Plan the Interfaces for the VM-Series for ESXi

By planning the mapping of VM-Series Firewall vNICs and interfaces, you can avoid reboots and configuration issues. The following table describes the default mapping between VMware vNICs and VM-Series interfaces when all 10 vNICs are enabled on ESXi.
VMware vNIC
VM-Series Interfaces
1
Ethernet 1/0 (mgmt)
2
Ethernet 1/1 (eth1)
3
Ethernet 1/2 (eth2)
4
Ethernet 1/3 (eth3)
5
Ethernet 1/4 (eth4)
6
Ethernet 1/5 (eth5)
7
Ethernet 1/6 (eth6)
8
Ethernet 1/7 (eth7)
9
Ethernet 1/8 (eth8)
10
Ethernet 1/9 (eth9)
The mapping on the VM-Series Firewall remains the same no matter which vNICs you add on ESXi. Interfaces you activate on the firewall always take the next available vNIC on ESXi.
In the following diagram, eth3 and eth4 on the VM-Series Firewall are paired to vNICs 2 and 3 on ESXi, and eth1 and eth2 are unmapped, as shown on the left.
If you want to add two additional interfaces while maintaining the current mapping, activate vNICs 4 and 5 and reboot down the firewall. The existing vNIC mapping is preserved because you added the interfaces after the last-mapped inteface.
If you activate eth1 and eth2 on the VM-Series firewall, the interfaces reorder themselves as shown on the right, resulting in a mapping mismatch that impacts traffic.
esxi_vnic_planning_example.png
To avoid the issues described in the preceding example, you can do the following:
  • When provisioning your ESXi host for the first time, activate all nine vNICs beyond the first. Adding all nine vNICs as placeholders before powering on the VM-Series Firewall allows you to use any VM-Series interfaces regardless of order.
  • If all vNICs are active, adding additional interfaces no longer requires a reboot. Because each vNIC on ESXi requires that you choose a network, you can create an empty port group as a network placeholder.
  • Do not remove VM-Series firewall vNICs to avoid mapping mismatches.

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