NSX-T: The Manager of All Things NSX

You’ve seen it before. The monolithic NSX Manager from which all VMware SDN is spawned. The API endpoint. Provider of the UI. NSX Manager is the centerpiece of the world of NSX.

Welcome back to my adventure in moving from NSX-V to NSX-T!

NSX-T, just like NSX-V, is split into three functional planes: Managment, Control, and Data.

The Managment Plane is mostly the NSX Manager, but it also includes Managment Plane Agents on the hosts. The Managment Plane is a lot of things: my source of truth for network configuration, the persistent repository for the network state that I want, the API and UI provider, and more.

Just like in NSX-V, you deploy the NSX Manager as a virtual appliance. VMware ships the appliance in two different formats now – OVF and qcow2. You see, NSX-T is not nearly as beholden to vSphere as its cousin NSX-V. NSX-T is perfectly happy without VMware’s hypervisor and management stack. You can run happily with only RHEL or Ubuntu as your KVM platform, should you desire. This makes NSX-T a great option for those driving OpenStack for their private SDDC plaftorm.

There are so many more options in the OVF deployment now – 4 different size options (Small, Medium, Medium Large, and Large)

Small – 2 vCPU, 8 GB RAM, 140 GB disk
Medium – 4 vCPU, 16 GB RAM, 140 GB disk
Medium Large – 6 vCPU, 24 GB RAM, 140 GB disk
Large – 8 vCPU, 32 GB RAM, 140 GB disk

You get to choose your managment network (as usual), and decide whether your managment will run on IPv4 or IPv6.

3 sets of passwords for the admin, root, and audit users (yep, you have easily accessible root access here!). You can also specify different usernames for the admin and audit roles, if you don’t like the defaults.

Then you’ve got the host identity and role. Standard IP address and hostname stuff here, with the addition of the NSX role. Here, again, you have choices:

nsx-manager: This is the NSX Manager we know and love. The focal point for UI and API interaction.

nsx-policy-manager: Want to start automating security policies and the like? You need one of these, too (yep, a second appliance).

nsx-cloud-service-manager: Got NSX Cloud? Then get one of these.

nsx-manager+nsx-policy-manager – this multi-role option is only supported on VMConAWS deployments – don’t try this on-prem.

Finally, you set up your DNS configuration, NTP, and whether you want to allow SSH logins. And then you wait a minute for everything to deploy.

Once your done deploying, you can power on that bad boy of a VM. BTW, the memory is all reserved , so watch out.

Next step, logging into the web interface. Just point a browser at your NSX Manager IP or (preferably) hostname, and login with the admin credentials you just set during deployment. You’ll be presented with a beautiful Clarity-driven UI, with a dozen tiles for varying functions at the landing page.

Here, we can get into all kinds of trouble, from configuring load balancers to logical switches. But we’ve got more setup to do by deploying the Central Control Plane. We’ll get to that in another segment.

Before we get into all that, however, stay tuned for the next part in this series – I’ll take you on a tour of the NSX Manager admin CLI and show off some useful tools.

~$ history
Introduction: From NSX-V to NSX-T. An Adventure

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