vSphere 5.5 Web Client Workflows – Create Distributed Virtual Switch and Port Groups

Since vSphere 5.1, all of the new features for each vSphere release have only been put into the Web Client, rather than integrating features into both the Web Client and the legacy C# client. As vSphere 5.5 will be the last version released with a full Windows C# client (reference – Derek Seaman’s blog), administrators are going to have to migrate to using the vSphere 5.5 Web Client on a full time basis. Up until now, administrators have been slow in adopting the Web Client, so I thought it would be a good idea to outline some common workflows within the Web Client that might be a little foreign if you hadn’t used it before.

Create the Distributed Virtual Switch

1. In the vSphere Web Client Home page, click on the Networking icon.

2. Right-click your Datacenter object in inventory (1), then New Distributed Switch (2).

3. Give your new DVS a name, then click Next.

4. Choose the preferred version for your DVS. If you need to maintain compatibility with an older version of vSphere, then choose the minimum version required. For example – if you need to join a vSphere 4.1 host to this DVS, choose Distributed Switch 4.1.0. For 5.0, choose Distributed Switch 5.0.0. If you are only going to join vSphere 5.5 hosts, leave it at the default Distributed Switch 5.5.0. Note that upgrades can be done without service interruption at any point, but downgrades are not possible, so choose appropriately. Click Next to proceed.

5. Choose your number of uplinks, decide whether you want to enable NIOC, and whether you want a default port group to be created. Click Next to proceed. In our case:
  • We have 4 uplinks per host, all of which will be added to the DVS,
  • We want NIOC to be enabled, and
  • We will create our Distributed Virtual Port Groups after the DVS is created.

6. Review settings chosen during the New Distributed Switch wizard, then hit Finish.

7. You should now see the new DVS in your Networking inventory.

Create Distributed Virtual Port Groups

For my virtual lab networking, I have the following requirements:

  • Three /24 networks, all trunked on each uplink – VLAN 1010, 1020, and 1030
  • Management traffic on VLAN 1010
  • iSCSI and VSAN traffic on VLAN 1020
  • vMotion and Fault Tolerance traffic on VLAN 1030

Note: Steps for creating each of these port groups is the same, so I’ll only go through it once

1. Right-click the new DVS, then click New Distributed Port Group

2. Name the new Port Group, then click Next.

3. Choose port binding, allocation, number of ports, any specific network resource pools, and VLAN information. In our case, defaults are fine for everything except VLAN configuration since all of our traffic is coming in tagged. I’ve specified the VLAN, and checked Customize… so we can set everything we need in this wizard. Click Next to continue.

4. Finally the default security settings are set per best practices, so we don’t need to adjust anything here. Click Next.

5. We have no specific traffic shaping requirements, so nothing to set here. Click Next.

6. Here in Teaming and Failover, we’re going to deviate from the defaults. When finished, click Next.
  • (1) Load balancing – I’ve set this to Route based on physical NIC load (Load-based Teaming or LBT). This is a common load balancing setting when using a DVS in any configuration other than Etherchannel or LACP, where you’d use Route based on IP hash. I generally prefer LBT from a simplicity POV, but that’s a different discussion.
  • (2) Failover order – I’ve set Uplinks 3 and 4 to Unused. I’ve done this to segment traffic manually by only allowing traffic from VLAN 1010 on Uplinks 1 and 2.

7. We’re not doing anything with Netflow, so click Next.

8. We also don’t want to block all ports, so click Next.

9. Everything at default again, click Next.

10. Review settings for the new Port Group, and if you’re happy with it, click Finish.

11. Your Port Group is now complete. You should see it in your inventory.

And that’s it for this article. Look forward to the next article where we add hosts into the DVS and create VMkernel ports!