The physical network design decisions determine the physical layout and use of VLANs. They also include decisions on jumbo frames and on other network-related requirements such as DNS and NTP.

Physical Network Design Decisions

Routing protocols

Base the selection of the external routing protocol on your current implementation or on available expertise among the IT staff. Take performance requirements into consideration. Possible options are OSPF, BGP, and IS-IS. While each routing protocol has a complex set of advantages and disadvantages, this validated design uses BGP as its routing protocol.

DHCP proxy

Set the DHCP proxy to point to a DHCP server by way of its IPv4 address.

See the VMware Validated Design Planning and Preparation document for details on the DHCP server.

Table 1. Physical Network Design Decisions

Decision ID

Design Decision

Design Justification

Design Implication


The physical network architecture must support the following requirements:

  • One 10-GbE port on each ToR switch for ESXi host uplinks

  • No ether-channel (LAG/vPC) configuration for ESXi host uplinks

  • Layer 3 device that supports BGP and IGMP

Guarantees availability during a switch failure.

This design uses vSphere host profiles which are not compatible with link-aggregation technologies.

BGP is used as the dynamic routing protocol in this design.

NSX Hybrid mode replication requires IGMP.

Hardware choices might be limited.

Requires dynamic routing protocol configuration in the physical networking stack.


Use a physical network that is configured for BGP routing adjacency.

This design uses BGP as its routing protocol. Supports flexibility in network design for routing multi-site and multi-tenancy workloads.

Requires BGP configuration in the physical networking stack.


Use two ToR switches for each rack.

This design uses two 10 GbE links to each server and provides redundancy and reduces the overall design complexity.

Requires two ToR switches per rack which can increase costs.


Use VLANs to segment physical network functions.

  • Supports physical network connectivity without requiring many NICs.

  • Isolates the different network functions of the SDDC so that you can have differentiated services and prioritized traffic as needed.

Requires uniform configuration and presentation on all the trunks made available to the ESXi hosts.

Additional Design Decisions

Additional design decisions deal with static IP addresses, DNS records, and the required NTP time source.

Table 2. Additional Network Design Decisions

Decision ID

Design Decision

Design Justification

Design Implication


Assign static IP addresses to all management components in the SDDC infrastructure except for NSX VTEPs which DHCP assigns.

Avoids connection outages due to DHCP availability or misconfiguration.

Requires accurate IP address management.


Create DNS records for all management nodes to enable forward, reverse, short, and FQDN resolution.

Ensures consistent resolution of management nodes using both IP address (reverse lookup) and name resolution.



Use an NTP time source for all management nodes.

It is critical to maintain accurate and synchronized time between management nodes.


Jumbo Frames Design Decisions

IP storage throughput can benefit from the configuration of jumbo frames. Increasing the per-frame payload from 1500 bytes to the jumbo frame setting improves the efficiency of data transfer. Jumbo frames must be configured end-to-end, which is feasible in a LAN environment. When you enable jumbo frames on an ESXi host, you have to select an MTU that matches the MTU of the physical switch ports.

The workload determines whether it makes sense to configure jumbo frames on a virtual machine. If the workload consistently transfers large amounts of network data, configure jumbo frames, if possible. In that case, confirm that both the virtual machine operating system and the virtual machine NICs support jumbo frames.

Using jumbo frames also improves the performance of vSphere vMotion.


VXLAN needs an MTU value of at least 1600 bytes on the switches and routers that carry the transport zone traffic.

Table 3. Jumbo Frames Design Decisions

Decision ID

Design Decision

Design Justification

Design Implication


Configure the MTU size to at least 9000 bytes (jumbo frames) on the physical switch ports and distributed switch port groups that support the following traffic types.

  • vSAN

  • vMotion


  • Secondary Storage

Improves traffic throughput.

To support VXLAN, increase the MTU setting to a minimum of 1600 bytes. Setting this port group to 9000 bytes has no effect on VXLAN but ensures consistency across port groups that are adjusted from the default MTU size.

When adjusting the MTU packet size, you must also configure the entire network path (VMkernel port, distributed switch, physical switches, and routers) to support the same MTU packet size.