• Paul Kennard

Part 2: Distributed Switch Backup & Recovery – Essentials

This is the second part in an ongoing ITBOD365 Essentials series, with this one focusing on the VMware Distributed Switch.

The vDS has been around for a while now and offers many benefits over the standard switch with the many features and complexity that can be configured, including its flexibility and integration with other products such as NSX the vDS soon becomes an item that you need to consider.

However, way too often this is not the case, so this post will cover this subject off to provide you with a good backup and recovery procedure for the vDS but also a solid rollback as a part of any change process affecting the vDS.

If you would like to jump to the other parts, you can use the links below:

Part 1: vCenter Backup & Recovery

Part 2: Distributed Switch Backup & Recovery

Part 3: ESXi Host Backup & Recovery

Bill and Ted No Way

Distributed Switch Backup

The option to back up and export your vDS configurations VMware introduced way back in Web Client in 5.1, in this post I will cover how to carry out the export via both the Web Client and PowerCLI which is the most flexible and fastest way to carry out each whilst also opening up opportunities towards automation.

vDS Backup Web Client

1. Login to the vSphere client

vSphere Web Client Login

2. Select the vDS you wish to backup and Right Click

vDS Export

3. Navigate to Settings > Export Configuration

vDS Export Configuration

4. Enter the description for backup and click OK

vDS Export Configuration Description

5. Save file by clicking OK and rename for easier identification.

That’s it, you now have the configuration exported for that vDS, however, please note you will need to carry this out on each vDS that needs backing up. 

The GUI exports are good for ad hoc type backups for things like a point in time recovery to cover planned environmental changes as part of a change rollback, but my preferred method is to use PowerCLI and capture all vDS configs in one go with one command which I will cover next.

vDS Backup PowerCLI

This method is by far the easiest way to get a full configuration export of all the Distributed Switches within your environment and is the perfect opportunity to automate this and include them as part of your normal backup process.

1. Ensure you have a directory/share available to store your vDS backups. I have just created a local Dir for this demonstration.


2. Open PowerShell

PowerShell 7

3. Fill in the details highlighted below, copy/paste into PowerShell prompt run and enter your vCenter credentials when presented.

Connect-VIServer $DestinationVC -Credential (Get-Credential)
$DestinationVC =Your-VC-FQDN.local
$vDSDetails = Get-VDSwitch
$vDSNames = $vDSDetails.Name
$datestamp = Get-Date -Format “dd-MM-yyyy”
Foreach ($vDSName in $vDSNames)
$DestiationDir =d:\Your-Export-Dir\+ $datestamp + “\” + $vDSName + “\”
New-Item -Path $DestiationDir -ItemType “Directory” -Force
$filename= $DestiationDir + $vDSName”
Get-VDSwitch -Name $vDSName | Export-VDSwitch -Description “vDS Backup” -Destination $filename
Disconnect-VIServer -Server $DestinationVC -Confirm:$false
Connect-VIServer Credentials
Distributed Switch Export PowerCLI

4. All done easy-peasy, you will now see in your location specified a nicely organised set of backups of all your vDS configurations within a dated folder.

ITBOD365 vDS Backups

Distributed Switch Restore

What's The Damage?

Just for testing's sake and to show both Web Client and PowerCLI restores let make some undesired changes.

Deleted Distributed Switch
Deleted Port Groups
Renamed Port Group

Distributed Switch Restore Web Client

Ok let's start via the GUI to restore the changes made to “ITBOD365-DSwitch” where 2 port groups were "accidentally" deleted, and I renamed another to “WHAT A vPICKLE”.

1. Login to the vSphere client

vSphere Web Client Login

2. Select the vDS you wish to restore and Right Click

vDS Import Config

3. Navigate to Settings > Restore Configuration

vDS Export Configuration

4. Click Browse and navigate and select the vDS configuration backup file, then click Next

Distributed Switch Browse Restore Configuration

5. Review the summary and click Finish

vDS Recovery Finnish

After the task has completed, you now see that vDS back to normal and deleted and re-named port groups have reverted.

If however you need to recover the whole Distributed Switch via the Web Client, you would follow the same process but at the Datacenter level.

Web Client vDS Datacenter

Distributed Switch Restore PowerCLI

Finally, the last vDS recovery I will use PowerCLI.

1. Open PowerShell

PowerShell Open

2. Fill in the details highlighted below, copy/paste into PowerShell prompt and run, and enter your vCenter credentials.

Connect-VIServer $DestinationVC -Credential (Get-Credential)
$DestinationVC =Your-VC-FQDN.local
New-VDSwitch -BackupPath d:\ -Location Your-Datacenter-Name -KeepIdentifiers:$true
PowerShell Credentials

3. Press Enter to start and then wait for task to complete

vDS Restore start
vDS Restore Progress
vDS Restore Completed

This concludes the Distributed Switch backup and restores post, in the next Part 3 in the series I plan to cover how to back up and restore your ESXi host configuration so hope you return and wish you all the best.


Cloud & Virtualization Blog by ITBOD - paul kennard