Identify vNetwork Distributed Switch (vDS) capabilities

Functions as a single switch that spans across all associated hosts.  This allows virtual machines to maintain consistency in regards to their network connection as the vMotion and move from host to host.  dvSwitches have mostly the same characteristics of a Standard switch in the way that they can connect VMs to VMs as well as VMs to external networks.  dvSwitches require Enterprise Plus licensing, and allow you to above and beyond some capabilities of the standard switch with options to use netflow, port mirroring and private VLANs.
 
Create/Delete a vNetwork Distributed Switch
 
Right click a datacenter object inside of the networking inventory and select New vSphere Distributed switch.  This launches the wizard where you can select the following; Version of the switch to be created ( 4.0 – compatible back to vSphere 4.0, 4.1.0 – adds support for load based teaming and network i/o control – only supported by vSphere 4.1 and later, and 5.0 – newest version which adds all the vSphere 5.0 supported features such as netflow, i/o control, and port mirroring. ) Also can select number of uplinks per host, add hosts to the switch.  
Naturally, you cannot delete a dvSwitch if any VMs are still connected to a port group on the switch.  You must either disconnect or migrate all of the VMs off the dvSwitches port groups to others.
 
Add/Remove ESXi hosts from a vNetwork Distributed Switch
 
Hosts can be added to the switch either during the initial creation of the switch or by selecting the Add hosts link from the summary tab of the dvSwitch.  When adding a host to a dvswitch you need to select the physical NICs that will be mapped to the dvSwitch dvUplinks.  You can also migrate any vmkernel interfaces to the dvswitch  You can also migrate any virtual machine networking to the switch as well.  
Hosts are removed from a dvSwitch in the same area.  A host cannot be removed from a dvSwitch if it still has VMs connected to a dvPort Group.  You must either disconnect all VMs or migrate them to another port group in order to remove the host.
 
Add/Configure/Remove dvPort groups
 
Port Groups can be added to the dvSwitch by selecting the New Port Group link on the summary tab of the dvSwitch.  You must specify the name of the port group, the number of ports you want to include in the port group, and the VLAN type.  VLAN types include 
  • None – the dvPort group will only receive and send untagged traffic.
  • VLAN – You will need to specify a VLAN ID to attach to the packets being sent and received.
  • VLAN Trunking – Allows you to specify a range of allowed VLANs.
  • Private VLAN – You then need to further configure the pvlan on the switch.
Again, deleting a port group will require you to remove all the connectivity of that port group from the VMs.
 
Add/Remove uplink adapters to dvUplink groups
 
Can be added during the initial dvSwitch creation.  Can also be added and removed through the Manage Physical Adapters link from the networking section of a hosts configuration page.  dvUplinks are essentially the physical NICs on the host.
 
Create/Configure/Remove virtual adapters
 
This is also done through the networking section of the configuration tab of a host.  Virtual adapters are essentially a vmkernel interface (management, vmotion, IP based storage, and ft logging).  When adding a new virtual adapter you need to specify a name, IP address information and attach it to an existing dvPort group.  During this process you can also migrate other existing virtual adapters to this one.   In this same page you can modify the above settings of existing virtual adapters.
 
Migrate virtual adapters to/from a vNetwork Standard Switch
 
Spoke about this during the create/config section above.
 
Migrate virtual machines to/from a vNetwork Distributed Switch
 
Accessed by using the Migrate Virtual Machine Networking link on the summary tab of the dvSwitch.  Essentially this reconfigures all selected VMs to use the new destination network that you select.  Allows you to easily migrate multiple VMs at once to and from a standard and distributed virtual switch.
 
Determine use case for a vNetwork Distributed Switch
 
Need enterprise plus licensing.  Biggest use case is to provide simplicity and consistency across and ESXi host cluster.  Simplifies the addition of new hosts as you can just add them to the switch in replace of recreating all of the standard switches on the host.  Also, if you would like to use some of the advanced networking functions that vSphere 5 provides such as port mirroring and netflow you will need a dvSwitch.  The teaming policy of load based teaming is only available on a dvSwitch.