Enable EtherChannel / Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) in ESXi/vCenter
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Enable EtherChannel / Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) in ESXi/vCenter


Article ID: 321425


Updated On:


VMware vCenter Server VMware vSphere ESXi


This article provides information on enabling and disabling link aggregation, NIC Teaming, Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP), and EtherChannel connectivity between ESXi/ESX and Physical Network Switches.

Note: There are a number of requirements which need to be considered before implementing any form of link aggregation. For more information on these requirements, see Host requirements for link aggregation (etherchannel, port channel, or LACP) in ESXi (1001938).


VMware vSphere ESXi 6.0
VMware vSphere ESXi 5.1
VMware vSphere ESXi 6.5
VMware ESX 4.1.x
VMware ESX Server 3.5.x
VMware vSphere ESXi 5.0
VMware ESXi 3.5.x Embedded
VMware vSphere ESXi 6.7
VMware ESX 4.0.x
VMware ESX Server 3.0.x
VMware vSphere ESXi 7.0.0
VMware ESXi 4.0.x Installable
VMware ESXi 4.1.x Installable
VMware ESXi 4.1.x Embedded
VMware ESXi 4.0.x Embedded
VMware ESXi 3.5.x Installable
VMware vSphere ESXi 5.5


    Enabling LACP within vSphere

    To configure vSwitch properties for load balancing:
    1. Select the Networking tab in vCenter.
    2. Select the vSphere distributed switch and click LACP.

      Note: LACP is only supported on a vDS, not on a standard switch.
    3. Click +NEW to add a new LAG group.
    4. Select the number of uplinks that will be in the LAG per host.
    5. From the Load Balancing dropdown, select the correct load balancing policy. This will be determined by the physical switch. Refer to the physical switch vendor if there are questions on which load balancing algorithm should be used.
    6. Click OK.
    7. Verify that there are adapters listed under Assigned Adapters in the LAG for each host.
      1. Click Actions on the distributed switch.
      2. Follow the wizard until the Manage Physical Adapters section.
      3. Choose the appropriate adapters and ensure that under Uplink they have the LAG listed.
      4. If the LAG is not listed, select "Assign Adapter" and assign it to the LAG. Select OK and repeat until finished, then finish the wizard.
    Note: If the adapters being chosen to move to the LAG are currently in use for a vmkernel such as the management vmkernel, the adapter must be moved over to the LAG in steps- they cannot be moved all at once. See Configuring LACP on a vSphere Distributed Switch Port Group (2034277) for more information.  As with any configuration change, this should be done during a maintenance window.
    enable LACP
    8. For each port group that will use the LAG, select Edit Settings on those port groups and move LAG to active. You many choose to move the other uplinks to unused.

    Removing an EtherChannel configuration from a running ESX/ESXi host

    To remove EtherChannel, there must only be one active network adapter on the vSwitch/dvSwitch. Ensure that the other host NICs in the EtherChannel configuration are disconnected (Link Down). Perform one of these options:

    With only a single network card online, you can then remove the portchannel configuration from the physical network switch and change the network teaming settings on the vSwitch/dvSwitch from IP HASH to portID. For more information about teaming, see NIC teaming in ESXi and ESX (1004088).

    Note: Both adding and removing a host from an LACP configuration can be complicated process, especially if the management vmkernel is using the LACP uplink group. There is a chance for network disruption due to this complication. 

    Additional Information

    Configuring LACP on an Uplink Port Group using the vSphere Web Client
    Host requirements for link aggregation (etherchannel or port channel) for ESXi and ESX
    Converting to Enhanced LACP Support on a vSphere Distributed Switch
    Example Configuration of LACP on VMware, Cisco, and HP switches

    Link aggregation concepts:
    • EtherChannel: This is a link aggregation (port trunking) method used to provide fault-tolerance and high-speed links between switches, routers, and servers by grouping two to eight physical Ethernet links to create a logical Ethernet link with additional failover links. For additional information on Cisco EtherChannel, see the EtherChannel Introduction by Cisco.
    • LACP or IEEE 802.3ad: The Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) is included in IEEE specification as a method to control the bundling of several physical ports together to form a single logical channel. LACP allows a network device to negotiate an automatic bundling of links by sending LACP packets to the peer (directly connected device that also implements LACP). For more information on LACP, see the Link Aggregation Control Protocol whitepaper by Cisco.
    • EtherChannel vs. 802.3ad: EtherChannel and IEEE 802.3ad standards are very similar and accomplish the same goal. There are a few differences between the two, other than EtherChannel is Cisco proprietary and 802.3ad is an open standard.
    VMware Skyline Health Diagnostics for vSphere - FAQ

    For translated versions of this article, see:

    Host requirements for link aggregation for ESXi and ESX
    VLAN configuration on virtual switches, physical switches, and virtual machines
    NIC teaming in ESXi and ESX
    NIC teaming using EtherChannel leads to intermittent network connectivity in ESXi
    Forcing a link state up or down for a vmnic interface on ESXi
    Configuring LACP on an Uplink Port Group using the vSphere Web Client
    Configuración de muestra de EtherChannel/protocolo de control de agregación de vínculos (LACP) con conmutadores ESXi/ESX y Cisco/HP
    Exemplo de configuração do EtherChannel/LACP (Protocolo de Controle de Agregação de Links) com o ESX/ESXi e os switches Cisco/HP
    与 ESXi/ESX 和 Cisco/HP 交换机的 EtherChannel/链路聚合控制协议 (LACP) 的配置示例
    ESXi/ESX および Cisco/HP スイッチによる EtherChannel/リンク集約コントロール プロトコル (LACP) のサンプル構成
    Beispielkonfiguration für EtherChannel/Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) mit ESXi/ESX und Cisco/HP-Switches

    As with any networking change, there is a chance for network disruption so a maintenance period is recommended for changes. This is especially true on a vSphere Distributed Switch (vDS) because the Distributed Switch is owned by vCenter and the hosts alone cannot make changes to the vDS if connection to vCenter is lost. Enabling LACP can greatly complicate vCenter or host management recovery in production down scenarios, because the LACP connection may need to be broken to move back to a Standard Switch if necessary (since LACP is not supported on a Standard Switch).