BladeSystem Virtual Connect
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Query regarding disabling Beacon Probing on VMware ESXi 5.x hosts

Trusted Contributor

Query regarding disabling Beacon Probing on VMware ESXi 5.x hosts

Lee had a question regarding the enablement and disablement of "Beacon Probing".


Beacon probing is a network failover detection mechanism that sends out and listens for beacon probes on all NICs in the team and uses this information along with link status to determine link failure. Beacon probing detects failures, such as cable pulls and physical switch power failures on the immediate physical switch and also on the downstream switches.




As a best practice, HP recommends NOT using beacon probing, and enabling SmartLink within Virtual Connect within the defined vnet networks instead.


Here are some instructions that I found on ESXi 4.x on how to disable beacon probing:


However, I am not sure if this is the same procedure to disable beacon probing for ESXi 5.x, and the scope of that document does NOT mention ESXi 5.x.


Can anyone comment if this article’s described method of disabling beacon probing on ESXi 4.x is the same for 5.x?


I have checked a couple of customers running HP’s customized ESXi 5.1 image and the parameter described in the Vmware KB article is present on their 5.1 hypervisors.


Most of my customers are using SmartLink, so I expect that Beacon Probing will only interfere with the proper operation of SmartLink.  If anyone can shed some light on what the effect of having SmartLink and Beacon Probing on at the same time, that would also be much appreciated.




Input from Andy:




Beacon probing has not changed since the 4.x days and I would likewise recommend against using it in a BladeSystem + VC environment.  The purpose of Beacon Probing is to provide a means to detect a failure at the network edge beyond a simple up/down scenario.  This effectively provides a method to detect configuration errors, VLAN’s missing, or non-forwarding ports where the link state is still up.  Unfortunately the method used to achieve this is lost at the VC device due to stacking links and internal traffic management by the VC modules.  The alternative is, as recommended, to use Link Status Only on the ESXi host (instructions work for 4.x and 5.x), SmartLink on the VC modules and potentially also Link State Tracking (or non-Cisco equivalent) on the physical switch depending on the network topology.


From the vSphere Client

  1. Select a host
  2. Select the configuration tab
  3. Click Networking
  4. Click Properties of a vSwitch
  5. Edit or double click the vSwitch
  6. From the NIC Teaming tab select the Network Failover Detection of choice







Any other comments or suggestions?