NSX Data Center for vSphere installation involves the deployment of several virtual appliances, some ESXi host preparation, and some configuration to allow communication across all of the physical and virtual devices.

Figure shows the five key steps in the NSX installation workflow.

The process begins by deploying an NSX Manager OVF/OVA template and ensuring that the NSX Manager has full connectivity to the management interfaces of the ESXi hosts that it will manage. After that, the NSX Manager and a vCenter instance need to be linked with each other through a registration process. This then allows a cluster of NSX Controller nodes to be deployed. NSX Controller nodes, like the NSX Manager, run as virtual appliances on ESXi hosts. The next step is to prepare the ESXi hosts for NSX by installing several VIBs on the hosts. These VIBs enable the Layer 2 VXLAN functionality, distributed routing, and distributed firewall. After configuring VXLANs, specifying virtual network interface (VNI) ranges, and creating transport zones, you can build out your NSX Data Center for vSphere overlay topology.

This installation guide describes in detail each step in the process.

While being applicable to any NSX Data Center for vSphere deployment, this guide also leads you through the creation of a sample overlay topology that you can use for practice, guidance, and reference purposes. The sample overlay has a single logical distributed router (sometimes called a DLR), an edge services gateway (ESG), and a logical transit switch connecting the two routing devices. The sample topology includes elements of an underlay as well, including two sample virtual machines. These virtual machines are each connected to a separate logical switch that allow connectivity through the logical router (DLR).

Logical view of a sample NSX overlay topology with one NSX DLR appliance, an ESG appliance, a logical transit switch, two logical switches, and VMs connected to these two logical switches.