Essential Guide

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Stay connected with tips and trends in vSphere networking

Introduction

The data center of today has more strain put on its network as virtual desktop infrastructures, mobile devices and cloud services grow in popularity.

As more devices and users get connected and even more servers are virtualized, the vSphere network needs administrators with the troubleshooting know-how to remove roadblocks quickly when network traffic slows to a crawl.

VMware's vSphere Standard Switch and vSphere Distributed Switch are two ways to route traffic; administrators who have expertise with these switches can tweak their systems for better performance and more security around virtual machines. For multi-tenant cloud providers or large enterprises that require even greater flexibility and protection, VMware came out with its NSX network virtualization offering that infuses functionality, such as a distributed firewall, into the hypervisor.

This guide shares troubleshooting tips and informative articles that cover the latest in networking in a vSphere infrastructure.

1Clearing communication clogs-

Correcting connections

When network performance is lagging or virtual machines cannot talk to hosts, it takes a certain set of skills and troubleshooting chops to uncover the cause in today's multifaceted virtual environments.

Tip

Overhaul vSphere configuration to head off issues

Older VMware shops with outdated settings in vSphere can benefit from improved network behavior with a few adjustments. Continue Reading

Tip

How to improve virtual security using the border router

Filtering potentially dangerous traffic from entering and sensitive data from leaving the data center can give the added benefit of better overall system performance. Continue Reading

Tip

Isolate VMkernel to protect network performance

These troubleshooting steps can determine whether a faulty configuration is causing congestion. Continue Reading

Tip

Avoid slow VM migrations by adding a virtual switch

Administrators looking for the best protection and performance should avoid the default networking configuration. Continue Reading

Answer

Performance charts help uncover timeout problems

Performance counters in the vSphere client can show when packet loss is happening to help pinpoint timeout issues. Continue Reading

Tip

Best practices might not always be the right path

Commonly misconfigured areas in vSphere can result in reduced availability or poor VM performance. Continue Reading

Tip

Source of dropped packets requires detective work

Using a Linux or a Windows guest operating system in the VM means different approaches to fix high packet loss. Continue Reading

Answer

Correcting host access issues with an XP VM on Fusion

When running the Fusion hypervisor, there are two ways to give an XP VM access to the Mac host. Continue Reading

2The basic option-

Working with the vSphere Standard Switch

Despite the word "standard" in its name, the vSphere Standard Switch features plenty of functionality to route traffic in the data center and keep data moving in the right direction.

Feature

How to manage a vSphere Standard Switch

Don't let the name fool you. The vSS has plenty of functions to help shape network traffic. Continue Reading

Feature

Factors to consider with the standard switch

An expert says there are a few instances when the vSS is preferred to the vSphere Distributed Switch. Continue Reading

Tip

How the vSphere Standard Switch differs from the vSphere Distributed Switch

Our expert describes the differences between VMware's two switch options. Continue Reading

3More advanced features-

Stepping up to the vSphere Distributed Switch

The vSphere Distributed Switch (vDS) comes with the vSphere Enterprise Plus license. The enhanced functionality of vDS offers more visibility to the network along with centralized administration to simplify operations.

Answer

Keep VMs running during a switch transition

Trying to avoid downtime in a networking change? There are a few steps required to avoid interruptions in service. Continue Reading

Tip

Automate the management of virtual distributed switches

With PowerCLI 5.5, VMware put in additional cmdlets to give administrators another option to work with vDSes. Continue Reading

Tip

Making the switch from vSS to vDS

Replacing standard switches with vDS will provide better monitoring and networking capabilities. This advanced tip walks administrators through the process. Continue Reading

4The new frontier-

Network virtualization with NSX

VMware introduced its NSX network virtualization offering in 2013 and promoted the product as a way to bring added flexibility and security to an area that had largely remained constant for several decades. By abstracting certain network functions from hardware, NSX is a key component to VMware's vision for the software-defined data center.

Answer

What do you need to run Cisco ACI and VMware NSX?

A look at the requirements for two competing network virtualization products Continue Reading

Answer

The security capabilities of NSX

In addition to making the network more flexible, VMware touts NSX as a way to keep data away from prying eyes. Continue Reading

Answer

What are some of the benefits VMware promises with NSX?

The virtualization company says freeing your physical network from its shackles will increase deployment speeds while reducing the network's complexity. Continue Reading

Answer

How Cisco and VMware approach network virtualization

VMware's method is more software based while Cisco uses a combination of hardware and software to abstract the network. Continue Reading

Tip

NSX versus Hyper-V network virtualization

Each product virtualizes Layer 3 hardware but gets plugged into the network in a different fashion. Continue Reading

Answer

NSX assists with carving out network space

The VXLAN overlay gives multi-tenant cloud providers a way to provide the segmentation required to operate their business. Continue Reading

Answer

NSX Edge gateway service handles several functions

The security and gateway services in the NSX Edge virtual machine means a company can always scale up these functions by adding more virtual machines. Continue Reading

Answer

With security in the hypervisor, micro-segmentation a core feature in NSX

The NSX 6.1 update infused more protections into the hypervisor enabling security rules to stick with virtual machines as they move around the data center. Continue Reading

Answer

How does software-defined networking differ from network virtualization?

NSX helps steer network traffic while software-defined networking deals with more with optimization of that flow. Continue Reading

Tip

Five VMware NSX 6.1 enhancements

The 6.1 update to NSX added key security, high availability and management features geared toward cloud providers. Continue Reading

Tip

Network virtualization certification track is unique

VMware released its certification track for NSX at VMworld 2014 for administrators who want to prove their expertise in this technology. Continue Reading

5Glossary-

Key networking terms

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