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Configuring LACP in an ESX Environment

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By default, ESX supports EtherChannel to bundle more than one physical port which the Cisco Meraki MS Switch line does not support. To utilize port aggregation on Cisco Meraki Switches in an ESX environment, the ESX server must be configured to support LACP.

Setting up an ESX Environment to utilize LACP

Below are requirements for running LACP in ESX:

1) ESX servers can utilize LACP by running the vSphere Web Client, version 5.1 or higher.
2) Open vSphere Distributed Switch must be setup on the vSphere Web Client, after which the ESX node itself will recognize and respond to LACP packets. 

Here is a guide that will walk you through the steps required for setting up the vSphere 5.1 Web Client to use the Open vSphere Distributed Switch for LACP.

Verifying Configuration

After the vSphere Web Client has been downloaded and the proper virtual switch has been chosen, plugging the ESX server into the aggregated ports on the MS should create the proper connection.  To verify that the configuration has been successful, a packet capture can be run on the specific switch port and an LACP packet can be viewed.  Figure 1 shows the LACP portion of the frame. The highlighted information is what should be verified.  If the Actor and Partner information is filled with the MAC addresses of the MS as well as the ESX server than LACP is running and acting appropriately.

Figure 1: LACP Packet pointing out the client identifying information

This article discussed the configuration necessary to configure LACP in an ESX Environment which will then allow for link aggregation to function between an ESX server and a Cisco Meraki Switch.

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