Migrating vSphere to Distributed Switch

Migrate vSphere from a standard switch to a distributed switch without losing network communication.

Table of Contents

Little Rant

I just got done moving my vSphere to a distributed switch, and I find it ridiculous that something that should be so easy is hard. My environment has ESXi version 8.0.0 and vSphere


  1. ESXi and vSphere installed
  2. Available nic on ESXi host
  3. Distribution Switch for VMs

What You Need to Do

If you are like me, after you created a distribution switch for your VMs and had no issues moving VMs over, but when moving vSphere, you lose connection but then get an error message that it fails to move over.
  1. Creating a new Port Group
    1. When logged into vSphere -> hamburger icon -> inventory -> networking (globe icon)
    2. Find your VM switch and right-click -> Distributed Port Group -> New Distributed Port Group…
    3. Name your new port group -> “NEXT” button -> Change Port binding from Static binding to Ephemeral – no binding
    4. Modify additional settings as needed and finish the process
  2. Adding Host to Port Group
    1. Right-click your VM switch -> Add and Manage Hosts… -> Add hosts -> “Next” button -> Add your host and hit the “Next” button
    2. Add the vmnic adapter to the Assign uplink and select the “Next” button -> Skip over Manage VMkernel adapters and select the “Next” button -> Click the checkbox “Migrate virtual machine networking”
    3. Select the box “Configure per virtual machine” -> For the virtual machine VMware vCenter Server, link the text “ASSIGN PORT GROUP” -> Assign your vCenter Server the port group created in steps 1 to 3 and hit the “Next” button -> lastly “Finish” button
  3. vSphere should migrate with no issues from the standard switch to the distributed switch.

Troubleshooting failed migrations

  1. Right-click the VM switch -> Add and Manage Hosts… -> Manage host networking; the host is listed. Repeat step 2
  2. If the host is not listed, you must do a bait and switch using a temp nic. Do not use one currently on the ESXi host for the temp nic. On the temp nic, ensure it is configured like the standard switch for the ESXi host and physical switch.
    1. Perform step 2 but with the temp nic, not the nic the vSphere uses.
    2. With vSphere on the temp nic right-click your VM switch -> Add and Manage Hosts… -> Manage host networking -> select the host with the temp nic
    3. Remove the assign uplink from the temp nic and assign the correct nic with the uplink.
    4. Keep hitting the “Next” button as no further changes are needed.


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