Each VMware ESX host has its own software-based virtual switch (vSwitch) in its hypervisor that performs the switching operations between its virtual machines (VMs). The Cisco UCS distributed virtual switch (DVS) is a software-based virtual switch that runs alongside the vSwitch in the ESX hypervisor, and can be distributed across multiple ESX hosts. Unlike vSwitch, which uses its own local port configuration, a DVS associated with multiple ESX hosts uses the same port configuration across all ESX hosts.
After associating an ESX host to a DVS, you can migrate existing VMs from the vSwitch to the DVS, and you can create VMs to use the DVS instead of the vSwitch. With the hardware-based VN-Link implementation, when a VM uses the DVS, all VM traffic passes through the DVS and ASIC-based switching is performed by the fabric interconnect.
In Cisco UCS Manager, DVSes are organized in the following hierarchy:
At the top of the hierarchy is the vCenter, which represents a VMware vCenter instance. Each vCenter contains one or more datacenters, and optionally vCenter folders with which you can organize the datacenters. Each datacenter contains one or more required datacenter folders. Datacenter folders contain the DVSes.