The virtual networking layer includes virtual network adapters and virtual switches. ESXi relies on the virtual networking layer to support communications between virtual machines and their users. In addition, hosts use the virtual networking layer to communicate with iSCSI SANs, NAS storage, and so forth.

The methods you use to secure a virtual machine network depend on which guest operating system is installed, whether the virtual machines operate in a trusted environment, and a variety of other factors. Virtual switches provide a substantial degree of protection when used with other common security practices, such as installing firewalls.

ESXi also supports IEEE 802.1q VLANs, which you can use to further protect the virtual machine network or storage configuration. VLANs let you segment a physical network so that two machines on the same physical network cannot send packets to or receive packets from each other unless they are on the same VLAN.