Vmware virtual network interface cards which do I choose?

Classic question there are all these virtual networking adapter types which one do I choose?  99% of the people you talk to will tell you they let vmware choose when then select the operating system.  This will choose a compatible network adapter type but not always the best type.  Each generation of virtual adapter brings better performance and features.  As a rule of thumb you want the highest vmxnet adapter your system supports.  As of ESXi 5 the following adapters are available listed in order preference (worst to best):

  • Flexible – Has two functions can function as a vlance or vmxnet (will be vlance unless vmware tools is installed)  vlance is an emulated 10Mbps nic available on almost all operating systems.  vmxnet is the first generation of virtualized only network cards and requires vmware tools to be installed.
  •  e1000 – is an emulated Intel 82545EM Gigabit ethernet NIC with support in most operating systems.  It is the default adapter for all 64-bit operating systems and is required for guest VLAN tagging.
  • vmxnet2 – Updated version of vmxnet that contains VLAN tagging, jumbo frames and hardware off-load with additional high-performance features
  • vmxnet3 – Is not really related the vmxnet2 but does represent the next generation of nic drivers it includes all features of vmxnet2 plus multiqueue support, IPv6 offloads, MSI/MSI-X interrupt – this driver has limited OS support requires vmware tools like all vmxnet adapters and requires Esxi hardware version 7 (Esxi version 4 at least)

How do I choose?  The best answer is consult vmwares knowledge base for information:


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