vSphere 6.0: Introduction to vSphere Standard Switches (Part-1)

In previous 6 posts, we’ve learnt about installation and configuration of vCenter Server with both embedded and external PSC, vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) installation and configuration, and also its architecture and inventory. I’ve tried to cover maximum possible stuff regarding vCenter Server, and if I missed something, your valuable suggestion would be highly appreciated.

From now, we’ll learn about another important feature of vSphere 6.0 that is virtual networking.

vSphere Standard Switch (vSS)

vSphere standard switches handle network traffic at the host level in a vSphere environment. Standard switches used to provide network connectivity to hosts and VMs. A standard switch can bridge traffic internally between VM in the same VLAN and link to external networks.

To provide network connectivity to hosts and virtual machines, you connect the physical NICs of the hosts to uplink ports on the standard switch. Virtual machines have network adapters (vNICs) that you connect to port groups on the standard switch. Every port group can use one or more physical NICs to handle their network traffic. If a port group does not have a physical NIC connected to it, virtual machines on the same port group can only communicate with each other but not with the external network.

                                                             Figure: Thanks to VMware

A vSphere Standard Switch is very similar to a physical Ethernet switch. Virtual machine network adapters and physical NICs on the host use the logical ports on the switch as each adapter uses one port. Each logical port on the standard switch is a member of a single port group. For information about maximum allowed ports and port groups, see the Configuration Maximums documentation.

Standard Port Groups

Each port group on a standard switch is identified by a network label, which must be unique to the current host. You can use network labels to make the networking configuration of virtual machines portable across hosts. You should give the same label to the port groups in a data center that use physical NICs connected to one broadcast domain on the physical network.

Conversely, if two port groups are connected to physical NICs on different broadcast domains, the port groups should have distinct labels. For example, you can create Production and Test environment port groups as virtual machine networks on the hosts that share the same broadcast domain on the physical network. A VLAN ID, which restricts port group traffic to a logical Ethernet segment within the physical network, is optional. For port groups to receive the traffic that the same host sees, but from more than one VLAN, the VLAN ID must be set to VGT (VLAN 4095).

Number of Standard Ports

To ensure efficient use of host resources on hosts running ESXi 5.5 and later, the number of ports of standard switches are dynamically scaled up and down. A standard switch on such a host can expand up to the maximum number of ports supported on the host. Following table represents the configuration maximums regarding ports for vSphere Standard and Distributed Switches.

For complete guidance regarding vSphere 6.0 installation and configuration, you can follow VMware vSphere 6 Administration course.

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Source: vSphere 6.0 Networking Guide



Comments (4)

  1. jong-keun hong

    good article.

    1. Nisar Ahmad (Post author)

      Thank you Jong-keun!

  2. S.P. Muthukumar

    It is very useful to learn..Great work

    1. Nisar Ahmad (Post author)

      Thanks S.P. Muthukumar for reading and your complement.


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