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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Overview of vNetwork Distributed Switch concepts


There are two types of virtual switches in ESX/ESXi 4.x and ESXi 5.x, vNetwork Standard Switch and vNetwork Distributed Switch.
Only vSphere Enterprise Plus supports the vNetwork Distributed Switch. For more information, see the vSphere purchase options.


vNetwork Standard Switch (vSwitch, vSS)

Like in VMware Infrastructure 3, the configuration of each vSwitch resides on the specific ESX/ESXi. The VI administrators have to manually maintain consistency of the vSwitch configuration across all ESX/ESXi hosts to ensure that they can perform operations such as VMotion.
vSwitch is configured on each ESX/ESXi host.

vNetwork Distributed Switch (dvSwitch, vDS)

The configuration of vDS is centralized to vCenter. The ESX/ESXi 4.xand ESXi 5.x hosts that belong to a dvSwitch do not need further configuration to be compliant.
Distributed Switches provide similar functionalities to vSwitches. dvPortgroups is a set of dvPorts. The vDS equivalent of portgroups is a set of ports in a vSwitch. Configuration is inherited from dvSwitch to dvPortgroup, like what happens for vSwitch/Portgroup.
Virtual machines, Service Console interface (vswif), and VMKernel interfaces can be connected to dvPortgroups just as like they could be connected to portgroups in vSwitches
Administrative rights are required to create the following virtual adapters on each ESX/ESXi host dvSwitch in vCenter:
  • Service Console and VMKernel interfaces
  • Physical NICs and their assignment to dvSwitch Uplink groups
For more information on configuring dvSwitch, see Configuring vNetwork Distributed Switch using vCenter (1010557).

Comparing vNetwork Standard Switch with vNetwork Distributed Switch

These features are available with both types of virtual switches:
  • Can forward L2 frames
  • Can segment traffic into VLANs
  • Can use and understand 802.1q VLAN encapsulation
  • Can have more than one uplink (NIC Teaming)
  • Can have traffic shaping for the outbound (TX) traffic
These features are available only with Distributed Switch:
  • Can shape inbound (RX) traffic
  • Has a central unified management interface through vCenter
  • Supports Private VLANs (PVLANs)
  • Provides potential customisation of Data and Control Planes
vSphere 5.0 provides these improvements to Distributed Switch functionality:
  • Increased visibility of inter-virtual-machine traffic through Netflow
  • Improved monitoring through port mirroring (dvMirror)
  • Support for LLDP (Link Layer Discovery Protocol), a vendor-neutral protocol.
For more information on these features, see the Advanced Networking section of the vSphere Networking guide.