VCP 4 Prep Objective 2.2 – Configure vNetwork Distributed Switches (vDS)

Objective 2.2 – Configure vNetwork Distributed Switches (vDS)

The distributed switch has an IO plane and control plane; the IO plane is a hidden virtual switch on each host, the control plane of the virtual switch lives in vCenter.

Understand ESX host and port maximums for dvSwitches

The configuration maximums for distributed virtual switches are:

  • 1016 active switch ports per host
  • 20000 distributed virtual ports per vCenter
  • 5000 distributed port groups per vCenter
  • 32 distributed switches per vCenter
  • 350 hosts per distributed switch 

Determine the virtual port group NIC teaming and failover policy in a given situation

The NIC teaming policies are identical to the standard switch, the only difference being configuration changes are propagated to all ESX/ESXi hosts which are participating in a distributed switch.

Determine the appropriate virtual port group security policies in a given situation

The layer two security policies are identical to the standard switch, again any changes are propagated to all ESX/ESXI hosts which are participating in a distributed switch. However when you start to look at traffic shaping you’ll notice inbound and outbound traffic shaping; standard switches just have outbound traffic shaping. Other settings available on the distributed switch are: VLAN (trunking multiple VLAN IDs, Private VLANs or standard VLANs).

Create / Modify a vNetwork Distributed Switch

To create a vDS connect to vCenter via the vSphere client.

UI: Click the Inventory breadcrumb > Inventory > Networking > Click the Inventory Menu > datacenter > New vNetwork Distributed Switch.

Name the switch as you would do a standard switch and specify the number of required uplinks, select add later then click finish.

Create / Modify Uplink group settings

The vDS uplink group settings can be modified from within vCenter via the vSphere client.

UI: Configuration tab > Networking > vNetwork Distributed Switch > Manage Physical Adapters > Add a NIC > select uplink > select the physical adapter.

NOTE: If you add an adapter that is already assigned to another vDS or vSwitch then that adapter will be removed from that vDS or vSwitch.

Create / Modify dvPort group settings

The dvPort group settings can be created or modified from within vCenter via the vSphere client.

Port Bindings:  

  • Static; this binding method is default and is used in scenarios where the number of virtual machines is constant and or where a single port policy is required per virtual machine.
  • Dynamic; this binding method allocates a virtual port as and when the virtual machine is powered on. This method doesn’t allow for single port policies and would probably be best suited to a development environment.
  • Ephemeral; this bindings method dynamically assigns the virtual machine to a port as per the dynamic bindings method but also changes the number of virtual ports on the switch dynamically. The ephemeral binding method is best suited to desktop virtualisation, kiosts and convention demonstration labs.

UI: Home > Inventory > Networking > Right click vDS > Edit Settings > [Modification you can make are]:

  • Change the name of the vDS
  • Modify the number of uplinks
  • Change the MTU size (this is something you would configure if you are going to use jumbo frames)
  • Configure or disable the Cisco Discovery Protocol; the configuration options are listen and advertise. CDP is a layer two protocol that discovers the switch IOS, IP addressing, switch name, VLANs, Port type and number, etc. If you configure the ESXi vSwitch to advertise and listen then the Cisco switch will be able to gather information about the VMware switch.
  • Define pVLANs (Primary VLAN ID, Secondary VLAN ID and the type [Isolated|Community|Promiscuous])

Add an ESX/ESXi host to a vNetwork Distributed Switch

ESX/ESXi hosts can be added to the vDS with no disruption to the running virtual machines if, the existing vSwitch has multiple uplinks and you only assign one uplink to the vDS; the second uplink can be assigned when all virtual machines have been assigned to the vDS.

UI: Configuration tab > Networking > vNetwork Distributed Switch > Manage Physical Adapters > <click to Add NIC> select Adapter > Ok > Ok

Add / Delete a VMkernel dvPort

The VMKernel dvPorts can be added or deleted from within vCenter via the vSphere client.

To add a VMKernel port via the UI: Configuration tab > Networking > vNetwork Distributed Switch > Manage Virtual Adapters > Add > New Virtual Adapter > [VMKernel | Service Console] > Next > [Port Group | port] > [VMotion | Fault Tolerance | Management] > Next > Configure IP addressing > Finish

To migrate a VMKernel port via the UI: Configuration tab > Networking > vNetwork Distributed Switch > Manage Virtual Adapters > [Add | Remove] > Migrate existing virtual adapters > Virtual Adapter and Port group > Next > Finish > Close

To remove a VMKernel port via the UI: Configuration tab > Networking > vNetwork Distributed Switch > Manage Virtual Adapters > select vmk# > Remove > Yes > Close.

Migrate virtual machines to a vNetwork Distributed Switch

You can migrate virtual machines to a vDS in two ways; the first is a labour intensive task that requires you edit each virtual machine and change the virtual machines vNIC configuration. The second way is to migrate multiple virtual machines at once; the migrate virtual networking wizard allows you to select an existing vSwitch and the destination vDS and one or more virtual machines.

UI: Home > Inventory > Networking > Right Click vDS > Migrate Virtual Machine Networking > Select the source vSwitch > Select the destination vDS > Click show virtual machines > select the virtual machines to migrate > Ok >

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