Migrate vCenter server back to machines hosts using vDS

I have an interesting delimna.  I have a test environment with two servers running 5.5, both hosts are configured with virtual distributed switch (vDS), call this TESTEnvironment1.  The vCenter VM these host servers are joined is hosted on another VM host and part of another test vCenter, call this TESTEnvironment2.   For consistency, I prefer to have the vCenter server for TESTEnvironment1 migrated back to its two VM hosts.  Both TEST environments see the same shared storage.  When I power down the TESTEnvironment1 vCenter hosting TESTEnvironment1 hosts, remove from inventory on TESTEnvironment2.  When I add vCenter server for TESTEnvironment1 comes up, it can't get an IP address since vCenter isn't online to distributed addresses / ports from the vDS.  And I can't manage the vCenter for TESTEnvironment1 since it uses the web client.   Both vCenters are windows based.

So...I added a third VM host to TestEnvironment1, made the networking on the third host use a standard switch and attempt to add the vCenter server for TESTEnvironment1, the server is added fine, the networking portion on the VM is stable, but can't ping out.

Can i have two clusters in the same datacenter, one cluster with two hosts using vDS and a single host using a standard switch?

These environments were from a previous technician who left and I'm trying to retain TestEnvironment1 and eventually retire TestEnvironment2.  vDS requires vCenter to be online and web client available.  When it's offline, I'm dead in the water and can't use the full client since they are version 10.   From what I read, the workaround right now is have your vCenter server hosted on a machine with a standard switch while GUEST hosts use vDS.  I only have one vLAN for both management, vmotion and guests to keep it simple.

For summary


host1 - uses vDS

host2 - uses vDS

host3 - uses standard switch


host1 - uses standard switch

vCenter - for TESTEnvironment1 (I want to migrate to be hosted on one of the servers in TESTEnvironment1)

vCenter - for TESTEnvironment2

          Hope this makes sense.      

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Can i have two clusters in the same datacenter, one cluster with two hosts using vDS and a single host using a standard switch?

Yes, you can have multiple clusters in same data center with different vSwitch configuration.

But I would suggest to have same/consistent configuration across hosts in 1 cluster.

The default Port Binding type is Static Binding which means you can connect a virtual machine to a static-binding port group only through vCenter Server.

If you do not have port group with Ephemeral binding, you cannot connect a new VM to VDS if your vCenter is down/powered off.

For the vCenter port group, you can consider creating or editing the PortGroup that is used by vCenter from static port binding to Ephemeral port binding.


With Ephemeral port binding, you can assign a virtual machine (the vCenter) to a distributed port group on ESX/ESXi and vCenter, giving you the flexibility to manage virtual machine connections through the host when vCenter is down.

More about ephemeral port binding:

VMware vSphere Distributed Switch allows management of ephemeral ports while vCenter is offline | VC...

Lost vcenter with ESXi host and cannot power on with vDS | Virtual Me

If you need to edit VM settings on VM hardware version 10 but vCenter is down, you can also use PowerCLI

VMware KB: Editing virtual machine settings fails with the error: You cannot use the vSphere client ...

You can keep the vCenter in VM hardware version 9 if you don't need any new features in version 10 + prefer the VM to be editable via vSphere Client.

VMware KB: Downgrading the virtual machine hardware version in ESX/ESXi

Are you running vCenter Server from Essentials Kit license?

If not, you can also have 1 vCenter Server managing those two TestEnvironment.

No need to have 2 vCenter if you prefer to manage all the clusters from 1 vCenter - especially when the clusters are in 1 site/location

Bayu Wibowo | VCIX6-DCV/NV Author of VMware NSX Cookbook | twitter @bayupw
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