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Manage Hosts with vSphere virtual Distributed Switches

In this article we’ll cover the steps on how to add and manage the vSphere Hosts using virtual Distributed Switches configuration. So far in the previous articles for this series we covered how to:

We are now ready to start adding the vSphere Hosts we want to manage with virtual Distributed Switches. Let’s begin with the Uplinks.

This is a very easy step. At the same time it is essential when moving from  virtual Standard Switches to Distributed ones. The main principles really haven’t changed. Apart from the fact that now the vSphere Networking configuration is now centralized.

The purpose of this step is to migrate Physical Network Cards configuration and settings from the existing virtual Standard Switches to the Distributed Switch Uplink groups. To be fair it is also possible to create new ones on the fly using the same “Add and Manage Hosts” wizard. If we want to use exactly the same networking settings as per previous setup then the migration is still the best option.

It is worth noting we need to run this wizard on every virtual Distributed Switch we intend to associate with vSphere Hosts. For the purpose of this article series and also following the configuration in my personal home lab there are two virtual Distributed Switches: Infrastructure and Storage respectively. The steps in this article refer to the Infrastructure one.


Manage Hosts with virtual Distributed Switches

From the Infrastructure Distributed Switch let’s do a right-click to select the “Add and Manage Hosts”. From the wizard in this case case we’ll go for the first option. In the future the very same wizard can change existing configuration or remove vSphere Hosts.

add host virtual Distributed Switches

Let’s add all the intended vSphere Hosts to the configuration. The wizard will then make sure all the Networking configurations are pushed to intended vSphere Host by mean of the vSphere Host Proxy component acting as a Data layer.

manage Host virtual Distributed Switches

In this step we can choose if want to use any of the selected vSphere Host as a template to assist configuring the remaining ones. Let’s do this by choosing the check box below.

configure host virtual Distributed Switches

At this point we can select the vSphere host we want to use as a Template. This option is very useful of course for consistency. Also it helps a lot when the Hosts have the same configuration and resources allocated. In addition we can avoid repeating the same steps over and over multiple times.

virtual Distributed Switches template host

Now that we have selected the vSphere Hosts we are presented with the main options for this wizard. Let’s start with the Physical Network cards we can reclaim on each vSphere Host.

manage virtual Distributed Switches physical adapter

As per screenshot below the vmnic32 is free and not in use in any pertinent vSphere Host. So I’m going to select this one from the Template Host. Next is to click on “Assign uplink”.

manage virtual Distributed Switches physical network

Let’s assign this to the Management Uplink.

virtual Distributed Switches select uplink

Let’s repeat the same step also for the Provisioning Uplink. As per screenshot below vmnic32 and vmnic33 will be used by Management and Provisioning Uplinks on the new virtual Distributed Switch. Once ready with the changes let’s make sure to hit on “Apply to all” so to make this configuration consistent across all the vSphere Hosts.

virtual Distributed Switches apply all settings

In this step the wizard will analyze the impact on the Storage Network. In a nutshell the wizard is making sure the network traffic responsible for accessing the actual data blocks is not compromised. Failing this it will impair access to the virtual machines. Including the one running the vCenter if on the same Port Group! This is because effectively in my environment the iSCSI Traffic is still running on vmnic34 and vmnic35 on the virtual Standard Switch. Management Traffic is still using vmnic0.

As per screenshot below this change brings no impact so we are ready to continue and amend the changes.

virtual Distributed Switches analyse impact

And finally the step to review the changes before going to commit.

virtual Distributed Switches configuration summary

At this point vmnic32 and vmnic33 are assigned to the virtual Distributed Switch for Infrastructure. They will use Management and Provisioning Uplinks respectively. We are now ready to proceed with the next step about migrating the VMkernel to the newly created Uplinks so we can free up more uplinks from the old virtual Standard Switches. This is exactly what we’ll cover in the next article.

Feedback and comments are welcome!


About the author

Michele Domanico

Passionate about Virtualization, Storage, Data Availability and Software Defined Data Center technologies. The aim of Domalab.com is sharing with the Community the knowledge and experience gained with customers, industry leaders and like minded peers. Always open to constructive feedback and new challenges.

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