This section discusses the configuration and scope of preserve client IP address.

By default, NSX Advanced Load Balancer Service Engines (SEs) do source NAT-ing (SNAT) of traffic destined to back-end servers. Due to SNAT, the application servers see the IP address of the SE interfaces and are unaware of the original client’s IP address. Preserving a client’s IP address is a desirable feature in many cases, for example, when servers have to apply security and access-control policies. Two ways to solve this problem in NSX Advanced Load Balancer are:

Both of the above require the back-end servers to be capable of supporting the respective capability.

A third and more generic approach is for the SE to use the client IP address as the source IP address for load-balanced connections from the SE to back-end servers. This capability is called preserve client IP, one component of NSX Advanced Load Balancer default gateway feature and property that can be set on/off in application profiles.


Enable IP Routing with Service Engine option is not mandatory to select Preserve Client IP Address.

For more information on Enable IP routing, see Network Service Configuration.

Scope of Preserve Client IP

  • Enabling IP routing is not a prerequisite for enabling the Preserve Client IP Address option.

  • It is not mandatory for the HA mode to be legacy HA (active/standby).

However, you can either use Legacy HA, configure floating interface IP, and set it as the default gateway on the server to attract return traffic. (or)

Setup the routing in the backend to ensure that return traffic for the client-IP-preserved traffic requests sent to the backend server comes back to the SE as needed.

Mutual Exclusions With Other Features

  • Preserving the client IP address is mutually exclusive with SNAT-ing the virtual services.

  • Enabling connection multiplexing in an HTTP(s) application profile is incompatible with selecting the Preserve Client IP Address option.

  • NSX Advanced Load Balancer will always NAT the back-end connection in these cases:

    • When client and server IPs are in the same subnet.

    • When the back-end servers are not on networks directly-attached to the SE, i.e., they are a hop or more away.

Example Use-Case

Enable IP routing on the SE group before enabling preserve client IP on an application profile used to create virtual services on that SE group.

In addition,

  • Configure static routes to the back-end server networks on the front-end servers with nexthop as front-end floating IP

  • Configure back-end servers’ default gateway as SE and

  • Configure SE’s default gateway as a front-end router.

Configure Preserve Client IP

Consider a simple two-leg setup with the back-end server(s) in the network (always a directly-connected network) and the front-end router in the network. Following are the steps to configure the feature:

Create a virtual service using the advanced-mode wizard. Configure its application profile to preserve client IPs as follows: Applications > Create Virtual Service > Advanced > Edit Application Profile.

Note that this configuration needs to be done before enabling any virtual service in the chosen application profile. Once an application profile is configured to preserve client IP, it preserves the client IP for all virtual services using this application profile.

: > configure applicationprofile System-HTTP
: applicationprofile> preserve_client_ip
Overwriting the previously entered value for preserve_client_ip
: applicationprofile> save

For deploying preserve client IP in NSX-T overlay cloud, see Preserve Client IP for NSX-T Overlay.