When it comes to network configuration on vSphere, some people like to stay simple and configure a simple vSphere Standard Switch (sSS), others like to take advantage of what their solutions have to offer and go after a vSphere Distributed Switch (vDS),

But what some people don’t know is that if they are looking for network abstraction, security, manageability and more, the best option is vDS,

vSS requires that the configuration and maintenance of each vSS are performed individually across each ESXi host since the vSS contains both the data and management plane functionality with each vSS switch configuration.

The vDS provides similar functionality as the vSS. dvPortgroups are made up of a set of dvPorts. The vDS equivalent of portgroups is a set of ports in a vSS. The configuration is inherited from dvSwitch to dvPortgroup, just as from vSS to Portgroup.

vSphere Standard Switch Architecture

vSphere Distributed Switch Architecture


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 a Distributed Switch:

  • Can shape inbound (RX) traffic
  • Has a central unified management interface through vCenter Server
  • Supports Private VLANs (PVLANs)
  • Provides potential customization of Data and Control Planes

vSphere 5.x 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.
  • The enhanced link aggregation feature provides choice in hashing algorithms and also increases the limit on number of link aggregation groups.
  • Additional port security is enabled through traffic filtering support.
  • Improved single-root I/O virtualization (SR-IOV) support and 40GB NIC support.

vSphere 6.x provides these improvements to Distributed Switch functionality:

  • Network  IO Control  New support for per virtual machine Distributed vSwitch bandwidth reservations to guarantee isolation and enforce limits on bandwidth.
  • Multicast Snooping – Supports IGMP snooping for  IPv4 packet and MLD snooping for IPv6 packets in VDS. Improves performance and scale with multicast traffic.
  • Multiple TCP/IP  Stack for vMotion – Allows vMotion traffic a dedicated networking stack.  Simplifies IP address management with a dedicated default gateway for vMotion traffic.

Ref. HOL-2010-91 – vSphere Distributed Switch – Lightning Lab

Interesting information isn’t it, but let see how this is translated to the real (virtual) life by creating a vDS and migration our hosts’ networking into it.

P.D for networking configuration on vDS, visit About vSphere Networking

Another good source for advanced configuration for vDS can be found on Provision a VMware VDS configuration (VMware vSphere 6.x)

I will be covering the basic creation and movement of from vSS to vDS

Let’s start building our new vDS.

Important: Some of the names of the components won’t be the same for your environment, use it for reference.

  1. In the vSphere Web Client, click on Jortech Datacenter.

  1. In the navigator, right-click the Jortech Datacenter.
  2. Select Distributed Switch > New Distributed Switch.


  1. Type (vDS name) in the Name field mine will be Jortech DVS – For 6.5 Cluster.
  2. Click Next.

  1. Leave the default setting of 6.5.0 – ESXi 6.5 and later – (I will be using this option since the nodes I am adding are running ESXi 6.5)
  2. Click Next.


  1. On the Configure Settings page, Set the amount of Uplinks based on the number of vmnics you’ll to add to the vDS, (in my example, my ESXi hosts have 2 vmnics),  leave the rest to default options and click Next.

  1. Review your settings on the Ready to Complete page and click Finish if everything is ok.
  2. A new Port group called DPortGoup will be created.


Time to add the nodes to the new vDS

  1. Right-click on the newly created switch, mine: Jortech DVS – For 6.5 Cluster.
  2. Select Add and Manage Hosts…


  1. On the Select task page, select Add hosts.
  2. Click Next.

  1. On the Select hosts page, click New hosts.


  1. Click the check box on the left to select both hosts in the datacenter,
  2. Click OK.

  1. Verify the two hosts are listed, then click Next.

On the Manage physical network adapters page, we want to configure which physical NICs will be used on the distributed switch.

  1. From the On other switches/unclaimed list, highlight vmnic0
  2. Click Assign uplink.

  1. From the Select an Uplink page, select Uplink 1.
  2. Check the box next to Apply this uplink assignment to the rest of the hosts.

This will automatically configure any other hosts that you are adding to this distributed switch with the same vmnic and uplink settings.

Important: Repeat the steps for vmnic1 and assign it to Uplink 2

  1. Click OK.


  1. Review vmnic and uplink settings for the hosts you are adding and click Next if everything is correct.

Time to migrate the VMkernels to the vDS to continuing proving their services.

  1. From the On other switches/unclaimed list, highlight vmk0
  2. Click Assign port group.

  1. From the Select an Uplink page, select DPortGroup.
  2. Check the box next to Apply this port group assignment to the rest of the hosts.
  3. Click OK.

  1. Review vmk0 and port group for the hosts you are adding and click Next if everything is correct.

The add hosts wizard also gives us the ability to migrate VMs from one distributed switch to another on this page. While this action can be done here, I won’t be migrating any VMs since I don’t have any, but they can be later created or assigned to the DPortGroup for example.

  1. Click Next.

  1. On the Ready to Complete page, click Finish.



Hope you enjoyed this post and don’t forget to share and comment.


Buy me a coffeeBuy me a coffee