VLAN configuration on virtual switches, physical switches, and virtual machines
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VLAN configuration on virtual switches, physical switches, and virtual machines


Article ID: 311764


Updated On:


VMware vCenter Server VMware vSphere ESXi


This article describes the various VLAN tagging methods used with ESXi/ESX.

Virtual LAN (VLAN) implementation is recommended in ESXi/ESX networking environments because:
  • It integrates ESXi/ESX into a pre-existing network
  • It secures network traffic
  • It reduces network traffic congestion
  • iSCSI traffic requires an isolated network


VMware vCenter Server 5.5.x
VMware ESX 4.0.x
VMware vCenter Server 4.0.x
VMware vSphere ESXi 5.1
VMware ESX 4.1.x
VMware VirtualCenter 2.5.x
VMware vCenter Server 7.0.x
VMware vCenter Server 5.0.x
VMware ESXi 3.5.x Embedded
VMware vSphere ESXi 7.0.0
VMware ESXi 4.0.x Embedded
VMware ESXi 4.0.x Installable
VMware vSphere ESXi 6.5
VMware ESXi 4.1.x Embedded
VMware ESX Server 3.5.x
VMware ESX Server 3.0.x
VMware vSphere ESXi 5.5
VMware vSphere ESXi 6.7
VMware vSphere ESXi 5.0
VMware VirtualCenter 2.0.x
VMware vCenter Server 6.7.x
VMware vCenter Server 4.1.x
VMware vCenter Server 6.5.x
VMware vCenter Server 5.1.x
VMware ESXi 4.1.x Installable
VMware ESXi 3.5.x Installable


Video tutorial for various VLAN tagging methods used with ESXi/ESX:

VLAN tagging methods used with ESXi/ESX:

There are three methods of VLAN tagging that can be configured on ESXi/ESX:

External Switch Tagging (EST)

Virtual Switch Tagging (VST)

Note: The Native VLAN is not tagged and thus requires no VLAN ID to be set on the ESXi/ESX portgroup.

Virtual Guest Tagging (VGT)

  • All VLAN tagging is performed by the virtual machine.
  • You must install an 802.1Q VLAN trunking driver inside the virtual machine.
  • VLAN tags are preserved between the virtual machine networking stack and external switch when frames are passed to/from virtual switches.
  • Physical switch ports are set to trunk port.
  • See this example snippet of code from a Cisco switch port configuration:

    switchport trunk encapsulation dot1q
    switchport mode trunk
    switchport trunk allowed vlan x,y,z
    spanning-tree portfast trunk
For additional information on these configurations, see VMware ESX Server 3: 802.1Q VLAN Solutions.

Additional Information

For translated versions of this article, see: