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A use case for exporting and importing distributed vswitches

In a recent VMware project, an existing environment of vSphere ESXi hosts had to be split off to a new instance of vCenter. These hosts were member of a distributed virtual switch, an object that saves its configuration in the vCenter database. This information would be lost after the move to the new vCenter, and the hosts would be left with "orphaned" distributed vswitch configurations.

Thanks to the export/import function now available in vSphere 5.5 and 6.x, we can now move the full distributed vswitch configuration to the new vCenter:

  • In the old vCenter, right-click the switch object, click "Export configuration" and choose the default "Distributed switch and all port groups"
  • Add the hosts to the new vCenter
  • In the new vCenter, right-click the datacenter object, click "Import distributed switch" in the "Distributed switch" sub-menu.
  • Select your saved configuration file, and tick the "Preserve original distributed switch and port group identifiers" box (which is not default!)
What used to be orphaned configurations on the host, are now valid member switches of the distributed switch you just imported!

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