VMware vSphere Distributed Switch (VDS) provides a centralized interface from which you can configure, monitor and administer virtual machine access switching for the entire data center. The VDS provides:
- Simplified virtual machine network configuration
- Enhanced network monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities
- Support for advanced VMware vSphere networking features
Simplified Virtual Machine Network Configuration
Use these VDS features to streamline provisioning, administration and monitoring of virtual networking across multiple hosts:
- Central control of virtual switch port configuration, portgroup naming, filter settings, and others
- Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) that negotiates and automatically configures link aggregation between vSphere hosts and the access layer physical switch
- Network health-check capabilities to verify vSphere to physical network configuration
Enhanced Network Monitoring and Troubleshooting Capabilities
The VDS provides monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities:
- Support for RSPAN and ERSPAN protocols for remote network analysis
- IPFIX Netflow version 10
- SNMPv3 support
- Rollback and recovery for patching and updating the network configuration
- Templates to enable backup and restore for virtual networking configuration
- Network-based coredump (Netdump) to debug hosts without local storage
Support for Advanced vSphere Networking Features
The VDS supplies the building blocks for many networking capabilities in the vSphere environment:
- Provides the core element for VMware vSphere Network I/O Control (NIOC)
- Maintains network runtime state for virtual machines as they move across multiple hosts, enabling inline monitoring and centralized firewall services
- Supports Single Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV) to enable low-latency and high-I/O workloads
- Contains a BPDU filter to prevent virtual machines from sending BPDUs to the physical switch
The VDS extends the features and capabilities of virtual networks while simplifying provisioning and the ongoing configuration, monitoring and management process.
vSphere network switches can be divided into two logical sections: the data plane and the management plane. The data plane implements the packet switching, filtering, tagging and so on. The management plane is the control structure used by the operator to configure data plane functionality. Each vSphere Standard Switch (VSS) contains both data and management planes, and the administrator configures and maintains each switch individually.
The VDS eases this management burden by treating the network as an aggregated resource. Individual host-level virtual switches are abstracted into one large VDS spanning multiple hosts at the data center-level. In this design, the data plane remains local to each VDS but the management plane is centralized.
Each VMware vCenter Server instance can support up to 128 VDSs; each VDS can manage up to 500 hosts.
- Distributed Virtual Port Groups (DV Port Groups) — Port groups that specify port configuration options for each member port
- Distributed Virtual Uplinks (dvUplinks) — dvUplinks provide a level of abstraction for the physical NICs (vmnics) on each host
- Private VLANs (PVLANs) — PVLAN support enables broader compatibility with existing networking environments using the technology
- Network vMotion — Simplifies monitoring and troubleshooting by tracking the networking state (such as counters and port statistics) of each virtual machine as it moves from host to host on a VDS
- Bi-directional Traffic Shaping — Applies traffic shaping policies on DV port group definitions, defined by average bandwidth, peak bandwidth and burst size