If your host has more than one physical network adapter for iSCSI or iSER, you can use the adapters for multipathing.

You can use multiple physical adapters in a single or multiple switch configurations.

In the multiple switch configuration, you designate a separate vSphere switch for each virtual-to-physical adapter pair.

Figure 1. 1:1 Adapter Mapping on Separate vSphere Standard Switches
Two separate vSwitches for the iSCSI networking.

An alternative is to add all NICs and VMkernel adapters to the single vSphere switch. In this case, you must override the default network setup and make sure that each VMkernel adapter maps to only one corresponding active physical adapter.

Figure 2. 1:1 Adapter Mapping on a Single vSphere Standard Switch
Single vSwitch for the iSCSI networking.

The examples show configurations that use vSphere standard switches, but you can use distributed switches as well. For more information about vSphere distributed switches, see the vSphere Networking documentation.

The following considerations apply when you use multiple physical adapters:
  • Physical network adapters must be on the same subnet as the storage system they connect to.
  • (Applies only to iSCSI and not to iSER) If you use separate vSphere switches, you must connect them to different IP subnets. Otherwise, VMkernel adapters might experience connectivity problems and the host fails to discover the LUNs.
  • The single switch configuration is not appropriate for iSER because iSER does not support NIC teaming.
Do not use port binding when any of the following conditions exist:
  • Array target iSCSI ports are in a different broadcast domain and IP subnet.
  • VMkernel adapters used for iSCSI connectivity exist in different broadcast domains, IP subnets, or use different virtual switches.
    Note: In iSER configurations, the VMkernel adapters used for iSER connectivity cannot be used for converged traffic. The VMkernel adapters that you created to enable connectivity between the ESXi host with iSER and the iSER target must be used only for iSER traffic.