Identify vNetwork Standard Switch (vSS) capabilities

Used to route traffic internally between virtual machines, and if a physical nic is configured, externally to the network.  Standard Switches can utilize multiple physical network adapters in order to combine the bandwidth and load balance the traffic among them.  It can also be configured to handle physical nic failover in the event that an interface is lost.

Maximum of 4096 ports per host, of which 1016 can be active.  vSS can have a maximum of 256 port groups.  The default number of ports for a Standard Switch is 120.  Also has support for VLANs and traffic shaping.

vSS may contain one of the following port groups.

1. Virtual Machine Port Group – This port group is designed to route traffic between the virtual machines as well as the external network.  Be sure if you plan to use vMotion that each Virtual Switch you set up is on the same broadcast domain.

2. VMKernel Port Group – Provides management connectivity to the host, as well as vMotion, iSCSI, NFS (IP storage), and Fault tolerance traffic.

Create/Delete a vNetwork Standard Switch

Adding is done through the VI Client connected directly to a host or though vCenter. Inventory->Hosts & Clusters – Configuration Tab -> Networking -> Add Networking

Will need to know the following…

  • Connection Type (Virtual Machine or VMKernel)
  • Physical Adapters (if any) to use
  • Network Label
  • VLAN ID
  • IP Address and Purpose (FT, vMotion, etc) if using vmkernel.

Removing is very similar.  Inventory – Hosts & Clusters – Configuration Tab -> Networking -> 'Select Switch' -> Remove.

Add/Configure/Remove vmnics on a vNetwork Standard Switch

Adding, Configuring, and removing is done through the Network Adapters tab. Inventory -> Hosts & Clusters – Configuration Tab -> Networking -> Select Switch -> Properties -> Network Adapters.  When adding you need to set the NIC Order.  Configuring is done with the 'Edit' button and you set speed and duplex.

Configure vmkernel ports for network services

VMkernel port groups can optionally be set for management, vMotion, or fault tolerance traffic.  This is done through same spots as above.  Require an IP address as well as a gateway.

Add/Edit/Remove port groups on a vNetwork Standard Switch

Same places as above.  You can add a Virtual Machine port group without a physical nic.  This will just allow for VM to VM traffic on the same vSwitch.

Determine use case for a vNetwork Standard Switch

Without enterprise plus licensing you are limited to using a vSS.  Also, you may want to consider having your virtualized vCenter on a virtual standard switch as it holds the configuration for the vDS.  Great for a second management network as well.  Also, if you don't have a vCenter or a standalone host not connected to vCenter you can you a VSS.