rcflyer2005
Contributor
Contributor

How Many NIC cards are required?

I have a box that has ESXi 3.5 U4 installed. I have two HDD and a quad core (Q6600) cpu. It has two Intel Pro 100/100 Ethernet network cards.

I am having difficulties in determining the number of NIC cards required to establish administration, P2P network connectivity and Internet connectivity.

I want to setup networking on the ESXi box to achieve the following objectives:

1. Establish communication among the guest operating systems (VMs) install on the ESXi box.

2. Establish communication between the VMs on ESXi box and other computers on my home P2P network.

3. Establish communications of all VMs to the internet via DHCP DSL line connection.

4. Establish communications for Management Network, vMotion, VMkernel and any other administrative tools from a Win XP Pro box to the installed ESXi software and all VMs on the ESXi box.

Question: How many NIC cards are required?

The attached image shows a conceptual of my installation.

Thanks much.

Tags (3)
0 Kudos
18 Replies
DSTAVERT
Immortal
Immortal

You only need one NIC. You CAN add more for additional functionality. You will be creating Virtual switch(es) and your NIC will be the uplink port to your existing network. I would have a look at the getting started guide and some of the documentation.

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator
0 Kudos
athlon_crazy
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

So, I start first :

Management VMkernel -


> vNIC0 & vNIC1

VM Network

P2P / Tunnel

Internet

vMotion -


> vNIC2

  1. Management for ESXi can sitting together with your VM Network, but of-course, better if you can separate it for security reason. Or configure Management active/standby (vNIC0 & vNIC1) & VM Network active/standby (vNIC1 & vNIC0)

  2. Items 2 & 3 can go together under "VM Network" but instead open up everything to the public, why not choose one VM for P2P, then from here you can route your home connection to internal VM Network?

  3. For vMotion, unless u have more than one host with vCenter & valid license for vMotion, you can port it to another vSwitch with extra dedicated vNIC.

vcbMC-1.0.6 Beta

vcbMC-1.0.7 Lite

http://www.no-x.org
0 Kudos
NWhiley
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

1. For VMs on the same host, you do not need any NICs for them to talk. I'm pretty sure that even if they are configured to use a NIC (via a vSwitch) the traffic only gets as far as the kernel if both VMs are on the same host.

2. To talk to the outside world, you need at least one NIC that is configured to use a network that will allow it to talk to the rest of your kit. Typically this would be an address in the same network as the rest, but needent be if you have gateways/routers etc.

3. Same as 2 really. As long as you can get to the DSL modem/switch/router it is exactly the same as physical.

4. Again, this can all be in the same network. It is best practice to have the SC and VMotion on different networks to each other and different to the rest of the VMs, but it will work in a small environment on the same network.

So to answer your question, you need a minimum of one NIC, but more is better as with one you have no resilience and all your traffic is competing for one cable.

Neil

VCP

Neil VCP
0 Kudos
Penic_Albin
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Hi,

My recomendation is 4 NICs.

-


NIC 0 and NIC 1 on first vSwitch

set NIC 0 as active on Service Console and NIC 1 as stand by

set NIC 1 as active for vMotion (VMkernel) and NIC 0 as stand by

-


NIC 2 and NIC 3 on second vSwitch

set NIC 2 and NIC 3 as active on virtual machine port group

-


AP

If you find this information useful, please award points for "correct" or "helpful".
0 Kudos
DSTAVERT
Immortal
Immortal

You all realize this is someone setting up a home network. It is running on a 10/100 network. This should be as simple as possible to begin with.

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator
0 Kudos
Penic_Albin
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

DSTAVERT, always take ESX systems as serious. But still for home setup he can take only 2 NICs and create everything on them .

Service console NIC 0 active NIC 1 stand by

VMkernel NIC 1 active NIC 0 stand by

VM port group NIC 0 and NIC 1 active

AP

If you find this information useful, please award points for "correct" or "helpful".
0 Kudos
pyosifov
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Maybe you should ask yourself - what do I need to know?

How many NICs are REQUIRED, or how many NICs are recommended.

First of all if you have one NIC you have one vSwitch. You are not creating vSwitches - but virtual port groups.

The thing is you NEED only one NIC and correct vSwitch configuration.

But I would recommend at least 2 NICs for redundancy and active/passive load balancing (for one port group NIC1 is active, for the next NIC2 is active).

However none of us posting here know what traffic you are going to put through the network from the VMs.

If you run a WEB server that is very busy - you'll need more!

Good luck!

0 Kudos
J1mbo
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

As mentioned the physical NICs serve as uplinks from the virtual switches to physical switches. Hence you only need one NIC.

If your switch supports some derivative of multi-link trunking, you could add more NICs to the virtual and configure accordingly (if your switch doesn't support this then you'd be creating a loop in your network). Otherwise you could create other virtual switches and add physical NICs to connect them to real switches, if required.

Someone mentioned this is for a home network - look out for duplex issues, I've not seen these for years but ESXi 3.5 on my Proliant ML115 won't autonegotiate with a BT Business hub for some reason.

Hope that helps.

0 Kudos
DSTAVERT
Immortal
Immortal

DSTAVERT, always take ESX systems as serious. But still for home setup he can take only 2 NICs and create everything on them .

I was not being disrespectful or trying to pass off the posters needs as unimportant. It is far to easy to have too many grandiose setups for someone just getting started. They are more confusing and totally not helpful. As someone gets started and wants to add more complexity it is easy to add.

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator
0 Kudos
depping
Leadership
Leadership

KISS

1 vSwitch, add two nics, virtual port id load balancing.

no need to do active/standby in an environment like this.

Duncan

VMware Communities User Moderator | VCP | VCDX

-


Blogging:

Twitter:

If you find this information useful, please award points for "correct" or "helpful".

0 Kudos
rcflyer2005
Contributor
Contributor

Sometimes questions are not so simple as they seem as evident by the responses.

A good point was brought up regarding the number of NICs required vs. needed. As I said I have two NICs. I would like to be able to purchase one more NIC with two ports. But that I out of my budget. After all, my installation is a home installation, not a business installation.

Let's go with the KISS principle. I have two NICs available. If it is much, much simpler going with one NIC, let's go that route. If I go with two NICs and it gives me more flexibility, security, etc., without adding too much complexity let's go with a two NIC installation..

The attached image below shows the current network setup. When I power up Ubuntu, I get connectivity to the P2P home network. No connectivity to the internet.

In your response, would you please include a hierarchical layout of the virtual network and what NIC(s) goes with each Virtual Switch.

Something like (I understand what is below is not correct):

vSwitch0

VM Port Group

Management Network (10.10.0.75)

VM Port Group

VMkernel (192.168.1.80)

vSwitch1

VM Port Group

VM Network

Ubuntu

Fedora

Win XP Pro sandbox

Win 2000 Pro sandbox

Service Console Port

Service Console - vswif0

vSwitch2

DMZ - I don't know if this is required. Is this where I would put the P2P network to keep it separate from the Internet?

Thank you all very much!!!

0 Kudos
pyosifov
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Ok, let me try to answer it....

So. First of all I would recommend in this situation putting both nics on vSwitch0 and have no other vSwitch at all.

I suppose you have a router somewhere in the network, as you need to rout your Internet trafic to the internal network.

Your router should be configured to rout to the network your Ubuntu is set. Let's suppose it's 172.16.x.x

This way your management network would not have Internet access, ESX would not have Internet access and you would be perfectly secured for a home user.

The first Virtual Machine Port Group is empty. I suppose It has been configured automatically during the installation process (there is a checkbox not to configure a default VM Port Group). So you can easily remove it - it's not needed.

From an ESX and VM Port Groups point of view your setup should now be fine.

Tell us more about the physical network you have - router, IPs and so on.

0 Kudos
J1mbo
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

> First of all I would recommend in this situation putting both nics on vSwitch0 and have no other vSwitch at all

Bear in mind that the physical switch need to support some form of multilink trunking to avoid a loop.

0 Kudos
rcflyer2005
Contributor
Contributor

My home network is simple. I have 4 boxes as follows:

1. Win XP Pro with VMware tools installed.

2. VMware ESXi 3.5 U4 with one installed operating system (Ubuntu 9.04)

3. Win 2000 Pro - Family machine.

4. Win 2000 Pro - use this box to backup files.

All machines have two NICS.

The ESXi box has two Intel Pro 100/1000 NICs.

The Home P2P network is glued together via Netgear Fast Ethernet Switch and cat-5 cable.

Similarly, internet access is glued together via 2WIRE DSL Modem and cat-5 cable.

I have established connectivity between the XP box and ESXi via Internet Explorer: https://10.10.0.75/.

I have connectivity to ESXi VM (Ubuntu) via VMware Infrasturcture Client v2.5.0.

I am attempting to establish connectivity from ESXi (Ubuntu) and the P2P and Internet.

Any assistance in configuring networking is appreciated.

Thanks.

0 Kudos
J1mbo
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Keep it simple I'd say - use one NIC in each physical machine.

Assign IPs and job done. For example

2-wire - 10.10.0.1 - this will be your default gateway and DNS server on all other machines

ESXi - 10.10.0.70 is fine

Ubuntu host - 10.10.0.80

XP-Pro - 10.10.0.100

Win2k 1 - 10.10.0.101

Win2k 2 - 10.10.0.102

Use 255.255.255.0 on all as the subnet mask.

HTH

0 Kudos
TomHowarth
Leadership
Leadership

The answer to this question is it depends on the level of security you wish for this environment and the level of performance on your guests.

you can do it quite easily with 2 pNICS if you are not that bothered about the security of your environment. (can you confirm whether your NICs are 10/100 or 100/1000)

the simplest solution would be

a single vSwitch with both NICs and portgroups configured for your VMKernal management network and then your VM network. then configure your NICs in failover mode.

VMnic0 VMK Management failover to VMnic1
and
VMnic1 VM Network Failover to VMnic0

then VLAN your network accordingly.

If you found this or any other answer useful please consider the use of the Helpful or correct buttons to award points

Tom Howarth VCP / vExpert

VMware Communities User Moderator

Blog: www.planetvm.net

Contributing author for the upcoming book "[VMware vSphere and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing ESX and the Virtual Environment|http://my.safaribooksonline.com/9780136083214]”. Currently available on roughcuts

Tom Howarth VCP / VCAP / vExpert
VMware Communities User Moderator
Blog: http://www.planetvm.net
Contributing author on VMware vSphere and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing ESX and the Virtual Environment
Contributing author on VCP VMware Certified Professional on VSphere 4 Study Guide: Exam VCP-410
0 Kudos
rcflyer2005
Contributor
Contributor

Yes, I agree with you. Keep it simple.

-


I have two Virtual Machines on ESXi:

1. Ubuntu Desktop 9.04. I have Internet connectivity. Working on Smb4k for P2P connectivity.

2. Ubuntu Server 8.04.2 (minimal). Follow this link to see Common Packages: http://www.ubuntu.com/products/whatisubuntu/serveredition/techspecs/8.04LTS

3. There are two NICs. NIC1 for DSL connection. NIC2 for homeP2P connection. Each PC has two NICs. One for DSL connection which runs through a 2WIRE DSL Modem. The P2P NICs run through a Switch with Cat5 cable.

I have made some progress in establishing connecivity. My concern for now is getting conectivity on Ubuntu Server 8.04.2. Here is what I can do:

1. From Ubuntu Server:

  • Ping Ubuntu Desktop

  • Ping XP Pro box

  • Ping Win 2000 Pro box

2. From Ubuntu Desktop:

  • Ping Ubuntu Server

  • Ping XP Pro box

  • Ping Win 2000 Pro box

3. From XP Box

  • PIng Ununtu Server

  • Ping Ubuntu Desktop

  • Ping Win 200 Pro box

Essentially, I can ping all boxes and VMs.

This is what I cannot do regarding the Ubuntu Server VM.

1. Cannot establish internet connection. Tried to ping Google IP-failed.

2. From XP Pro box, cannot login to Ubuntu Server using FileZilla

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to establish Ubuntu Server Internet and P2P connectivity ?

The image below is a composit image of:

1. ESXi and home network layout.

2. ESXi network Ubuntu Server interfaces file.

Thanks for any help you fcan provide.

0 Kudos
bulletprooffool
Champion
Champion

1 physical nic can be split into 6 virtual switches using 3.5 - it is not best practice, but will work for a lab environment, os small environment.

I would suggest splitting this using VLans to aid security and traffic redirection.

One day I will virtualise myself . . .
0 Kudos