Learning NSX-Part-1-Introduction

VMware NSX is the network virtualization and security platform that emerged from VMware after they acquired Nicira in 2012. This acquisition launched VMware into the software-defined networking (SDN)  and network functions virtualization (NFV) world.

VMware NSX® is a software networking and security virtualization platform that delivers the operational model of a virtual machine for the network. Virtual networks reproduce the Layer2 – Layer7 network model in software, allowing complex multi-tier network topologies to be created and provisioned programmatically in seconds, without the need for additional SoftLayer Private Networks. NSX also provides a new model for network security. Security profiles are distributed to and enforced by virtual ports and move with virtual machines.

With VMware NSX, virtualization now delivers for networking what it has already delivered for compute and storage. NSX can be configured through the vSphere Web Client, a command line interface (CLI), and REST API.

NSX includes a library of logical networking services – logical switches, logical routers, logical firewalls, logical load balancers, logical VPN, and distributed security. You can create custom combinations of these services in isolated software-based virtual networks that support existing applications without modification, or deliver unique requirements for new application workloads.

Virtual networks are programmatically provisioned and managed independent of SoftLayer networking constructs. This decoupling from hardware introduces agility, speed, and operational efficiency that can transform datacenter operations. benefits of NSX include:

  • DataCenter automation
  • Self-Service Networking services
  • Rapid application deployment with automated network and service provisioning
  • Isolate dev, test, and production environments on the same SoftLayer Bare metal infrastructure
  • Single SoftLayer Account Multi-tenant clouds


NSX Architecture

An NSX-V deployment consists of a data plane, control plane and management plane:


NSX Core Components

The 2 Major components that make up NSX ecosystem are:

NSX Manager

NSX manager provides a centralized management plane across your datacenter. It provides the management UI and API for NSX. NSX manager runs as a virtual appliance on an ESXi host and during installation it injects a plugin into the vSphere Web Client through which it can be managed.Each NSX Manager manages a single vCenter Server environment.

Along with providing management APIs and a UI for administrators, the NSX Manager also installs a number of VIBs to the Esxi host when initiating host preparation. These VIB’s are VXLAN, Distributed Routing, Distributed Firewall and a user world agent.

The below diagram shows NSX Manager Components Plugin and Integration inside vSphere Web Client


NSX Controller

The NSX controller is a user space VM that is deployed by the NSX manager. It is one of the core components of NSX and could be termed as the “distributed hive mind” of NSX. It provides a control plane to distribute network information to hosts. They are deployed in a cluster arrangement, so as you deploy these, you can add more controllers for better performance and high availability so that if you loose one of em, you do not loose control functionality.

NSX is a very vast topic and we will cover the parts in upcoming post. There is a lot to discuss about core components and NSX services and we will touch upon them one by one. Till then stay tuned.

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