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vSS/vDS Static LACP Support? November 10, 2010

Posted by wholmes in Network.

There seems to be some ongoing confusion around LACP support in VMware vNetwork Standard Switch and vNetwork Distributed Switches (vSS/vDS).
I have heard multiple references to “static LACP” support for vSS/vDS.

As of vSphere 4.1, only the Nexus 1000v truly supports LACP (Link Aggregation Control Protocol) port groups. For link aggregation using vSS/vDS, ports must be configured as static link aggregation groups (called static EtherChannel in the Cisco world, AKA static LAG or just static 802.3AD depending on the switch vendor) as vSS/vDS does not support LACP frames.

The terms EtherChannel and LACP seems to be incorrectly used interchangeably by some, and they are not the same. Any references to vSS/vDS support of “static LACP” is inaccurate. LACP is a specific protocol that is dependent on LACPDU frames to form the link aggregation group between ports. Only the Nexus 1000v supports sending LACPDU frames. If you see the term “static LACP” support used in relation to vSS/vDS configuration in any official VMware documentation, please comment below on where these references exist.

And just to make things a little more confusing, LACP and Port-Channels are no longer defined in IEEE 802.3AD, the definition has been moved to the IEEE 802.1AX standard.

This pdf shows features supported by vSS/vDS/Nexus1000v in vSphere, including the type of link aggregation supported by the differnt swithces. While it states vSphere 4.0 update 1, it is still applicable up to the current release, vSphere 4.1.


1. Rickard Nobel - August 28, 2012

I agree that there is much confusion around these terms and that it is very incorrect to speak about “static LACP” or similar. Silent LACP is just not LACP.. : )
Finally support for LACP has been added for ESXi: http://rickardnobel.se/archives/1391

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