Networking GuidesvSphere Distributed Switch Series

vDS-Part1 : Intro to vSphere Distributed Switch

Distributed Switch or the vDS (vSphere Distributed Switch) is the most advanced virtual switch by the VMware to provide the network connectivity between virtual machines & the outside networks with some of Its advanced networking feature which are not available in the vSphere Standard Switch. vDS provides the centralized management of all the networking configuration & settings from vCenter Server. Centralize management of vDS is the main feature which helps the user to manage the whole virtual networking from single switch only instead of going on each host in case of standard switch.

vDS acts as a single virtual switch across hosts. This allows the VM’s to maintain the consistent networking configurations when they are migrated within the Hosts. When the VM is migrated from one host to another network configuration of that VM remains consistent.

In case of vSS (vSphere Standard Switch) you need to create the switch on each single host. Each host will have its own standard switch with configurations. For configuring the Port groups, Networking Settings you need to go to each host & required to make configuration on the each switch every time but in case of vDS you just have to create the switch once at the vCenter level & you can make all the network configurations on single switch only. In vSS you need to make sure that the all the VM port groups are with the same name to work with vMotion but if you are using the vDS then you don’t have to worry about it. In vSS Physical network adapters of the ESXi Hosts are used as the Uplinks for providing the Network Connectivity to the physical network & Virtual Machine will have its virtual NIC vNIC’s which will connect to the Standard Switch port Group & then Network will flow through the Uplinks for physical connectivity.

Benefits of using vDS:-

  • Centralized management of all the Networking configuration & monitoring
  • Consistent Network configurations across all the hosts
  • Create once & use it with all the hosts across cluster/Datacenter
  • Increased Networking Capabilities with Load Balancing, Security, Traffic Shaping, PVLAN’s and many more.
  • Wide range of Network & Security features as compared to vSS.
  • Support for Third party Network switches such as Cisco nexus 1000v


Distributed Virtual Networking consists of 3 parts :

First Part at the Datacenter level where the vDS is created. Hosts & Port Groups are added to the vDS.

Second part at the Host level where Host ports & Networking services are associated with vDS through individual host networking configurations or by host profiles.

Third Part at the VM level where virtual machines vNIC’s are connected to the Distributed port group on the vDS either through virtual machine NIC configurations or by migrating virtual machine networking within Switch itself.

vDS helps in providing the consistent networking across all the hosts that are using the Distributed Switch. We can easily add or remove hosts from the Distributed Switch. Managing the Single Networking switch instead of multiple standard switches makes easy to configure & manage the whole virtual network efficiently. By using vDS you need to only monitor the single Distributed Switch.

vDS uses the DvUplinks & DvPort Groups to provide the networking connectivity between virtual machines & physical network. Where DvUplinks are used for the physical network connectivity to the outside world. DvPort Groups are created & used to provide the Network connectivity from dvSwitch to Virtual Machines. Once the vDS is created you create the DvPort Groups which is assigned to the virtual machines so through the Dvport Group VM will communicate to the vDS. Dvport Groups are associated with the different network label such as VM Network, Windows Network etc.

Some of the Advanced Networking Capabilities of vDS:-

  1. Private VLAN’s
  2. Inbound Traffic Shaping
  3. VM Port blocking
  4. Load Based Teaming
  5. Network vMotion
  6. Per Port policy
  7. Net Flow
  8. Ports Mirroring
  9. User Level Network I/O Control
  10. Link Layer Discovery protocol

vDS require the Enterprise Plus License.

vSS : vSphere Standard Switch
vDS: vSphere Distributed Switch

In our future posts we will post on How to create & configure the vDS.

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Mayur Parmar

Hi I am Mayur Parmar. Independent Author & Founder of Mastering VMware. I am working in IT industry for more than 4 Years with knowledge of VMware , Microsoft Server's, Linux Server's.

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