ESXi vMotion Network Configuration

Another very important network that needs to be configured when multiple ESXi servers are in a cluster configuration is the ESXi vMotion network (a concept we will discuss in our next post).

The ESXi vMotion Network Configuration enables live migration of running virtual machines from one ESXi host to another ESXi host. This allows for high availability of service for VMs running in the vSphere environment. This allows for moving VMs due to hardware maintenance, updates, or other service interruptions at the physical layer. VMs can simply be moved to another host with no interruption.

We have to have a Port group on a vSwitch that is enabled for vMotion in order to successfully vMotion a VM to another host. That host, of course, would need to have a vMotion network setup as well for the move to be successful.

The steps to configure the vMotion network are similar to configuring iSCSI storage networks, with a few subtle differences. Click on the Add Networking link in the upper right hand corner.

vSphere client

To create the vMotion vSwitch, we select VMkernel as the connection type.

VMkernel

Select the vmnics we want to assign to the vMotion vSwitch.

ESXi vMotion Network Configuration

We name our first vMotion Port group. We will have one port group per vmnic that we are assigning to the vSwitch for vMotion. Also, note we are checking the box next to Use this port group for vMotion.

Use this port group for vMotion

Next, we assign our IP Address settings.

Assign the IP Address settings

We finish out our configuration of the first port group in the new vMotion vSwitch.

Finish configuration

Add the second port group by viewing the properties of the vSwitch we created and click Add.

Finish configuration

We select that we want to use this port group for vMotion. After that, we need to assign an IP address to this VMkernel configuration.

Assign an IP address to VMkernel configuration

As we finish out, we see both port groups created.

Both port groups created

Again, we need to go into the properties of both the vSwitch and the port groups and make the change to jumbo frames.

Change jumbo frames in vSwitch Change jumbo frames in vMotion1 network Change jumbo frames in vMotion2 network

Multi-NIC vMotion

To enable multi-NIC vMotion so that even vMotioning 1 VM will utilize multiple links, Under the NIC Teaming tab in the properties of both our port groups we need to select Override switch failover order and move the second adapter to Standby Adapters. We do the opposite for our second port group.

Override switch failover order Move the second adapter to Standby Adapters

Thoughts

As mentioned, the vMotion network is an important network configured on our ESXi host as it will allow multiple ESXi servers configured in a cluster to live migrate VMs between their compute resources. In creating the vMotion network, we utilized the VMkernel ports making sure we enabled jumbo frames, as well as setting our NIC teaming so that multiple network adapters would be utilized during the vMotion process. In the next post, we will take a look at the VM network.

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