How to Setup Aggregate Links between ESXi and a Cisco Switch

In this article I am setting a 3 network card aggregate link between an ESXi host and a Cisco 2960. Note that LACP is only supported on distributed vSwitches on ESXi 5.1 and not on ESXi 5.0 and below. You will need to know to which port on the switch your nics connect.


DvSwitch Configuration

To create a distributed vSwitch (DvSwitch) go to the below section in the vi client

Create a new DvSwitch

Select the host and network adaptors

Continue through the wizard and select exit.

Set the below options to enable the aggregate link for the ESXi server.


Cisco Switch Configuration

Below are the commands to create a 3 port aggregate connection. The NIC on my ESXi server I want to aggregate connects to switch ports g0/2, g0/3 and g0/4. Note that I am using the default vlan (vlan 1) for my network connections. Also note the the channel-group mode must be set to “on” and not “active”.


interface Port-channel1

description aggregate for ESXi

flowcontrol receive desired


interface GigabitEthernet0/2

flowcontrol receive desired

channel-group 1 mode on

spanning-tree portfast


interface GigabitEthernet0/3

flowcontrol receive desired

channel-group 1 mode on

spanning-tree portfast


interface GigabitEthernet0/4

flowcontrol receive desired

channel-group 1 mode on

spanning-tree portfast



Use the “show etherchannel summary” command to verify the aggregate link. The important section below is “Po1(SU) “ the U stand for “Up”.

TRI-COLO-SW1#sh etherchannel summary

Flags: D – down P – bundled in port-channel

I – stand-alone s – suspended

H – Hot-standby (LACP only)

R – Layer3 S – Layer2

U – in use f – failed to allocate aggregator

M – not in use, minimum links not met

u – unsuitable for bundling

w – waiting to be aggregated

d – default port

Number of channel-groups in use: 2

Number of aggregators: 2

Group Port-channel Protocol Ports


1 Po1(SU) – Gi0/2(P) Gi0/3(P) Gi0/4(P)

Comments 2

  • channel-group 1 mode on creates a static LAG or Generic Ether Channel. I think the correct command for LACP is: channel-group 1 mode active

    • Thanks Austin – hope all is well with you. Actually when I set this up I originally used the command “channel-group 1 mode active” but the aggregate didn’t form. Changing it to mode “on” fixed it for me.

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