vSphere 6.5 iSCSI Binding Bug…Dude, Where’s My Unused Adapters?


Tonight I was going through an install of ESXi 6.5 (No vCenter yet) and I wanted to setup iSCSI binding to provide multiple paths to the iSCSI array. This requires setting the other vmnic into an “Unused” State. I need to set vmnic5 to unused, however I quickly realized there was no Unused Adapter option in the GUI as shown in Figure-1, only Mark Active or Standby.


I then SSH into the host and ran the following command:
esxcli network vswitch standard portgroup policy failover get -p iSCSI-1

Notice in Figure-2, there is an “Unused Adapter” so I thought maybe there is an ESXCLI command to set the vmnic adapter to “Unused” so I ran the following command:
esxcli network vswitch standard portgroup policy failover set --help
As you can see in Figure-3 there is only “active-uplink” and “standby-uplink”.


Like most I googled it and came across a bug report on VMware’s Fling site found here were other users experienced the same issue.


Continuing to troubleshooting the issue and stumbled across a workaround and figured why not share it. To workaround this issue we need to set the standby adapter (vmnic5) to Unused by issuing the following ESXCLI command:
esxcli network vswitch standard portgroup policy failover set -p iSCSI-1 -a vmnic5 . The results are shown in Figure-4. This moves vmnic5 to active while also moving vmnic1 to Unused. In my case I need to have vmnic5 set to Unused so I run the command again but this time using vmnic1, as shown in Figure-5.


There you have it a quick workaround around for this issue! If you found this helpful please share it.

22 comments On vSphere 6.5 iSCSI Binding Bug…Dude, Where’s My Unused Adapters?

  • Pingback: Configure a vSphere 6.5 Host – Part1 – VirtualizeStuff ()

  • Man, lucky I found your blog, I was about to pull my hair out as to why I couldn’t bind the iscsi adaptors together on 6.5.
    Why the hell would VMware leave or make such a school boy error as iSCSI has been around on their product for a long time.

  • I don’t get how VMware could have overlooked this, but I do owe you a beer. Thank you.

  • Dave the Man! All told, I probably lost about 45 min of reviewing my settings, vmkernel log, and then google. I would have lost far more if not for this post, THANKS!!! Also, I am not surprised at all that VMware missed this feature but at least we have HTML 5 finally.

    Tweet Sent!

  • It didn’t work for me. What build did you try this in?

  • @Santos this was done with vSphere 6.5.0-4602587 build . I have not tried this with vSphere 6.5a to see if the issue was resolved or not.

  • Thanks saved me ages of searching
    worked on VMware ESXi 6.5.0 build-4887370

  • Wow thank you so much for posting this. I was banging my head against the wall and thought I was going crazy trying to find the Unused Adapters and kept getting ‘the vmkernel network adapter is associated with more than one physical network adapter’ when I tried to set up the iSCSI adapter

  • It sure is very odd that this setting is not in the GUI anymore! Thanks for the information on how to solve it!!!

  • Thank you, exactly what i’m looking for! Sometimes you have to wonder with VMware; most companies, making progress means making things simpler for their customers… vmware is so dumb I really don’t have words for them.

  • Thanks so much for this video! It helped me a lot! Thanks!

    I have only one question:
    – Did you use different subnets for your vmk2 / vmk3 (e.g. for vmk2 and for vmk3)?

    I’m still not quite sure, if I should use different subnets for both vmkernel when they are allocated in the same vswitch. I remember forum discussions which were about that one should explicitly set both vmkernels into DIFFERENT subnets – and other discussion who proposed the opposite 😉 So, what did you do? 🙂

    My personal feeling would be, to use different subnets for ESXi as well as iSCSI SAN. E.g.
    vmk1 connects to iSCSI SAN
    vmk2 connects to iSCSI SAN

    What do you think? 🙂

    Thanks so much! Chirs

    • Hey Chris,

      Glad the post was helpful! I used a single subnet for my iSCSI traffic each host has two physical nics that go to separate switches to provide redundancy to the storage. I then changed the multipathing policy to use Round-Robin.


      • Dear Dave,
        thank you for your quick anweser!
        Let’s assume you have only one iscsi-target of a SAN, you would like to mount: Is it necessary to configure the same target two times using different ip-addresses in order to provide multipathing?

        E.g. let’s assume your SAN uses IP-adresses and 10.0.101.
        When I got it correctly, in iSCSI configuration of ESXi, you would have to configure the same target two times, however, with different ip-addresses, wouldn’t you?
        1.) iqn-path-to-your:target-A;
        2.) iqn-path-to-your:target-A;

        Thanks, Chris

  • This worked for me by settings the standby to an empty string:
    esxcli network vswitch standard portgroup policy failover set -a vmnic6 -s
    “” -p iSCSI-SAN1

  • Any idea if this will work on free license of ESXI 6.5?

  • Tnx for this m8. Really a strange bug. I thought I am stupid at one point of troubleshooting. 🙂

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