N-port ID virtualization (NPIV) provides the ability to share a single physical Fibre Channel HBA port among multiple virtual ports, each with unique identifiers. This capability lets you control virtual machine access to LUNs on a per-virtual machine basis.

Each virtual port is identified by a pair of world wide names (WWNs) that vCenter Server assigns. The pair consists of a world wide port name (WWPN) and a world wide node name (WWNN).

For detailed information on how to configure NPIV for a virtual machine, see the vSphere Storage documentation.

NPIV support is subject to the following limitations:

  • NPIV must be enabled on the SAN switch. Contact the switch vendor for information about enabling NPIV on their devices.
  • NPIV is supported only for virtual machines with RDM disks. Virtual machines with regular virtual disks continue to use the WWNs of the host’s physical HBAs.
  • The physical HBAs on the ESXi host must have access to a LUN though their WWNs in order for the virtual machines on that host to have access to that LUN using their NPIV WWNs. Ensure that access is provided to both the host and the virtual machines.
  • The physical HBAs on the ESXi host must support NPIV. If the physical HBAs do not support NPIV, the virtual machines on that host start using the WWNs of the physical HBAs for LUN access.
  • Each virtual machine can have up to 4 virtual ports. NPIV-enabled virtual machines are assigned exactly 4 NPIV-related WWNs, which are used to communicate with physical HBAs through virtual ports. Therefore, virtual machines can use up to 4 physical HBAs for NPIV purposes.


  • To edit the virtual machine’s WWNs, power off the virtual machine.
  • Verify that the virtual machine has a datastore containing a LUN that is available to the host.


  1. Right-click a virtual machine in the inventory and select Edit Settings.
  2. Click the VM Options tab and expand Fibre Channel NPIV.
  3. (Optional) Select the Temporarily Disable NPIV for this virtual machine check box.
  4. Select an option for assigning WWNs.
    • To leave WWNs unchanged, select Leave unchanged.
    • To have vCenter Server or the ESXi host generate new WWNs, select Generate New WWNs.
    • To remove the current WWN assignments, select Remove WWN assignment.
  5. Click OK.