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Basics about VMware NSX

As we moved in the next generation datacenter infrastructure, there are many vendors who provide network virtualization in datacenter space. Many of you know that the virtual networks are provisioned and managed independent of the underlying hardware, so here is the solution provided by VMware named as VMware NSX which is a network virtualization solution that allows you to build software-defined networks in virtualized datacenters.

What are the components of VMware NSX solution?

VMware NSX solution has virtualized and physical components and these components are: 
  • vSphere Distributed Switch
  • Logical distributed router
  • Logical distributed Firewall
  • NSX edge
  • NSX Controller (Minimum 3 controllers in Cluster)
  • NSX Manager
Fig 1.1- VMware NSX Components

    vSphere Distributed Switch

    If we talk about the VMware vSphere Distributed Switch (VDS) gives us a centralized by which we can configure, monitor and administer virtual machine access switching for the entire data center. The VDS treating the network as an aggregated resource. Individual host-level virtual switches are abstracted into one large VDS spanning multiple hosts at the data-center level.

    LDR & LDF

    The LDR- Logical Distributed Router is a Logical router on ESXi host and perform routing between VXLAN networks, and between virtual and physical networks. Similarly Virtualized distributed Firewall for L4-L7 virtualized Firewalling functionalities. 

    NSX Manager
    NSX Manager is a centralized component of NSX which is used for management of networks. NSX Manager can be deployed as a VM on one of the ESXi servers managed by vCenter (from OVA template). In cases where you are using NSX-v, NSX Manager can work with only one vCenter Server, whereas NSX Manager for NSX-T can be deployed as an ESXi VM or KVM VM and can work with multiple vCenter servers at once.

    NSX Controllers
    The NSX controller is a distributed state management system used to overlay transport tunnels and control virtual networks, which can be deployed as a VM on ESXi or KVM hypervisors. The NSX Controller controls all logical switches within the network, and handles information about VMs, hosts, switches and VXLANs. Having three controller nodes ensures data redundancy in case of failure of one NSX Controller node.


    NSX Edge
    NSX Edge is a gateway service that provides access to physical and virtual networks for VMs. NSX Edge can be installed as a distributed virtual router or as a services gateway. The following services can be provided: Dynamic routing, firewalls, Network Address Translation (NAT), Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), Virtual Private Network (VPN), Load Balancing, and High Availability.

    What are the features and the capabilities of VMware NSX?
    • Software based network virtualization
    • Virtualized distributed routing- L3 Component
    • Virtualized distributed Firewalling- L4-L7 component
    • API based automation, monitoring and Statistics functions.

    Many of you have the question like what kind of virtualized platform supported by VMware NSX. Well for this first we need to understand the VMware solution actually did and how it works in real environment. As VMware come up with NSX-V and NSX-T and both these are different in terms of capabilities and feature sets. 

    If we talk about NSX-V, an early solution by VMware which has a tight integration with vSphere and will always work with the vCenter. So as the question we have what kind of virtualized platform supported by VMware NSX-V and the answer is only VMware vSphere.

    For the same question of virtualized platform supported by VMware NSX-T, the answer is VMware vSphere, KVM, Dockers, Kubernetes, Open Stack, AWS native workloads. Now you can understand easily that VMware enhances the features and capabilities in NSX-T.