Using System Center 2012 SP1 – Virtual Machine Manager Logical Switch with Hyper-V

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This blog post is a part of a series of blog posts about System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager, I am writing together with Michel Luescher (Consultant from Microsoft Switzerland).

In the last post we wrote about the new networking features in System Center 2012 SP1 – Virtual Machine Manager. One of the biggest changes in SCVMM is the concept of the Logical Switch. The new Logical Switch allows to manage Hyper-V Virtual Switches including the underlying network teaming centralized from System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

In Service Pack 1 you can choose between two Virtual Switches; You can use either the new Logical Switch or you can use the Standard Virtual Switch, which is basically the “legacy” Virtual Switch with the default Hyper-V Virtual Switch functions. If you create the Virtual Switch on a Hyper-V host you can choose between the two options and this allows you to choose the Logical Switch.

Standard Switch

The Standard Virtual Switch is basically the normal Hyper-V Virtual Switch and the configuration looks exactky the same as in the Hyper-V Manager. If you add a Hyper-V Host to SCVMM and you have previously created the Virtual Switch using Hyper-V Manager or PowerShell cmdlets, this Virtual Switch will be shown as Standard Switch.

Standard SwitchIn a nutshell:

  • The Standard Switch can only be deployed on one network adapter, so if you want to use network teaming you have to create the network teaming manual on the Hyper-V host.
  • The available Logical Networks have to be added on every host on the physical network adapter. This can be a little of a management effort but I made a simple PowerShell Script which helps you to do configuration changes: SCVMM 2012: Add Logical Network to all Hyper-V Hosts in HostGroup via PowerShell
  • Existing Virtual Switches will be shown as Standard Switches in SCVMM, you have to recreate the configuration if you want to use the Logical Switch.
  • With the Standard Switch you can set the one single management vNIC which can be used by the Management OS. You can attach additional vNIC using Windows PowerShell on the Hyper-V host but not from the Virtual Machine Manager Console

Logical Switch

A Logical Switch includes Virtual Switch Extensions, Uplink Port Profiles which define the physical network adapters used by the Hyper-V Virtual Switch for example for teaming and the Virtual Adapter Port Profiles mapped to Port Classifications which are the settings for the Virtual Network Adapters of the virtual machines.

Logical SwitchIn a nutshell:

  • The Logical Switch allows you to add multiple NICs in one Virtual Switch and creates a NIC teaming based on Uplink Port Profile. The Uplink Port Port Profile includes all the information which teaming mode and algorithm has to be used.
  • The Uplink Port Profile also includes a list of available logical network sites. If you have an additional Logical Network which runs on this network adapters you can simply add this to the Uplink Port Profile.
  • You can create multiple vNICs (vEthernet Adapters) for example a Hyper-V Converged Networking setup. Port Classifications and Virtual Adapter Port Profiles bring support for Bandwidth Management and QoS.
  • Logical Switches only work with windows Server 2012 , but there is no need to stay on Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V.

If you are running Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V hosts there is no reason why you should not use the Logical Switch, which adds additional functionality and centralized management to the Hyper-V Virtual Switch.

You can find the German Version of this blog post on Michel Lueschers (Consultant Microsoft Switzerland) blog.

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