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A Closer Look: Use vSphere’s Virtual Distributed Switch and Gain Greater Control Over your Distributed Virtual Network

by Chris Cousins, VMware SE, Mid-Market Team

Earlier this month, a colleague on my team, Mike Fegan, shared a blog about one of his customers and some of the performance issues they were experiencing with their SQL VMs. After a little troubleshooting, Mike was able to determine the MTU on the vSwitch was not properly configured, giving rise to packet fragmentation and poor performance. Mike went on to discuss how this issue could have been avoided by utilizing Network Health Check, one of the new Virtual Distributed Switch (VDS) features in vSphere 5.1.

The vSphere 5.1 release includes six additional new features for VDS: Configuration Backup & Restore, Management Rollback & Recovery, Distributed Port – Auto Expand, MAC Address Management, Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) Support, and Bridge Protocol Data Unit Filter.

In today’s post, I’d like to continue that blog discussion and give you a closer look at three (3) of these key features, the Health Network, the VDS Configuration Backup & Restore and the Management Rollback & Recovery , based on questions and discussions we hear from customers who are wanting to gain greater control over their distributed virtual network.

The Network Health Check

Proper network configuration of the vSphere infrastructure includes several moving parts and can be tricky, especially in environments where there may be more than one cook in the kitchen and any changes made by the physical network administrator may be unknown to the vSphere administrator. This can lead to misconfiguration of key items like VLANs, network adapter teaming and MTU.

In the example below, I enabled VLAN and MTU health check. Next, I changed the configuration for a VLAN parameter from 1825 to 1800. As you can see, once I made the change, I was immediately notified of the error. Think of all the issues you can avoid by using this one simple and powerful feature!

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