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Configure Physical Network Cards in VMware vSphere

As part of the migration process to virtual Distributed Switches one of the steps to take in consideration is about managing Physical Network cards. Essentially the Physical Network cards will act as Uplinks for the Distributed Port Groups to communicate with the outside world.

There are several ways on how to move and manage the Physical Network cards. The most obvious would be to manage them directly from the virtual Switches they are attached on. In fact from there we can also see other properties like the connected Port Groups and links to the Physical Network cards settings.

So for my home lab I will start moving the Physical Network cards not currently in use from the virtual Standard switch to the Distributed Switch. In this particular case vmnic32 and vmnic33 belong to vMotion and Provisioning Traffic respectively on vSwitch0.

In this article the steps to start moving them to the newly created virtual Distributed Switch. It is also worth noting that in my home lab vmnic32 is used by Monitoring Port Group as a fail-over connection in case the primary one on vmnic0 is not available.


Manage Physical Network cards

From the vCenter console let’s select the the virtual Standard Switch from where we want to move the Physical Network cards from. In my case that is for vmnic32 and vmnic33. Before proceeding let’s make sure they are not currently in use. Once selected we can click on the red x to remove them.

manage Physical Networkcard vSphere

As soon as we remove them we should receive a message similar to the one below. This happens if there is at least on Port Group on the virtual Swtich with no Uplink assigned.

Physical Network card uplink vSphere switch

And as expected we can also get messages as warnings notifying of network redundancy lost. In my case I was expecting this as originally the Management Port Group is using the vmnic0 as Primary uplink and vmnic32 as a fail-over connection. In this case the Management port Group can still use the vmnic0.

Physical Network uplink lost

Should we inadvertently move the main connection uplink, we would loose access to the main console. By default  when this happens the changes will be automatically reverted. This is an actual default setting on the virtual Switches making our life a lot easier! This setting otherwise known as configure reset at disconnect.

We are now ready to move to the next step and start adding Hosts to manage with virtual Distributed Switches.


About the author

Michele Domanico

Passionate about Virtualization, Storage, Data Availability and Software Defined Data Center technologies. The aim of Domalab.com is sharing with the Community the knowledge and experience gained with customers, industry leaders and like minded peers. Always open to constructive feedback and new challenges.

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