A virtual switch is the logical switching capability built into a VM platform that allows you to network VMs in the configuration you require.
ENA has a generic virtual switch type that supports the 3 types of VMware vSwitch:
- VMware standard vSwitch. This is usually deployed for standalone VMware hypervisors.
- VMware distributed vSwitch. This is a distributed vSwitch provided by VMware that, for example, allows multiple hypervisors to connect to a shared distributed switch, and supports vMotion, DRS.
- Cisco Nexus 1000v. This provides the same functionality as the VMware distributed vSwitch, but with greatly enhanced configuration options and performance operations - in effect, the same functionality as a physical Nexus switch.
A virtual switch is a logical entity comprising virtual port groups, both standard and distributed. Virtual port groups contain virtual ports and (for example) their VLAN assignments, port profiles. Virtual switch ports can connect to the following:
- internal management ports (vmk ports). These can be used for hypervisor to VMware vCenter access, direct management access, dedicated vMotion links, high availability.
- uplinks. These are the real physical NICs on the various hypervisors belonging to the vSwitch.
- VM VNICs. These ports are connected to specific VM's virtual NICs. VMs can have multiple VNICs connected to different virtual switches and/or virtual switch virtual port groups (VPGs). VPGs contain virtual ports (and VLAN assignments, port profiles), and typically serve dedicated classes of traffic, e.g. application traffic, administration, vMotion traffic.
To find the physical NIC to physical switch port connection
ENA locates the physical NIC to physical switch port connection through CDP (the VMware XML-API offers data received by its CDP listeners on each hypervisor PNIC). These connections are not displayed if:
- the hypervisors are connected to non-Cisco switches, or
- CDP is blocked, or
- ENA is not managing the access switch.
To manage Cisco Nexus 1000V vSwitches
ENA supports two methods for managing Cisco Nexus 1000V vSwitches:
- as an extension of VMware hypervisor support.
- as a separately managed device:
- managed as though it were a physical Cisco Nexus Switch.
- port level traffic volume monitoring.
- configuration upload, change alerting, policy violation.
- traffic analysis using Integrated Flow Analyzer (IFA) does to the individual port.
vSwitches are not automatically discovered and SNMP polled as switch devices. You must instead specifically add a vSwitch as a device, e.g. through the Add Devices dialog accessed on the Device Inventory page.
You can use both methods to manage a device and ENA will link the resultant data between the Summary dashboards of both the SNMP-polled switch device and the vSwitch.