Which VMware VNIC Should I Use?

VMware VNIC

Which VMware VNIC is Best?

I recently attended a tech talk where Doug Baer, VCDX, was speaking about all the different VMware VNIC adapters there are now to choose from for vSphere.

After the meeting, I spoke with Doug and asked him if I could share his VMware VNIC data on my blog.  He gave me his approval so here it is:

VLANCE

  • Emulated version of the AMD 79C970 PCnet32 LANCE NIC
  • An older 10 Mbps NIC
  • Drivers are available in most 32-bit guest operating systems except Windows Vista and later.
  • A virtual machine configured with this network adapter can use its network immediately.

VMXNET

  • A virtual network adapter that has no physical counterpart
  • Optimized for performance in a virtual machine (paravirtualized)
  • VMware Tools contains the driver for this adapter

Flexible

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  • The Flexible network adapter identifies itself as a Vlance adapter when a virtual machine boot, but initializes itself and functions as either a Vlance or a VMXNET adapter, depending on which driver initializes it.

E1000

  • Emulated version of the Intel 82545EM Gigabit Ethernet NIC
  • Driver included only with the following guest operating systems
  • Linux versions 2.4.19 and later
  • Windows XP Professional x64 and later
  • Windows Server 2003 (32-bit) and later
  • Jumbo Frames (ESXi 4.1+)

VMXNET 2 Enhanced (Good)

  • Based on the VMXNET
  • •rovides high-performance features commonly used on modern networks
  • Jumbo frames
  • HW offloads (TSO, TCP/IP checksum)
  • Only available for some guest operating systems and on ESX/ESXi 3.5 or later

VMXNET 3 (Best)

  • Next-gen paravirtualized NIC (10Gb), designed for performance
  • Not related to VMXNET/VMXNET 2
  • All the features of VMXNET 2, plus several new features
  • multiqueue support
  • a.k.a. Receive Side Scaling (Windows)
  • IPv6 offloads
  • MSI/MSI-X interrupt delivery
  • Faster than e1000(e), less CPU overhead

Thank you, Doug!

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Discussion

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