NSX Home LAB Part 1

Built the NSX infrastructure

 This Post was updated at:18/10/2014

Thanks To VMware for giving me Today  DELL PRECISION M4800

It’s about time to create my first NSX home lab inside my Laptop.

Lab Hardware Specification for M4800


4th generation Intel® Core™  i7 processors, up to Core i7 Extreme Edition, Intel vPro™ advanced management on select CPUs


4 DIMM slots:  32GB 1600MH

Hard Drive

SSD (Solid state drive)  512GB SATA 6Gb/s

Lab topology from 5,000 feet

Any NSX implementation will need Management Cluster and Compute Cluster.

Lab Topology

Both Layer 3 and Layer 2 transport networks are fully supported by NSX, however to most effectively demonstrate the flexibility and scalability of network virtualization a L3 topology with different routed networks for the Compute and Management/Edge Clusters is recommended.

Management VM Sizing Requirements:

Management VM Sizing

WorkStation VM and Nested VM

Some of the VM will install as Virtual machine inside VMware workstation, other will be part of the Nested ESX installation

Workstation VM Nested VM
vCenter All NSX Component’s
ESXi Host’s Win 2008 A/D,DNS,CA
WAN Router (Olive) Test VM Win7/Linux

WorkStation Network Connectivity

We will use 4 Network Adapters:

WorkStation Network Connectivity

Adapter Name Function Workstation Adapter Name vSphere Function
Network Adpater Management VMnet1 vMotion,VSAN,Management .Active Standby NiC Teaming
Network Adpater 1 Management VMnet1 vMotion,VSAN,ManagementActive Standby NiC Teaming
Network Adpater 2 Tansport Zone VMnet3 VXLAN

NiC Teaming  mode for the Management will set to failover (this is mandatory in Nested environment)

Lab Topology Before NSX

The starting point for this lab assume we know how to install vCetner  and ESX with Distributed switch.

The all lab will run on top VMware Workstation 10.

The vSphere infrastructure will built from 2 ESX Cluster’s.

Management Cluster with 1 ESX Host.

Computes Cluster 3 ESX host’s

Lab Topology Before NSX

Lab vSphere Version’s

For this Lab   we will use ESX 5.5U1 and vCetner will be Virtual Appliance 5.5U1


The Computes Cluster with is 3 ESX host will Create one VSAN Cluster.

There are many blogs in this context, so I will not dwell on this topic

I use   William Lam blog


Since my Hard Drive is SSD, the ESX see all Disk as SSD so needed to change it to None-SSD.

esxcli storage nmp satp rule add –satp VMW_SATP_LOCAL –device mpx.vmhba1:C0:T2:L0 –option “enable_local disable_ssd

esxcli storage core claiming reclaim -d mpx.vmhba1:C0:T2:L0

VSAN Disk Management and DataStore

This VSAN Cluster built from  3 ESX host’s.

Etch Host have 5GB SSD and 25GB None-SSD.


The end results of the Total VSAN Cluster is 48.06 GB


Installing the NSX Manager

NSX Manager

NSX Manager

NSX Manager Role of the NSX Architecture:

The NSX management plane is built by the NSX manager. The NSX manager provides the single point of configuration and the REST API entry-points in a vSphere environment for NSX.

The consumption of NSX can be driven directly via the NSX manager UI. In a vSphere environment this is available via the vSphere Web UI itself. Typically end-users tie in network virtualization to their cloud management platform for deploying applications. NSX provides a rich set of integration into virtually any CMP via the REST API. Out of the box integration is also currently available through VMware vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) and vCloud Director (vCD).

NSX Manager:

• 1:1 mapping between an NSX Manager and vCenter Server (vCenter for one Manager)
• Provides the management UI and API for NSX
• vSphere Web Client Plugin
• Deploys NSX Controller and NSX Edge Virtual Appliances (OVF)
• Installs VXLAN,Distributed Routing and Firewall kernel modules plus UW Agent on ESXi hosts
• Configures Controller Cluster via a REST API and hosts via a message bus

NSX development is very simple  task, all NSX components are built from single OVA image file.

NSX Manager deploy OVA_1

place it at the Management Cluster

NSX Manager deploy OVA_2

For the lab size saving i will use Thin Provision (at Production use thick)
NSX Manager deploy OVA_3

Use the Management Network

NSX Manager deploy OVA_4

Fill in the Password and DNS/NTP

NSX Manager deploy OVA_5

Finalize the Wizard and power up the vm.

NSX Manager deploy OVA_6

After few min we can access the NSX Manager GUI


NSX Manager Configure_1

In the main summary page we can see the services status of the NSX Manager.

All services must be in Running state, except the SSH service.

vPostgress is the built in database for NSX Manager.

RabiitMQ is the BUS messaging from the Manager to other NSX components.

the NSX Manager Service is the main service.

Click on the Manage tab will take us to  General Menu.

The Time sync is critical for the SSO work properly.

The best way is to use NTP, otherwise use  Manual time and time zone.

NSX Manager Configure_2

Backup you NSX manager according to you company backup policy.

NSX Manager Configure_3

Connect NSX Manager to Vcenter

This is the place we create the link between NSX Manager and vCenter.

Confirm that user has administrative privileges.


Lookup Server:

To be able login A/D Users to the NSX manager we will need to configure the SSO lookup server (in My lab the SSO server is running inside the vCenter).

Confirm that the user has admin privileges.

With Lookup Service we can assign different privilege to different users from A/D = Role Base Access Control

want to know how ? read this post

NSX Manager Configure_7

vCenter is just ip, User / Password.

After successfully completed this 2 step’s the results look like this:

NSX Manager Configure_9

if you have problem in the register process read my post:

NSX-V Troubleshooting registration to vCenter


We need to wait around 4 min before the NSX Menu show up in the vCenter GUI.

NSX Manager Configure_10

Summery of Part 1

We install the NSX Manager Image

Register the NSX Manager in the vCenter

Register the SSO service in the vCenter.

The Current topology at the end of part 1 will be:

summery of part 1


Related Post:

NSX Manager

NSX Controller

Host Preparation

Logical Switch

Distributed Logical Router

Posted in Home Lab, Install Tagged with: , , , , ,
27 comments on “NSX Home LAB Part 1
  1. Saeed says:

    Thanks a lot for putting this step by step procedure. One question… do you know where to get NSX ova package?

    Thanks a lot.


  2. jatinyona says:

    Excellent post Roie – Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Having just attended my NSX ICM training i’m also planning on building by first NSX lab across a Dell laptop, Macbook Pro and a MacMini..

    What physical switch would you recommend which could support vxlan and would be affordable for Homelab purpose?


  3. Mark says:

    Hi Roie,

    I’m trying to setup a NSX lab with nested VMs, but it’s been constantly losing connection with the management network. Could you please tell me how you setup the network side? the networkadapter on the workstation and on the portgroups on nested hosts?


    • it’s very hard to tell why you facing network connectivity issue in your management network.
      Make sure all the management network separate from other traffic by put all management on same VMnet Workstation adapter.
      Nic Teaming: verify that you chose fail-over this is the only mode that work well in nested environment.
      check don’t have any duplicate ip.

  4. Hari says:

    Great Article on NSX Setup. I am also setting my lab in Vmware workstation 9.
    Can you write some detail on setup of WAN router for Internet connectivity.
    In my case Internet connection will be 3G USB Modem. How should i interface this with my wan router.

  5. Mat says:

    Hey Roie,
    How exactly do you configure the Network Adapters of all 4 ESXi VMs? I can see you’re using Custom networks 1,1,3,4 for ESXi 1, but what about the others?

  6. Wael says:

    Hello Roi,

    I am walking through the Lab setup now, and i wonder how much RAM u give the ESX-MNG-1 Host ? as i know this HOST gonna host the NSX Manager which in itself starts with 12 GB of RAM and the HOST gonna host the NSX Controllers and NSX edge routers too.

    • roie9876@gmail.com says:

      sorry Wael but i don’t remember the amount of memory. its was one year ago…

      • Wael says:

        It is ok roie, but what do u suggest? maybe i need like 12GB RAM as a minimum for NSX Manager to be installed on the Management host and later i just can reduce it, as i believe if the host has less memory i will not be able to import the NSX ova file.

  7. Hello,

    Thanks for the great article. I am running into an issue that when I shut down the NSX lab and power it on, logical routing does not work, I can’t even ping the interface( for the edge) from the virtual machine at

    Did you run into this issue?

  8. Mo Faisal says:

    Hi Roie,

    what are the pros and cons of running vmware nsx lab as a nested one ?

    I’m building up my lab with supermicro server which has 256 Gig of RAM. so wondering if I should go nested vs running as physical.


    • roie9876@gmail.com says:

      1. Allow you to learn the NSX, break and fix very fast.
      2. Nested Lab can work on laptop allow you to cary the labs with you.
      3. allow to simuilated complex netwrok topology in one ESXi host.

      1. Very slow.
      2. Deploy NSX with LACP VTEP teaming mode can be very chalage

  9. mokhtar says:

    Please help me in this as i can’t create LIF interface in DLR during my creation i get this message
    failed while creating/updating edge assist interface for edge-3 root cause cant add new interface {virtualwaire-1} to distributed router , transport zone of vxlan interfaces
    of distributed router must consist of same DV switch as that of vlan interfaces

  10. Alfonso López says:

    Hi Roie, why did you say that you “will use 4 network adapters” for the nested ESXi hosts?
    I see that you are actually defining it as Vmnet 4, but what is it used for?

  11. Vladimir says:

    How do you license your nested hypervisors in your LAB?
    It appears that with nested virtualization I cannot allocate more cores than sockets. If I need more CPUs.

  12. Vladimir says:

    Could you elaborate exactly how you are setting up your physical host networking and the nested hypervisor networking?

  13. Cangjin Zhao says:

    Hi Roie,
    Thank you for your document! I have a question about the vcenter, in your topo, you draw the vcenter in MNG host, but in the ‘Workstation vmand nested vm’ table your described vcenter is a workstation vm. I am confused in it. could you explain about this? BTW, if vcenter is just workstation vm, how can we create DVS with it?

  14. wafaa says:

    i deployed nsx 6.1 on vmware esxi 5.5 . but i can’t ping it and i can’t open it in mozilla browser .
    does is because i have a normal switch that it doesn’t support routing or it’s another problem
    Thank you for your help

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "NSX Home LAB Part 1"
  1. […] Ben Haim just published the beginning of a series about his NSX Home Lab.  In his first post NSX Home Lab Part 1 he discusses building the infrastructure using a nested environment hosted on his Dell Precision […]

Leave a Reply