One of my customers experienced high CPU load on their physical switch. After some investigation they noticed broadcasts packets being sent every two seconds. The first reaction was Beacon Probing is probably enabled.
Unfortunately this wasn’t the case. But VMware GSS came to the rescue and pointed us towards a KB article. Apparently a bug has been identified in 4.0 which causes this behaviour:
- ESX sends Beacon Packets when vDS/vSwitch are connected to more than one uplink.
- ESX server sends periodic broadcast of Beacon Packets even if the vSwitch/vNetwork Distributed Switch (vDS) is not configured to use Beacon Probing for Network Failover Detection.
- These packets have the virtual MAC of the vmnic in the Source MAC Address field.
#esxcfg-advcfg -s 0 /Net/MaxBeaconsAtOnce
The customer implemented this workaround and the problem is gone… From what I have been told this issue does not exist in ESX(i) 4.1 so if you are experiencing it, an upgrade might be a better solution. In this case due to the size of the environment that was not an option.