Migrating off a distributed virtual switch to standard switch Article 2

Normally people want to migrate from virtual standard switches to distributed switches.   I am a huge fan of the distributed switch and feel it should be used everywhere.   The distributed switch becomes a challenge when you want to migrate hosts to a new vCenter.   I have seen a lot of migrations to new vCenters via detaching the ESXi hosts and connecting to the new vCenter.   This process works great assuming you are not using the distributed switch.   Removing or working with VM’s on a ghosted VDS is a real challenge.   So remove it before you migrate to a new vCenter.

In this multi-article solution I’ll provide some steps to migrate off a VDS to a VSS.

Article 2:  Migrating the host off the VDS.  In the last article we moved all the virtual machines off the VDS to a VSS.   We now need to migrate the vMotion and management off the VDS to a VSS.   This step will cause interruption to the management of a ESXi host.   Virtual machines will not be interrupted but the management / will be.   You must have console access to the ESXi host for this to work.  Steps at a glance:

  1. Confirm that a switch port exists for management and vMotion
  2. Remove vMotion, etc.. from VDS and add to VSS
  3. Remove management from VDS and add to VSS
  4. Confirm settings

Confirm that a switch port exists for management and vMotion

Before you begin examine the VSS to confirm that management and vMotion port groups were created correctly by Article 1's script.   Once your sure the VLAN settings for the port group are correct then you can move to the next step.  You may want to confirm your host isolation settings it’s possible these steps will cause a HA failure if you take too long to switch over and don’t have independent datastore networking.  Best practice would be to disable HA or switch to leave powered on isolation response. 

Remove vMotion, etc.. from VDS and add to VSS

Login to the ESXi host via console and ssh.  (Comments are preceded with #) 

#use the following command to identify virtual adapters on your dvs

esxcfg-vswitch -l

# sample output from my home lab

DVS Name         Num Ports   Used Ports  Configured Ports  MTU     Uplinks

dvSwitch         1792        7           512               1600    vmnic1


  DVPort ID           In Use      Client

  675                 0

  676                 1           vmnic1

  677                 0

  678                 0

  679                 1           vmk0

  268                 1           vmk1

  139                 1           vmk2


# We can see we have three virtual adapters on our host use the following command to identify their use and IP addresses

esxcfg-vmknic -l

#Sample output from my home lab cut out some details to make it more readable

Interface  Port Group/DVPort   IP Family IP Address     

vmk0       679                 IPv4                

vmk1       268                 IPv4                   

vmk2       139                 IPv4     


Align you vmk# with vCenter to identify which adapter provides the function (vmk0 management, vmk1 vMotion, vmk2 FT)


# We can now move all adapter other than management which in my case is vmk0 #we will start with vmk1 on dvSwitch on port 268

esxcfg-vmknic -d -v 268 -s "dvSwitch"


# Then add to vSwitch0 vmk1

esxcfg-vmknic -a -i -n -p PG-vMotion


Remove FT

esxcfg-vmknic -d -v 139 -s "dvSwitch"


esxcfg-vmknic -a -i -n -p PG-FT


Remove management from VDS and add to VSS

Remove management (this stage will interrupt management access to ESXi host – make sure you have console access) You might want to pretype the add command in the console before you execute the remove.  If you are having trouble getting the shell on a ESXi host do the following:

  • You will need to login to the console go to troubleshooting options -> Enable ESXi Shell

  • Press Alt-Cntr-F1 to enter shell and login


Remove management:

esxcfg-vmknic -d -v 679 -s "dvSwitch"


Add management to VSS:

esxcfg-vmknic -a -i -n -p PG-Mgmt


Confirm settings

Ping the host to ensure networking has returned to management.   Ensure the host returns to vCenter by waiting 2 minutes.    After you move the host to a new vCenter you can remove via:

  • Go to the host in vCenter and select dvs it should provide a remove button.




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