[Beginner’s Guide] vSphere Networking and Its Components

Virtual networking is a critical part of virtualization. This article will share you with some vSphere networking concepts and introduce the key components of vSphere networking.


By Crystal / Updated on March 2, 2023

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About vSphere networking

VMware vSphere is one of the most popular virtualization platforms, enabling you to create multiple virtual machines and run different operating systems on a single physical host. To better deploy and manage a vSphere environment, you still need to configure VMware network so that virtual machines can communicate with each other.

VMware vSphere networking

Thus, vSphere networking is a critical component of the vSphere infrastructure. Just like physical network, a network of virtual machines running on a physical machine that are also connected logically to each other, so that they can send data to and receive data from each other.

Next, this article will provide you with more details about the components of vSphere networking.

Key components of vSphere networking

The way virtual machines connect to a network is similar to the way physical machines do. The difference is that the VMs use virtual switches and virtual network adapters to establish connections with physical networks. Except for them, vSphere networking also consists of other components like port groups.

Next this part will introduce some key components of vSphere networking with more details.

vSphere Virtual Switch (vSwitch)

A vSphere Virtual Switch is a software-based switch that allows a number of virtual machines connected to it to communicate with one another.

There are 2 different types of vSphere virtual switches:

  • vSphere Standard Switch (VSS): is a host-centric virtual switch, which means you need to configure the same VSS for each host no matter how many hosts you are running in your cluster, so that they are consistently configured. It is enabled by default when you install VMware ESXi.

vSphere Standard Switch Architecture

  • vSphere Distributed Switch (VDS): is a virtual switch more powerful, more scalable, and has more features than VSS, allowing you to easily scale with a large amount of ESXi hosts. It is centralized with vCenter Server.

vSphere Distributed Switch Architecture

Virtual network adapter

A network adapter is a hardware device that connects a host to a network. In VMware network, a virtual network adapter is created for each virtual machine, which enables it to connect to the virtual switch.

A vSphere network adapter is a virtual network interface card (NIC) used in vSphere virtualization environments. It emulates the behavior of a physical NIC, and provides connectivity between VMs and the physical network by forwarding network traffic between the physical NICs and the virtual switch.

When you configure a virtual machine, you can add network adapters (NICs) and specify the adapter type. The type of network adapters that are available depend on the following factors:

  • The virtual machine compatibility, which depends on the host that created or most recently updated it.
  • Whether the virtual machine compatibility has been updated to the latest version for the current host.
  • The guest operating system.

Port groups

A port group in vSphere is a group of virtual ports on virtual switch that provides a way to configure and manage networking properties for VMs.

In fact, when you create a network-enabled VM, you are connecting its virtual adapters to one or more port groups. The port groups define the networking properties of virtual machines attached to it.

In vSphere, a port group can be associated with a VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) ID to allow VMs communicate only with other VMs in the same VLAN.

vSphere networking

Necessary data protection: regular vSphere backup

You may need an effective backup software for VMware vSphere to protect your virtual environment and gain the ability to quickly recover your virtual machines when needed. Here is a reliable and efficient vSphere backup software - AOMEI Cyber Backup, which enables you to backup multiple VMs either managed by vCenter Server, or on a standalone ESXi host.

It simplifies the backup process and present the steps with intuitive GUI interface. In addition, it offers you the following benefits.

Agentless Backup: create complete and independent image-level backup for VMware ESXi and Hyper-V VMs.
Flexible vSphere Backup: batch backup large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server, or on a standalone ESXi host.
Multiple Storage Destinations: backup to local drive, or network destinations like Windows share or NAS.
Automated Execution: automate backup tasks to run daily, weekly, or monthly and notify by email.
Role Assignment: allows one administrator to create sub-accounts with limited privileges.

Start backup

AOMEI Cyber Backup supports both paid and free versions of VMware ESXi 6.5 and later versions. Next, I will show you how to perform vSphere VM backup and restore via AOMEI Cyber Backup. You can click the following button to download the free trial.

Download Free TrialVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

*You can choose to install this VM backup software on either Windows or Linux system.


Virtual networking enables the communication between virtual machines. Thus, vSphere networking is a critical part of the vSphere infrastructure. This article introduces what is vSphere networking and its key components.

Understanding the vSphere networking concepts can help you better plan for the network architecture, configure and manage the network effectively, and optimize the performance.

For regular maintenance, you can try a reliable VMware vSphere backup software to ensure your data security.

Crystal · Editor
Crystal is an editor from AOMEI Technology. She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. She is a positive young lady likes to share articles with peolpe. Off work she loves travelling and cooking which is wonderful for life.