System Administration Guide: Network Interfaces and Network Virtualization

How Data Travels Through a Virtual Network

Figure 9–1 illustrates a simple VNIC configuration for a virtual network on a single system.

When the virtual network is configured, a zone sends traffic to an external host in the same fashion as a system without a virtual network. Traffic flows from the zone, through the VNIC to the virtual switch, and then to the physical interface, which sends the data out onto the network.

But what happens if one zone on a virtual network wants to send packets to another zone on the virtual network, given the previously mentioned Ethernet restrictions? As shown in Figure 9–1, suppose Zone 1 needs to send traffic to Zone 3? In this case packets pass from Zone 1 through its dedicated VNIC 1. The traffic then flows through the virtual switch to VNIC 3. VNIC 3 then passes the traffic to Zone 3. The traffic never leaves the system, and therefore never violates the Ethernet restrictions.