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Discontinuation of 3rd party vSwitch program (2149722)

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Purpose

This article provides answers for frequently asked questions regarding VMware's announcement of discontinuation of 3rd party vSwitch.

Resolution

VMware is announcing discontinuation of its third party virtual switch (vSwitch) program, and plans to deprecate the VMware vSphere APIs used by third party switches in the release following vSphere 6.5 Update 1. Subsequent vSphere versions will have the third party vSwitch APIs completely removed and third party vSwitches will no longer work.

This has no impact on existing use of 3rd party vSwitch on supported vSphere release. It also has no impact on support already purchased from VMware or the support lifecycle for the product. For more information on the end of support for this product, see the VMware Lifecycle Product Matrix

The 3rd party switch APIs will work and be supported up to vSphere 6.5 Update 1.

VMware recommends migrating from third party distributed vSwitches including Cisco Nexus 1000V, Cisco VM-FEX,  HPE 5900v and IBM DVS 5000v to vSphere Distributed Switch.

To assist in vSwitch migration, VMware offers a free migration tool for migrating from Nexus 1000v to VDS. In addition, VMware’s Professional Services Organization can provide services to customer to migrate from 3rd party vSwitch to VDS.

FAQ

What is happening with VMware’s 3rd Party Virtual Switch Program?

VMware is discontinuing its third party virtual switch (vSwitch) program. VMware plans to deprecate the APIs in vSphere used by third party virtual switches in the future.

Why is VMware removing 3rd party vSwitch support from vSphere?

In line with how we’ve executed and delivered on our SDDC vision, we are now seeing customers converge on a networking standard.  The preferred model for virtual switching is to use the natively available virtual switch in the hypervisor and program it using APIs as required. VMware’s native virtual switch implementation has become the standard for greater than 99% of vSphere customers today. By using the native virtual switch to simplify the IT landscape by reducing upgrade times, streamline support, deploy new features more quickly, and prepare for the next wave of change agents.

When will the 3rd Party vSwitch APIs be removed from vSphere?

VMware expects to remove the APIs in the next update release after VMware vSphere 6.5 Update 1, as well as future releases of the vSphere platform.

What date specifically will this happen?

As policy, VMware does not provide specific dates for the release of future offerings.

What does this mean for customers currently running 3rd party vSwitches with VMware vSphere?

VMware customers using 3rd party vSwitches should begin planning a transition to VDS. VMware will continue to support the 3rd party virtual switch APIs and the enablement of a partner's use of these APIs, for vSphere 6.5 Update 1 and prior vSphere versions, as long as an active support and subscription services contract exists. After VMware vSphere 6.5 Update 1, VMware expects to remove the APIs as part of a future update to VMware vSphere 6.5 as well as future releases of the vSphere platform, and third party vSwitches will no longer work with vSphere.

What is VMware vSphere Distributed Switch?

VMware vSphere Distributed Switch (VMware VDS) is a native VMware virtual switch which was introduced in 2009. VDS provides centralized management of network configuration for multiple hosts in a cluster. In addition to centralized management, VDS provides rich features like NIOC, health monitoring of uplink, port mirroring, load-balancing of uplinks, back-up restore etc.

What 3rd party vSwitch offerings will no longer be supported on vSphere?

Third party vSwitches available for vSphere include Cisco Nexus 1000V, Cisco VM-FEX, , HPE 5900v and IBM DVS 5000v.

What about Cisco AVS, which is part of the Cisco ACI solution? Are you also discontinuing support for AVS?

VMware has never supported Cisco AVS from its initial release.

When were these partners notified?

VMware does not release details of confidential conversations with partners, however we can confirm that providers of 3rd party vSwitches have been notified to facilitate conversations with their customers.

What should customers do?

Customers are encouraged to migrate from third party distributed vSwitches including Cisco Nexus 1000V, Cisco VM-FEX, Cisco AVS, HPE 5900v and IBM DVS 5000v to vSphere Distributed Switch.

What is VMware doing to assist customers?

To assist in migration to VDS, VMware offers a free migration tool, or customers can work with VMware’s Professional Services Organization.

How many VMware customers will be impacted by this?

VMware believes the overall number of customers will be minimal, though some customers will be impacted.

Can a customer continue to use a 3rd party virtual switch, specifically the Cisco Nexus 1000v?

Existing customers that have purchased the Cisco Nexus 1000V may continue to use the product on vSphere 6.0 and prior versions. Cisco has only provided software support for Nexus 1000V up to VMware vSphere 6.0.”

Will VMware continue to provide support for the Nexus 1000v?

Yes, customers who have active support and subscription contracts for vSphere 5.5 and 6.0 will be entitled to support.

Why can’t a customer use Nexus 1000V with VMware vSphere 6.5?

Cisco has not released a vSphere Installation Bundle (VIB) to support vSphere 6.5.

Will VMware support the migration of Nexus 1000V to VDS?

Yes, customers can use a free migration tool developed by VMware. They can reach out to Global Support and Services (GSS), or engage the VMware professional services organization (PSO). Migration documentation and the migration tool is available for download.

Doesn’t this mean customers can no longer deploy Cisco ACI for network virtualization in VMware vSphere environments?

Nexus 1000v is not part of the Cisco ACI platform and therefore deployment of Cisco ACI and use of Cisco Nexus 1000V are not related.

How is Cisco supporting VMware vSphere customers with Cisco ACI?

For specific discussions related to Cisco customers, please contact Cisco. VMware has seen customers deploy Cisco ACI as a hardware fabric management platform and deploy VMware NSX in parallel for network virtualization and micro-segmentation.

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