Saturday, January 7, 2012

Virtual Switches comparison

The screenshot below shows a Standard Switch port groups and its associated tabs. The Summary tab is shown.

From the picture below, we can tell that the actual Standard Switches (e.g. vSwitch0) is not shown. The reason is it is on a per ESXi basis. The same port group can belong to different vSwitch in different ESXi host. Hence it does not make sense to show it. So what is shown on the Networking main page is the Port Group.


The Distributed Switch, on the other hand, exists outside each host from management point of view. Hence it is consistent across hosts, and can be displayed on the Networking page itself.

It has additional tabs: Networks, Ports, Resource Allocation, Configuration.

Networks means the port groups + 1 uplink port group. There is only 1 uplink port group.

It has no IP Pool because this is configured at Port Group level.

Distributed Switch supports DirectPath I/O Generation 2. The little icon next to the word Supported does not show additional info than what’s already shown.

The “Migrate VM Networking” allows the migration of VM from one port group to another.


Let’s go through the common Tabs first.

The Virtual Machines tab is identical. So Standard or Distributed Port Group have the same columns. The columns are shown below. It includes the custom attributes. In the example below, Owner is a custom attributes.

The only difference is with Distributed Switch, you can see the list of VM either at port group level or switch level. In the Standard Switch, you can only see at the port group level.


The Hosts tab is also identical.

The screenshow below shows the list of columns. The AutoDeploy attributes appears only when Autodeploy is configured.


The Tasks & Events tab is also identical.


The Events sub tab seems to have a lot more info for Distributed. Because of the hierarchy, we can see events at the entire Distributed Switch itself.


The Alarms tab is quite different because there is basically no alarm for Standard Switch. The alarm for Standard Switch is defined at the host instead.

The screenshot below shows that the default page comes with 0 defined alarm.


To create a new alarm, right click and choose “New Alarm…” from the pop up menu, as shown above. It brings up the dialog box below.

This is a generic dialog box, but it has filtered what it can monitor. In this case, it can only monitor Network. So no other object is shown. Notice that the state/condition option has been greyed out too, as it cannot be monitored for Network.


Clicking the Triggers tab shows the screen below. From here, it it clear that no meaningful alarm can be created as it has no event that it can monitor. The only options are for Distributed Switch, but we’re are Standard Switch here. Hopefully this gets fixed in future release as it’s not applicable.


For Distributed Switch, it also comes with 0 default alarm, as can be seen below. I was hoping it would come with some preconfigured alarm, considering how importance this switch is.


Clicking the Triggers tab shows the screen below. From here, it it clear that a lot of alarms can be created. You will notice the dialog box looks funny as I’ve extended the drop down menu, so it shows all the events. The actual dialog box only shows 8 events at a time, and it has 23 events in total. So we have 23 alarms versus 0.


You can create the alarm at Distributed Switch level, or at individual Distributed Port Group level. If you do it at individual Port Group level, surprisingly the list is not consistent. You can 1 more alarm (dvPort group renamed), but you lose a bunch of alarms. Hopefully in future release this is made consistent.


The Permissions tab also look similar on the surface, but very different underneath.

The Distributed Switch has additional privilege, categorised under “dvPort group” and “vSphere Distributed Switch”.

The remaining network related privilege seems to be shared by both.


So the above few screenshots show how the Distributed Switch properties are shown in the UI.

The Standard Switch “property” page is shown via just 1 dialog box. Here is the property page of a Standard Switch.


There is a lot more to share on the delta between the 2 switches!


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