Create a VMkernel adapter on hosts associated with a distributed switch to provide network connectivity to the hosts and to handle the traffic for vSphere vMotion, IP storage, Fault Tolerance logging, and Virtual SAN. You can create VMkernel adapters on multiple hosts simultaneously by using the Add and Manage Hosts wizard.

You should dedicate one distributed port group for each VMkernel adapter. One VMkernel adapter should handle only one traffic type.


  1. In the vSphere Web Client, navigate to the distributed switch.
  2. From the Actions menu, select Add and Manage Hosts.
  3. Select Manage host networking and click Next.
  4. Click Attached hosts and select from the hosts that are associated with the distributed switch.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Select Manage VMkernel adapters and click Next.
  7. Click New adapter.

    The Add Networking wizard opens.

  8. On the Select target device page of the Add Networking wizard, select a distributed port group.
  9. On the Port properties page, configure the settings for the VMkernel adapter.



    Network label

    The network label is inherited from the label of the distributed port group.

    IP settings

    Select IPv4, IPv6, or both.


    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. Once 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 these stacks 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 set the Provisioning TCP/IP stack, VMkernel adapters on the default TCP/IP stack are disabled for operations that include 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 there are no adapters 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 is 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 source ESXi 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 of a Virtual SAN cluster must have such a VMkernel adapter.

  10. 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.

  11. (Optional) On the IPv4 settings page, select an option for obtaining IP addresses.



    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.

  12. (Optional) On the IPv6 settings page, select an option for obtaining IPv6 addresses.



    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.

  13. Review your setting selections in the Ready to complete page and click Finish.
  14. Follow the prompts to complete the wizard.