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What’s the purpose of the .dvsdata folder in vSphere 5.1 February 19, 2013

Posted by vbry21 in VCAP5-DCA, VMware blogs, VMware Training.
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I’ve been doing some work on the VMware 5.1 Optimise and Scale course, today I’ve been looking at the section on Distributed Virtual Switches.

One of the questions I keep getting asked relates to the .dvsData folder.

When a virtual machine is connected to a port on a distributed switch, a folder named .dvsData is created on the datastore on which the virtual machine resides. The .dvsData folder is only created if you have a virtual machine that is attached to a distributed switch and that is located on that datastore. If virtual machines are attached only to standard switches, then the .dvsData folder does not exist. Also, the datastore that holds only the virtual machine’s .vmx config file has the .dvsData folder.

In the .dvsData folder is a subfolder whose name matches the UUID of the distributed switch. Each distributed switch has a UUID in the format “31 3f 2b 60 cf 01 c4 bf-d0 9a bb 7d ef 6f fe 71″ (this varies). In the UUID folder, you might find one or more files. Each file corresponds to the port ID that the virtual machine is associated with. This number corresponds to the parameter ethernet#.dvs.portId, where # is 0, 1, and so on. This parameter is located in the virtual machine’s .vmx configuration file. The ESXi host periodically synchronizes the virtual machine’s port state into this file. The host does this every five minutes.

The .dvsData folder and the subfolder is primarily used for VMware vSphere® High Availability. When a vSphere HA event occurs and the virtual machine is restarted on a different ESXi host, the destination host reads the distributed port state from the .dvsData subfolder and starts the virtual machine on that datastore.

As you would expect this folder is quite important, do not delete the .dvsData folder. However, if you must delete the folder (because you are performing VMFS maintenance for instance), ensure that no virtual machines on the datastore are registered in vCenter Server. After determining that no virtual machines are registered, then you can safely remove the .dvsData folder and its subfolders.

 

For lots more information read the vSphere Networking guide.

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