Updates from QA Training

What is the purpose of the dvsdata folder?

What is the purpose of the .dvsdata folder in vSphere 5.1, read on to find out more…

Bryan O'Connor | 19 February 2013

What is the purpose of the .dvsdata folder in vSphere 5.1, read on to find out more…

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.dvsDatafolder.

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 .

Bryan O'Connor

Senior Technical Instructor

Bryan O’Connor is a Senior Technical Instructor at QA, teaching VMware, Microsoft and CompTIA courses. In the past, Bryan has also been certified by Novell as a MCNI (Master Certified Novell Instructor). Bryan started in the world of IT in 1986 and has worked in a variety of roles ranging from PC support technician to Network design and consultancy, to Virtualisation consultant. At last count, Bryan held over 40 professional VMware, Microsoft, Novell and CompTIA certifications. Bryan has advised many large organisations on their IT and project management needs to allow them to benefit from the increase in productivity provided by computer systems. In addition to teaching, Bryan does a variety of jobs in QA, including supporting the sales staff and setting up the classrooms. Outside of QA, Bryan enjoys spending time with his wife Tracey and their two daughters Meagan and Jessica, unless there’s a grand prix on the TV when he enjoys paying Tracey, Meagan and Jessica to disappear for the day.
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