N-port ID virtualization (NPIV) provides the ability to share a single physical Fibre Channel HBA port among multiple virtual ports, each with unique identifiers. This capability lets you control virtual machine access to LUNs on a per-virtual machine basis.

Each virtual port is identified by a pair of world wide names (WWNs): a world wide port name (WWPN) and a world wide node name (WWNN). These WWNs are assigned by vCenter Server.

For detailed information on how to configure NPIV for a virtual machine, see the Fibre Channel SAN Configuration Guide.

NPIV support is subject to the following limitations:

NPIV must be enabled on the SAN switch. Contact the switch vendor for information about enabling NPIV on their devices.

NPIV is supported only for virtual machines with RDM disks. Virtual machines with regular virtual disks continue to use the WWNs of the host’s physical HBAs.

The physical HBAs on the ESX host must have access to a LUN using its WWNs in order for any virtual machines on that host to have access to that LUN using their NPIV WWNs. Ensure that access is provided to both the host and the virtual machines.

The physical HBAs on the ESX host must support NPIV. If the physical HBAs do not support NPIV, the virtual machines running on that host will fall back to using the WWNs of the host’s physical HBAs for LUN access.

Each virtual machine can have up to 4 virtual ports. NPIV-enabled virtual machines are assigned exactly 4 NPIV-related WWNs, which are used to communicate with physical HBAs through virtual ports. Therefore, virtual machines can utilize up to 4 physical HBAs for NPIV purposes.

You can view or edit the virtual machines WWNs on the Options tab.

To edit the virtual machine’s WWNs, power off the virtual machine.

Verify that the virtual machine has a datastore containing a LUN that is available to the host.


In the vSphere Client inventory, right-click the virtual machine and select Edit Settings.


Click the Options tab and under Advanced select Fibre Channel NPIV.


(Optional) Select the Temporarily Disable NPIV for this virtual machine check box.


Assigned WWNs appear in the WWN Assignments panel.

To leave WWNs unchanged, select Leave unchanged.

To have vCenter Server or the ESX host generate new WWNs, select Generate New WWNs.

To remove the current WWN assignments, select Remove WWN assignment.


Click OK to save your changes and close the dialog box.


Provide the WWN assignments to your SAN administrator.

The administrator needs the assignments to configure virtual machine access to the LUN.