vswitch distributed vswitch need explanation

Sid_F
Sid_F used Ask the Experts™
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Ok so I'm setting up various vmware setups. I'm a little confused on vswitches and need some fundamentals. My esx host has two nics. I have three vm's running off one nic and connected to vswitch0.
Vswitch0 contains 56 ports,
Questions 1: Why do I need 56 ports, is this a case of each virtual nic needs a port? so in my situation I could get away with having a vswitch with less than 5 ports (3 vms and console)?

Where does the distributed switch come into play? thanks
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Top Expert 2010
Commented:
Try not to view a vSwitch as a virtual object, but physical because that's what it acts like. If you have a physical switch with 24 ports, that's what it has...you don't configure it to have less...they are just part of the switch. (yes, you can disable ports, but that's not the same thing...the ports are still there) The same goes with vSwitches. It is configured by default with 56, but can be extended to have over 4000! :)

Each VM is assigned to a port on the vSwitch, simply stated. Then, the VM can 'see' the outside world by way of the Uplink Adapter on the vSwitch (which is associated with a NIC on the host).

a Distributed vSwitch, 1. is only accessible by having an Ent Plus license, and 2. is the same as a vSwitch, but is centralized. Prior to the dVSwitch, they had to be configured on each host, with the potential for config error. It is now centralized. I recommend looking over the Networking section of the Config Guide...easy to read and not too long:
http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r40_u1/vsp_40_u1_esx_server_config.pdf

Regards,
~coolsport00
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Ooops...forgot to answer your other question. If all you need is 5 ports (or whatever), yes, you can configure your vSwitch to have however many you need. :)

~coolsport00

Author

Commented:
Excellent, very clear thanks.

Author

Commented:
is there a way to know how many ports are free and in use for the vswitch?
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Well...by default, when a vSwitch is created, it has 56 ports. If I remember correctly, 8 are taken already by vSphere (forgot why...I think it's in the Guide I provided above). Ports are not used until  VMs are created and assigned to the VMNetwork Port on a particular vSwitch...and all ports are used (i.e. 48 VMs).

Hope that helps.

~coolsport00
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
vSwitches are no use in providing power to IP phones.
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Ha...uhh...yeah...that's true! :P

~coolsport00

Author

Commented:
thanks (power to ip phones...lol ) but it still doesn't answer my question as to whether there is a way to know how many ports are currently in use on the vswitch
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
I answered that for you Sid...ports are not used until a VM is assigned to it. So, if you have 2 VMs assigned to a vSwitch, 2 ports (of the default total) are in use.

~coolsport00
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
What about LACP? I didn't understand that bit but it was already there on the old switches so I let it be.
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
I don't understand your question Andy...

Author

Commented:
As far as ports I mean is there any indication of how many ports are used up without having to count up your vm's, on managed physical switches you can get a graphical view of the ports in use and their speed etc
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Nothing agreggated. You have the Netwk link in the Config tab...that's it. There maybe a cmd line/SSH way, but that really should be asked in another post. I'm not too much of a cmd line person. :-)
I do have a follow on question.  My server has 4 ports and I can team them normally through the broadcom software and our 3COM switch.  When the vswitch shows up it shows 56 ports.  Are these 4 nics teamed together on this NIC or what?  How can I make sure I am doing this correctly.  
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
"bhgewilson", you will have to open a question as 'piggy-backing' off anothers post is frowned upon by EE.

Regards,
~coolsport00

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