As a prerequisite to using N-VDS Enhanced, you should configure the virtual environment according to the relevant vCloud NFV version. To use N-VDS Enhanced, assign at least one physical NIC as an uplink to the switch. For high-availability, assign at least two uplinks to N-VDS Enhanced.

The physical NICs must use a Poll Mode Driver (PMD) for N-VDS Enhanced. You can download the NIC driver from the VMware Compatibility Guide. You must install the driver on every host in the vSphere cluster for use of the physical NICs that are dedicated to N-VDS Enhanced. You can identify the correct drivers by looking for N-VDS Enhanced Data Path in the feature column of the VMware Compatibility Guide. Examples of NICs and drivers supported at the time of publication are listed in the table below. Additional drivers are expected to be added over time.

Intel Ethernet Controller Family Enhanced Network Stack Driver
82599, x520, x540, x550 and x552 VMware ESXi6.7 ixgben ENS 1.0.3 NIC Driver
X710, XL710, XXV710, and X722 VMware ESXi6.7 i40en ENS 1.0.4 NIC Driver

A physical NIC that is assigned to an N-VDS Enhanced cannot be used by other virtual switches such as N-VDS Standard or vSphere Distributed Switch. When designing the servers' networking configuration, account for the number of physical NICs that are used for non-accelerated workloads such as vMotion, ESXi management, vSAN networking, and so on. The non-accelerated data path is not expected to require high-performance physical NICs.

The steps to configure N-VDS are described in the NSX-T Data Center installation guide available at VMware Docs. Note that N-VDS Enhanced supports NIC teaming policies that you can use to increase the aggregate networking capacity and resiliency. Teaming policies are discussed in the NSX-T Data Center Installation Guide.

Recommendations:

  • Physical NICs must use poll mode driver for N-VDS Enhanced on every host that uses that switch.
  • Assign a minimum of two physical NICs to an N-VDS Enhanced for uplink availability.