Create a VMkernel network adapter on a vSphere standard switch to provide network connectivity for hosts and to handle the system traffic for vSphere vMotion, IP storage, Fault Tolerance logging, Virtual SAN, and so on. You can also create VMkernel adapters on the source and target vSphere Replication hosts to isolate the replication data traffic. Dedicate a VMkernel adapter to only one traffic type.


  1. In the vSphere Web Client, navigate to the host.
  2. Under Manage, select Networking and then select VMkernel adapters.
  3. Click Add host networking.
  4. On the Select connection type page, select VMkernel Network Adapter and click Next.
  5. On the Select target device page, select either an existing standard switch or select New vSphere standard switch.
  6. (Optional) On the Create a Standard Switch page, assign physical NICs to the switch.
    You can create the standard switch without physical NICs and configure them later. During the time that no physical NICs are attached to the host, the host does not have network connectivity to the other hosts on the physical network. The virtual machines on the host are able to communicate with each other.
    1. Click Add and select as many physical NICs as you need.
    2. Use the up and down arrows to configure the active and standby NICs.
  7. On the Port properties page, configure the settings for the VMkernel adapter.
    Option Description
    Network label Type a value for this label to indicate the traffic type for the VMkernel adapter, for example Management traffic or vMotion.
    VLAN ID Set a VLAN ID to identify the VLAN that the network traffic of the VMkernel adapter will use.
    IP settings

    Select IPv4, IPv6, or both.

    Note: The IPv6 option does not appear on hosts that do not have IPv6 enabled.
    TCP/IP stack Select a TCP/IP stack from the list. After you set a TCP/IP stack for the VMkernel adapter, you cannot change it later. If you select the vMotion or the Provisioning TCP/IP stack, you will be able to use only this stack to handle vMotion or Provisioning traffic on the host. All VMkernel adapters for vMotion on the default TCP/IP stack are disabled for future vMotion sessions. If you use the Provisioning TCP/IP stack, VMkernel adapters on the default TCP/IP stack are disabled for operations that include the Provisioning traffic, such as virtual machine cold migration, cloning, and snapshot migration.
    Enable services

    You can enable services for the default TCP/IP stack on the host. Select from the available services:

    • vMotion traffic. Enables the VMkernel adapter to advertise itself to another host as the network connection where vMotion traffic is sent. The migration with vMotion to the selected host is not possible if the vMotion service is not enabled for any VMkernel adapter on the default TCP/IP stack, or if no adapters are using the vMotion TCP/IP stack.
    • Provisioning traffic. Handles the data transferred for virtual machine cold migration, cloning, and snapshot migration.
    • Fault Tolerance traffic. Enables Fault Tolerance logging on the host. You can use only one VMkernel adapter for FT traffic per host.
    • Management traffic. Enables the management traffic for the host and vCenter Server. Typically, hosts have such a VMkernel adapter created when the ESXi software was installed. You can create another VMkernel adapter for management traffic on the host to provide redundancy.
    • vSphere Replication traffic.Handles the outgoing replication data that is sent from the sourceESXi host to the vSphere Replication server.
    • vSphere Replication NFC traffic. Handles the incoming replication data on the target replication site.
    • Virtual SAN. Enables the Virtual SAN traffic on the host. Every host that is part from a Virtual SAN cluster must have such a VMkernel adapter.
  8. If you selected the vMotion TCP/IP or the Provisioning stack, click OK in the warning dialog that appears.
    If a live migration is already initiated, it completes successfully even after the involved VMkernel adapters on the default TCP/IP stack are disabled for vMotion. Same refers to operations that include VMkernel adapters on the default TCP/IP stack that are set for the Provisioning traffic.
  9. (Optional) On the IPv4 settings page, select an option for obtaining IP addresses.
    Option Description
    Obtain IP settings automatically Use DHCP to obtain IP settings. A DHCP server must be present on the network.
    Use static IP settings

    Enter the IPv4 IP address and subnet mask for the VMkernel adapter.

    The VMkernel Default Gateway and DNS server addresses for IPv4 are obtained from the selected TCP/IP stack.

  10. (Optional) On the IPv6 settings page, select an option for obtaining IPv6 addresses.
    Option Description
    Obtain IPv6 addresses automatically through DHCP Use DHCP to obtain IPv6 addresses. A DHCPv6 server must be present on the network.
    Obtain IPv6 addresses automatically through Router Advertisement Use router advertisement to obtain IPv6 addresses.
    Static IPv6 addresses
    1. Click Add to add a new IPv6 address.
    2. Enter the IPv6 address and subnet prefix length, and click OK.
    3. To change the VMkernel default gateway, click Edit.

    The VMkernel Default Gateway address for IPv6 is obtained from the selected TCP/IP stack.

  11. Review your setting selections in the Ready to complete page and click Finish.