September 20, 2020

Configure vNetwork Standard Switches – Objective 2.1 -VCP5 Notes

I have written a very brief article on introduction to vsphere vnetworking which was really a very small primer read from the SCOTT LOWE’s Mastering Vmware Vsphere 5 book. The book is really awesome and gives you real insight into VSphere.

Identify vNetwork Standdard Switch (vSS) Capabilities

A virtual standard switch you can say is a counterpart of the physical switch. It provides connectivity between the virtual machines and the physical network. It has logical port groups which correspond to physical ports on physical switch. Number of default ports on a vSwitch are 120 ( Actually if you use vCLI then you will find the number of ports is always 8 more than showed in the VI client, this is because 8 ports are used for management purpose which cannot be used by the virtual machines). Every network adapter in the virtual machine occupies a single port in the vSwitch and every uplink adapter also occupies a single port in the logical switch. If the traffic is internal i.e if two virtual machines are part of the same port group on the same vswitch then an uplink is not needed to route traffic between the machines. A virtual switch can have multiple port groups on it and multiple VMs assigned to each port group.

You can check the configuration maximums guide for Vmware ESXi here. Check page 5 for networking maximums.

A standard switch can have maximum 4096 ports on it. ( Actually 4096-8 = 4088 ports) and it can have maximum 256 port groups on it.

Naming of port groups is very important as having the same port groups name on different host will allow features like Vmotion and FT. If port groups are not same then these features will not work as VMs will not be on the same network and will not be able to receive the resources which it requires for operation.
You can find info about this in this guide here.

Create Configure a vStandard Switch

To create a new vSwitch select the ESXi host ->Configuration -> Networking

You can create two type of traffic ports. VMkernel port and Virtual Machine port. The Virtual Machine port groups is used to handle traffic between the virtual machines either internal or external. Click on Virtual Machine and a screen like this appears.

You can create a new switch or add a new port group to an existing vSwitch. The screen shows existing vSwitches with uplinks and also a lets create a new port gorup WEBTRAFFIC, I have vmnnic1 unused I will add that as an uplink to the switch.

You can also create a vswtich even without an available vmnic.

Just Click finish and you have just made a new vSwitch with a port group called WEB-TRAFFIC.

To delete a vswitch it is very simple just click the remove button

ADD/Configure/Remove vmnics from a vNetwork Standard Switch.

Goto ESXi host -> Configuration -> Networking and Click on properties of the vswitch on which you want to add or remove the vmnic

Configure vNetwork Standard Switches - add vmnics

Click on edit to edit the properties of vmnic, the only property you can modify is the speed and duplex settings.

To add a vmnic to an existing vSwitch Click on add and select the adapter you want to add. You can add a physical NIC which is not used by any other VSwitch or which is currently being used by a vSwitch.

. The screen shows number of port groups available on the switch and this will be used by all the port groups. Standby and failover can be selected and the order for the adapter. I will explain the failover and load balancing in future posts.

Click next and finish and a new vmnic is added to the vSWITCH.

Configure vmkernel ports for network services.

Select vmkernel from the form window.

Configure vNetwork Standard Switches -VMKERNEL

Select an existing switch or make a new vSwitch.

Click next. On this screen specify the name of the port group for the management network. Specify the VLAN ID ( if you are using VLANS)

A Vmkernel port is used for three types of traffic
a.) Vmotion
b.) FT logging
c.) Management network

Select all that apply. If you select all the three options then an error like this appears.

In lab environment you can use all these services on the same port but the recommended practice is to have separate network for vmotion, fault tolerance and management network. When you click next. You are asked to enter an IP address for the management network.

Click next and finish and we have just added a vmkernel port for vmotion, ft logging and management.

Add/edit/remove port groups on a vnetwork standard switch.

Goto Esxihost -> Configuration -> Networking -> Click on properties of particular vswitch a window like this appears

Click on ADD and select the type of port-group you want to add. Choose as per your requirements. Click next and specify the VLAN information and name of the port group. The whole process is same as described above.

Removing port groups .

Select the port group that you want to remove and click on remove.

If the port groups is active and currently VMs are using it you will get an error.

So remove any virtual machine associated with a port group first then remove a port group.

Determine use case for a vNetwork Standard Switch.

1.) Standard switch is standard in all the license version of vsphere whereas Distributed switch comes with enterprise plus license only.
2.) Standard switch is configured at host level. Even if we loose vcenter we dont loose the networking information.
3.) It can provide a local only network to a particular host only. ( Like a private only network)

Akash Deep Singh

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