VMware NSX Overview

VMware NSX contains following components which will be deployed in vSphere environment

Management Plane

NSX Manager

It is a virtual appliance that helps configure logical switches and connect virtual machines to these logical switches. It also provides the management UI and entry point for API for NSX, which helps automate deployment and management of the logical networks. It has one to one relationship with vCenter i.e. For every instance of NSX Manager there is one vCenter Server

Control Plane

NSX Controllers

It is an advanced distributed state management system that provides control plane functions for NSX logical switching and routing functions. It is the central control point for all logical switches within a network and maintains information about all hosts, logical switches (VXLANs), and distributed logical routers

Data Plane

Logical Switches 

vSphere VDS Switch/PortGroups

Hypervisor Kernel Modules (VIB) 

VIB allows distributed routing, firewall and enable VXLAN capabilities

Edge Service Gateways (ESG) 

It is an appliance which offers L2, L3, perimeter firewall, load balancing, and other services such as SSL VPN and DHCP.


Additional Functional Components


It is an encapsulation protocol which runs on overlay (virtualized) network on existing Layer 3 infrastructure. It creates a tunnel between physical hosts. It does it using VTEP (VXLAN Tunnel End Point). In simple terms it creates VMKernel Port Groups on the vDS and uses them to create tunnels. Number of VMKernel Port Groups will be decided based on the Teaming/Failover policies & Number of NICs . For e.g.  Let assume we have 2 NICs per ESXi assigned to the vDS and if we use Default Policy i.e. \”Route based on originating virtual port\” then it will need to have 2 IPs per host for VMKernel Port Groups

Transport Zone

A transport zone controls to which hosts a logical switch can reach. It can span one or more vSphere clusters. Transport zones dictate which clusters and, therefore, which VMs can participate in the use of a particular network. Most commonly people create a single Transport Zone for all Clusters within vCenter to keep it simple

Segment ID  

It is a pool of segment ID which is assigned for each and every VXLAN Network. When a Logical Switch is created it will assign segment ID from the Pool. Pool range will decide number of logical switches we can create

My Lab NSX Architecture

I will be building my lab as per following Architecture
 Next Blog will be VMware NSX Installation and Configuration 

4 thoughts on “VMware NSX Overview

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