback: true Active Adapters: Standby Adapters: vmnic1 Unused Adapters: # esxcli network vswitch standard policy shaping get -v vSwitch1 Enabled: false Average Bandwidth: -1 Kbps Peak Bandwidth: -1 Kbps Burst Size: -1 Kib
Change vSwitch Network Policy Settings
You can also change network policy settings for security policy, or traffic policy, or failover policies from the command line using esxcli command as shown below.
In the following example, we are changing the standard policy, and changing the “Allow MAC Address Change” from the default value of true to false.
# esxcli network vswitch standard policy security set --allow-mac-change=false -v vSwitch1 # esxcli network vswitch standard policy security get -v vSwitch1 Allow Promiscuous: false Allow MAC Address Change: false Allow Forged Transmits: true