VCA6-NV – Virtual switches

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In this post, I will try to identify and explain the concept of vSphere Standard and Distributed virtual switches.

What’s a virtual switch ?

A virtual switch is similar in concept to a physical switch.
VMs are connected to the virtual switch using a “virtual wire”.

Uplinks are used to connect the virtual switch to an external physical switch.

Virtual switches


Two types of virtual switches exist within vSphere, vSphere standard switch (VSS) and vSphere distributed switch (VDS).


What are the uses and benefits of a vSphere standard switch ?

Virtual standard switches (VSS) are created per ESX hosts.
When installing an ESX, a VSS is created by default. This virtual switch is named vSwitch0.

Virtual switches


A VSS consist of the followings ports:
– VMKernel ports (vmk0) are used for management and vMotion, an IP address is assigned to it. It can also be used for IP storage and FT logging.
– Uplink ports for physical network connection.
– Port groups to connect the virtual machine.
It has by default 120 logical ports.

It supports common network features such as vlans, security policies and NIC teaming.

A VSS doesn’t use spanning- tree.
They also do not learn mac addresses like a physical switch.


What are the uses and benefits of a vSphere distributed switch ?

A virtual distributed switch (VDS) function as a single switch across the associated ESX hosts.
It provides a centralized management and allow a single configuration for all the ESX hosts.

Virtual switches

Policies are applied at the port groups level.

It supports advanced network features such as private vlans, netflow, port mirroring.

A VDS requires an Entreprise Plus vSphere license.



Thank you for reading.

Feel free to comment this post.



VCA6-NV –  vSphere Standard and Distributed virtual switches