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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, How many physical NICs for the ESXi configuration? in Technical; I'm looking into setting up ESXi at home for a test virtual domain. I have almost all the required ESXi-compliant ...
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    How many physical NICs for the ESXi configuration?

    I'm looking into setting up ESXi at home for a test virtual domain. I have almost all the required ESXi-compliant hardware but need to know how many physical NICs I'll need. Here's the scenario:

    My home physical LAN is 192.168.10.0 / 24

    I'd like to have the virtual LAN as 10.10.10.0 / 24 but still have access to the internet. I've been recommended to use something like IPCop installed in a guest VM. I realise it would need two IP addresses, one on 192.168.10.0 / 24 and the other on 10.10.10.0 / 24. Does that mean I would need two physical NICs?

    An extension would be if I added a further virtual domain (to simulate another company's network on another continent that the first company's domain might "take over"). That network's address might be 172.16.0.0 / 24, again, behind it's own IPCop virtual firewall. Would I need further physical NICs for this scenario (upto four in total) or could the whole thing run using a single NIC?

    I stress that I wouldn't need extra NICs for bandwidth as it's only a test setup at home. Needless to say, I've never played around with ESXi so want to get my head around what hardware I'll need. I've thought about other virtualisation solutions but ESXi seems to be my preferred one.

    Thanks in advance.

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    robk's Avatar
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    I could be wrong on this, but knowing you can set up virtual switches in Vmware I would suggest you only need one nic. All of the other links and subnets would be internal to the esx box. You could vlan tag these on one nic into a vlan capable switch if you wanted to add additonal physical devices.

    I am sure some kind person will correct me if I am wrong!

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    You can have vSwitches configured with no physical connection and maintain a private network within a single host using normal VMware vSwitches, so for access from the outside you will need a physical uplink NIC - which can only connect to ONE vSwitch, but its fine to have a number of other networks where VM's will share traffic on private vLANs that don't have physical uplinks.

    PM me if you need any assistance

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    You can bind as many virtual nics to a single physical nic as you like, it just depends if you care that all the traffic will be going out the same nic and into the same network/switch. If you have a switch with vlaning it doesn't matter, you simply make a trunk. In a home testing situation it really doesn't matter tbh.

    Otherwise; 1 virtual nic bound to a physical nic, then into seperate switches.

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    Remember in VMware, you don't bind a Virtual NIC to a Physical NIC, you bind a Virtual NIC to a vSwitch - which may or may not connect to a physical network connection in the host

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    Everyone is right above. But this is what I would do for a lab environment without VLANS.

    1 NIC for Internet 10.x
    1 NIC for Internal LAN with a vSwitch with management ports enabled.

    If you need to create a test network then create a dedicated vSwitch for that network with out physical NIC. If you need to route then create a Linux VM on both vSwitches to route between networks. ( Linux Router on a floppy)

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    I'm grateful for the guidance.

    I'll certainly refer to this thread because it's quite confusing at the moment but should clear up once I have the ESXi installed and I can play around with the settings. It seems that I can have just one physical NIC and create several virtual NICs, assign IP addresses from different network ranges and connect them to virtual switches (with appropriate guest routing between the networks if I need connectivity between the various guest LANs). I realise that apaton recommended using a second NIC and I *might* go with that if I run into problems. A second NIC wouldn't break the bank!

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    Posted this in another thread, but you might find this useful:
    You only need one nic, the pic below shows how to set up the vswitches, virtual and physical nics. I tend to use ipcop or smoothwall express as a firewall, simply because they are easy to use and you can easily test punching holes through to servers such as web servers, vpn etc.

  9. 2 Thanks to teejay:

    andrew-virtusolve (13th April 2011), Ignatius (14th April 2011)

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    After reading again. I've misunderstood a little. I assumed the 192.168.10.0 / 24 was Internet only ie off to a cable router etc thus requirement for IP COP. But seems that 192.168.10.0 is just your internal/home network. So skip what I said and go for a single NIC.

    Andy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ignatius View Post
    I'm grateful for the guidance.

    I'll certainly refer to this thread because it's quite confusing at the moment but should clear up once I have the ESXi installed and I can play around with the settings. It seems that I can have just one physical NIC and create several virtual NICs, assign IP addresses from different network ranges and connect them to virtual switches (with appropriate guest routing between the networks if I need connectivity between the various guest LANs). I realise that apaton recommended using a second NIC and I *might* go with that if I run into problems. A second NIC wouldn't break the bank!
    Unless you have 2 physical switches or a switch capible of doing vLans its completetly pointless having 2 nics

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    Quote Originally Posted by teejay View Post
    Posted this in another thread, but you might find this useful:
    You only need one nic, the pic below shows how to set up the vswitches, virtual and physical nics. I tend to use ipcop or smoothwall express as a firewall, simply because they are easy to use and you can easily test punching holes through to servers such as web servers, vpn etc.
    That's very useful - thank you. It's said that a picture os worth a thousand words, and it is! What's better is that the picture is ESXi (my preferred option) rather than some other virtualisation solution. As I said, I plan to use IPCop because I've read good reports about just how user-friendly it is.

  13. Thanks to Ignatius from:

    teejay (14th April 2011)

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    Are you buying a new box to do this or using some existing hardware? Just make sure the processors support virtualisation, there are a few being sold that don't for some bizarre reason. Also, processor speed isn't an absolute killer in a test environment, but memory is, especially if you want to be running a few VM's, so that's where you need to make the investment.

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    @teejay: I'm buying from scratch - an Asus with an i7. The motherboard will support up to 6 x 4GB DDR3 so I'll start with 3 x 4GB and see how I go. I have almost all the kit now so should build it within the next month or so (unless all four tyres suddenly need replacing etc.!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ignatius View Post
    @teejay: I'm buying from scratch - an Asus with an i7. The motherboard will support up to 6 x 4GB DDR3 so I'll start with 3 x 4GB and see how I go. I have almost all the kit now so should build it within the next month or so (unless all four tyres suddenly need replacing etc.!)
    Worth checking the hardware compatibility list - the most likely candidate to give you trouble is support for any on-board network adapter (assuming you are planning to use that). Sometimes you can hack the ISO and inject an unsupported driver but even where you can do that, it's a major pain.

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    I've got the NIC already and I'd read that they can be a pain! I made sure it's on the HCL.

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