For multiple hosts or a stateless host, you can configure the virtual functions of the physical NIC by using a host profile and apply the profile on a host by using Auto Deploy.

For information about running ESXi by using Auto Deploy with host profiles, see the vCenter Server Installation and Setup documentation.

You can also enable SR-IOV virtual functions on the host by using the esxcli system module parameters set vCLI command on the NIC driver parameter for virtual functions in accordance with the driver documentation. For more information about using ESXCLI commands, see ESXCLI Concepts and Examples documentation.


  • Verify that the configuration of your environment supports SR-IOV. See SR-IOV Support.
  • Create a host profile based on the SR-IOV capable host. See the vSphere Host Profiles documentation.


  1. From the Home page, click Host Profiles.
  2. Select the host profile from the list and click the Configure tab.
  3. Click Edit Host Profile and expand the General System Settings node.
  4. Expand Kernel Module Parameter and select the parameter of the physical function driver for creating virtual functions.
    For example, the parameter for the physical function driver of an Intel physical NIC is max_vfs.
  5. In the Value text box, type a comma-separated list of valid virtual function numbers.
    Each list entry indicates the number of virtual functions that you want to configure for each physical function. A value of 0 ensures that SR-IOV is not enabled for that physical function.

    For example, if you have a dual port, set the value to x,y where x or y is the number of virtual functions you want to enable for a single port.

    If the target number of virtual functions on a single host is 30, you might have two dual port cards set to 0,10,10,10.

    Note: The number of virtual functions supported and available for configuration depends on your system configuration.
  6. Click Finish.
  7. Remediate the host profile to the host as required.


The virtual functions appear in the PCI Devices list on the Settings tab for the host.

What to do next

Associate a virtual function with a virtual machine adapter by using the SR-IOV passthrough network adapter type. See Assign a Virtual Function as SR-IOV Passthrough Adapter to a Virtual Machine.