Step to Create a VMware vSphere Distributed And Standard Switches and Port Groups

In this article, we are going to learn to create VMware vSphere distributed and standard switches and port groups. These switches and port groups help in network traffic flow between the hypervisor and virtual machines and connect it with the network.

There are two types of switches available in VMware vSphere.

  1. vSphere Standard Switch (vSS)
  2. vSphere Distributed Switch (vDS)

vSphere Standard Switch

The configuration of each vSwitch resides on the specific ESXi host. Administrators have to manually maintain consistency of the vSS configuration across all ESXi/ESX hosts to ensure that they can perform operations such as vMotion. The vSS are configured on each ESXi/ESX host independently.

vSphere Distributed Switch (vDS)

The configuration of vDS is centralized to the vCenter Server. The ESXi hosts that belong to a vDS do not need further configuration to be created.

Distributed switches provide similar functionality to vSwitches. A dvPortgroup is a set of dvPorts. The dvSwitch equivalent of portgroups is a set of ports in a vSwitch. Configuration is inherited from dvSwitch to dvPortgroup, just as from vSwitch to Portgroup.

Virtual machines, Service Console interfaces, and VMKernel interfaces can be connected to dvPortgroups just as they could be connected to port groups in vSwitches.

You must have Administrative rights to create these virtual adapters on each ESXi host dvSwitch in vCenter Server.

How to create a vSphere Standard Switch (vSS) and PortGroups

  1. Log in to the vSphere web client
  2. Navigate to the host machine
  3. Go to configuration -> Networking
  4. Select Virtual switches.
  5. Click add the virtual switch ( or Green Plus Sign)
  6. Select the connection type from below three options
    • VMkernel Network Adapter – Create a new VMkernel adapter to handle vMotion, network storage, fault tolerance, or vSAN traffic.
    • Physical Network Adapter – Add physical network adapters to an existing or a new standard switch.
    • Virtual Machine Port Group for a Standard Switch – Create a new port group for virtual machine networking.
  7. Select New standard switch because we want to create a new switch here and click Next.
  8. Add physical network adapters to the new standard switch. We need to add an available physical adapter from this wizard.
  9. Enter a name and VLAN ID.
    • Enter a network Label or the port group or let it be the default.
    • Set the VLAN ID
  10. Click OK.

Let see the pictorial representation for creating vSphere Standard Switch.

This way you will create a vSphere standard switch and a port group with a given VLAN ID.

How to create a vSphere Distributed Switch (vDS) and PortGroups

Creating a vDS is different from creating a VSS. As a standard switch is limited to a single host but a distributed is shared between across the cluster under a datacenter.

Please follow below steps to create a distributed switch.

  1.  Log in to the vSphere Web Client
  2. Navigate to a data center
  3. Right-click the data center and select Distributed Switch -> New Distributed Switch.
  4. Enter a name of vDS or select the default, click next.
  5. Select the supported version of vDS and click Next.
  6. On the Edit settings page, configure the distributed switch settings.
    • Enter the Number of uplinks
    • Use the drop-down menu to enable or disable Network I/O Control.
    • Create a default port group
    • Create a distributed port group(Optional)
    • Click Next.
  7. Review the settings and click Finish.

Let’s see the pictorial steps to create distributed switch and port group.

To create a distributed portgroup just follow the below steps which is similar to above steps.

  1. On the vSphere Client Home page, click Networking and navigate to the distributed switch.
  2. Right-click the distributed switch and select Distributed port group -> New distributed port group.
  3. On the Name and Location page, enter the name of the new distributed port group, or accept the default name, and click Next.
  4. On the Configure settings page, set the general properties for the new distributed port group and click Next or leave it to default.
    • Port Binding: Select any of the two binding options.
      1. Statis Binding: Assign a port to a virtual machine when the virtual machine connects to the distributed port group.
      2. Ephemeral – no binding: No port binding. You can assign a virtual machine to a distributed port group with ephemeral port binding also when connected to the host.
    • Port Allocation: Select any of the two:
      1. Elastic: The default number of ports is eight. When all ports are assigned, a new set of eight ports is created.
      2. Fixed: The default number of ports is set to eight. No additional ports are created when all ports are assigned.
    • The number of ports: Enter the number of ports on the distributed port group.
    • VLAN: Use the VLAN type drop-down menu to specify the type of VLAN traffic filtering and marking.
  5. Select the Security page options and click Next.
    • Promiscuous mode
    • MAC address changes
    • Forged transmits
  6. Select the Traffic shaping policy and click Next
  7. Configure the Teaming and failover or leave it to default and click Next.
  8. On the Monitoring page, enable or disable NetFlow and click Next.
  9. On the Miscellaneous page, select Yes or No and click Next
  10. Review the final setup and click Finish.

This way you would be able to create both standard and distributed switches and port groups. You can also refer below video on configuring of distributed switch:

Source: YouTube

Compare between vSphere Standard Switch and vSphere Distributes Switch

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 central unified management interface through vCenter Server
  • Supports Private VLANs (PVLANs)
  • Provides potential customization of Data and Control Planes
  • 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 the 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.
  • Network IO Control – 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.

Introduction To NSX

VMware NSX Data Center is the network virtualization platform for the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC), delivering networking and security entirely in software, abstracted from the underlying physical infrastructure.

NSX Data Center enables the Virtual Cloud Network, providing pervasive, end-to-end connectivity for your apps and data, wherever they are.

You can refer the below video to know more on NSX:

Source: YouTube

Source: VMware vSphere Networking

Also read,

VMware Basic Networking

Leave a Comment