VMware vSphere 6 NSX Getting Started

NSX is deployed as a license entitlement for customers to apply to their infrastructure. SoftLayer supplies the licenses on a per-processor basis (pricing does not change for number of cores per CPU). An NSX license is required on every server that utilizes an NSX component (Management, Control, or Data Plane). NSX adds additional networking capabilities to the platform and allows for the creation of a robust overlay network for system security, tenant segmentation, and hybrid cloud environments that span providers or extend from on-prem private clouds.

Customers can add firewalls, load balancing, VPN, NAT services, VXLAN-based micro segmentation to their environment with support for automation through a RESTful API.


Licenses are added to the servers with the following process:

  1. Log in to vCenter Server with the vSphere Client.
  2. In the Home screen, under Administration, click Licensing.
  3. Click Solutions tab.
  4. In the product list, click VMware NSX for vSphere.
  5. Click License Key or Enter New license key.
  6. Click OK.


NSX Installation Steps

  1. Deploy NSX Manager 
  2. Register NSX Manager with the vCenter Server
  3. vSphere Web Client is used to deploy the NSX Controller instances through NSX Manager.
  4. Prepare vSphere Hosts using the NSX Manager to install the VIBs on the hosts in the cluster.
  5. Once NSX Controllers have been deployed on all applicable Hosts define and configure the NSX Components such as Edge Gateways, Load Balancers, and Firewalls


Deployment Considerations 

Enabling NSX for a solution requires additional vSphere nodes beyond the standard compute nodes.

NSX Manager
Virtual Appliance on Management Cluster in a 1:1 relationship with vCenter. Normal HA vSphere features recommended. NSX Manager includes scheduled/on-demand backup capabilities. It requires IP connectivity to vCenter, controller, NSX Edge

resources, and ESXi hosts. NSX manager typically is deployed to the same subnet/VLAN as vCenter, but is not strictly required. Typical VM sizing:
NSX Release vCPU Memory OS Disk
6.2 Small 4 12GB 60GB
6.2 Default 4 16GB 60GB
6.2 Large Scale 4 24GB 60GB



NSX Controller Nodes
Deployed as virtual appliances from the NSX Manager UI. Each appliance communicates via a distinct IP address typically within the same subnet as the NSX manager, but not a hard requirement. It is recommended to deploy at least 3 controller VMs to at least 3 separate physical vSphere nodes. These act as active-active-active with job deliniation defined by the NSX Manager. When a node fails, a "majority rules" failover takes place to redistribute the workload to the remaining controllers. NSX does not natively enforce this design practice; leverage the native vSphere anti-affinity rules to avoid deploying more than one controller node on the same ESXi server. Typical VM sizing Per VM:

Controller VMs vCPU Reservation Memory OS Disk
3 4 2048 Mhz 4GB 20GB



NSX Switch
An upgraded Virtual Distributed Switch (VDS) deployed to all hosts to implement distributed capabilities.


NSX Edge Services Gateway
Deployed as multi-function VM appliances as needed in the environment. For routing-only, an active cluster of up to 8 gateways can be deployed. For any/all other services, it is deployed in an active-standby deployment. Communications external to the VM environment will require SoftLayer assigned portable IPs.  This includes any NAT pools, VIPs, and VPN endpoints.

Edge Services

Gateway Form






Specific Usage

X-Large 6 8GB Suitable for L7 High Performance LB
Quad-Large 4 1GB Suitable for high performance ECMP and FW deployment
Large 2 1GB Small DC & Single Service
Compact 1 512MB Small Deployments or Single Service use or PoC