FAQ: Discontinuation of third party vSwitch program
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FAQ: Discontinuation of third party vSwitch program


Article ID: 318859


Updated On:


VMware vCenter Server VMware vSphere ESXi


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


VMware vSphere ESXi 6.5
VMware vSphere ESXi 5.5
VMware vSphere ESXi 6.0


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 third 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 third 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’s Professional Services Organization can provide services to customer to migrate from third party vSwitch to VDS.


  1. What is happening with VMware’s third 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.
  2. Why is VMware removing third party vSwitch support from vSphere?
    In line with how we have 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.
  3. When will the third 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.
  4. What date specifically will this happen?
    As policy, VMware does not provide specific dates for the release of future offerings.
  5. What does this mean for customers currently running third party vSwitches with VMware vSphere?

    VMware customers using third party vSwitches should begin planning a transition to VDS. VMware will continue to support the third 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.


    Any subsequent releases of VMware vSphere 6.5 Update 1 (For example: vSphere 6.5 Update 1a, vSphere 6.5 Update 1b etc.) will no longer be supported by VMware.
  6. 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.
  7. What third party vSwitch offerings will no longer be supported on vSphere?
    The third party vSwitches available for vSphere include Cisco Nexus 1000V, Cisco VM-FEX, , HPE 5900v and IBM DVS 5000v.
  8. 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.
  9. When were these partners notified?
    VMware does not release details of confidential conversations with partners, however we can confirm that providers of third party vSwitches have been notified to facilitate conversations with their customers.
  10. 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.
  11. What is VMware doing to assist customers?
    To assist in migration to VDS, customers can work with VMware’s Professional Services Organization.
  12. 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.
  13. Can a customer continue to use a third 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 earlier versions. Cisco has only provided software support for Nexus 1000V up to VMware vSphere 6.0.
  14. Will VMware continue to provide support for the Nexus 1000v?
    As per the VMware LifeCycle Product matrix this product is no longer supported by VMware

    Note: Cisco Nexus 1000V Release 5.2(1)SV3(3.1) supports VMware ESXi 6.5a and later. For more information, see Cisco Nexus 1000V and VMware Compatibility Information, Release 5.2(1)SV3(3.1).
  15. Will VMware support the migration of Nexus 1000V to VDS?
    Yes, They can reach out to Global Support and Services (GSS), or engage the VMware professional services organization (PSO).
  16. Does this infer that 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.
  17. How is Cisco supporting VMware vSphere customers with Cisco ACI?
    For specific discussions related to Cisco customers, 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.

Additional Information

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