A distributed logical router (DLR) is a virtual appliance that contains the routing control plane, while distributing the data plane in kernel modules to each hypervisor host. The DLR control plane function relies on the NSX Controller cluster to push routing updates to the kernel modules.

Note: Starting in NSX Data Center 6.4.4, the term "Logical Router" is replaced with "Distributed Logical Router" in the vSphere Web Client. In the documentation, both terms are used interchangeably; however, they refer to the same object.
When deploying a new logical router, consider the following:
  • NSX Data Center for vSphere 6.2 and later allows logical router-routed logical interfaces (LIFs) to be connected to a VXLAN that is bridged to a VLAN.
  • Logical router interfaces and bridging interfaces cannot be connected to a dvPortgroup with the VLAN ID set to 0.
  • A given logical router instance cannot be connected to logical switches that exist in different transport zones. This is to ensure that all logical switches and logical router instances are aligned.
  • A logical router cannot be connected to VLAN-backed port groups if that logical router is connected to logical switches spanning more than one vSphere distributed switch (VDS). This is to ensure correct alignment of logical router instances with logical switch dvPortgroups across hosts.
  • Logical router interfaces must not be created on two different distributed port groups (dvPortgroups) with the same VLAN ID if the two networks are in the same vSphere distributed switch.
  • Logical router interfaces should not be created on two different dvPortgroups with the same VLAN ID if two networks are in different vSphere distributed switches, but the two vSphere distributed switches share identical hosts. In other words, logical router interfaces can be created on two different networks with the same VLAN ID if the two dvPortgroups are in two different vSphere distributed switches, as long as the vSphere distributed switches do not share a host.
  • If VXLAN is configured, logical router interfaces must be connected to distributed port groups on the vSphere Distributed Switch where VXLAN is configured. Do not connect logical router interfaces to port groups on other vSphere Distributed Switches.
The following list describes feature support by interface type (uplink and internal) on the logical router:
  • Dynamic routing protocols (BGP and OSPF) are supported only on uplink interfaces.
  • Firewall rules are applicable only on uplink interfaces and are limited to control and management traffic that is destined to the Edge virtual appliance.
  • For more information about the DLR Management Interface, see the Knowledge Base Article "Management Interface Guide: DLR Control VM - NSX" http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2122060.
Attention: vSphere Fault Tolerance does not work with logical router control VM.


  • You must be assigned the Enterprise Administrator or NSX Administrator role.
  • You must create a local segment ID pool, even if you have no plans to create logical switches.
  • Make sure that the controller cluster is up and available before creating or changing a logical router configuration. A logical router cannot distribute routing information to hosts without the help of NSX controllers. A logical router relies on NSX controllers to function, while Edge Services Gateways (ESGs) do not.
  • If a logical router is to be connected to VLAN dvPortgroups, ensure that all hypervisor hosts with a logical router appliance installed can reach each other on UDP port 6999. Communication on this port is required for logical router VLAN-based ARP proxy to work.
  • Determine where to deploy the logical router appliance.
    • The destination host must be part of the same transport zone as the logical switches connected to the new logical router's interfaces.
    • Avoid placing it on the same host as one or more of its upstream ESGs if you use ESGs in an ECMP setup. You can use DRS anti-affinity rules to enforce this practice, reducing the impact of host failure on logical router forwarding. This guideline does not apply if you have one upstream ESG by itself or in HA mode. For more information, see the NSX Network Virtualization Design Guide at https://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-27683.
  • Verify that the host cluster on which you install the logical router appliance is prepared for NSX Data Center for vSphere. See "Prepare Host Clusters for NSX" in the NSX Installation Guide.


  1. In the vSphere Web Client, navigate to Home > Networking & Security > NSX Edges.
  2. Click Add, and then click Logical Router.
  3. Enter name, description, and other details of the logical router.
    Option Description

    Enter a name for the logical router as you want it to appear in the vCenter inventory.

    Make sure that this name is unique across all logical routers within a single tenant.

    Host Name

    Optional. Enter a host name that you want to display for the logical router in the CLI.

    If you do not enter a host name, the Edge ID that is created automatically is displayed in the CLI.

    Description Optional. Enter a description of the logical router.
    Deploy Edge Appliance

    By default, this option is selected. An Edge appliance (also called a logical router virtual appliance) is required for dynamic routing and the logical router appliance's firewall, which applies to logical router pings, SSH access, and dynamic routing traffic.

    If you require only static routes, and do not want to deploy an Edge appliance, deselect this option. You cannot add an Edge appliance to the logical router after the logical router is created.

    High Availability

    Optional. By default, HA is disabled. Select this option to enable and configure HA on the logical router.

    If you are planning to do dynamic routing, HA is required.

    HA Logging

    Optional. By default, HA logging is disabled.

    When logging is enabled, the default log level is set to info. You can change it, if necessary.

  4. Specify the CLI settings and other settings of the logical router.
    Option Description
    User Name Enter a user name that you want to use for logging in to the Edge CLI.
    Password Enter a password that is at least 12 characters and it must satisfy these rules:
    • Must not exceed 255 characters
    • At least one uppercase letter and one lowercase letter
    • At least one number
    • At least one special character
    • Must not contain the user name as a substring
    • Must not consecutively repeat a character 3 or more times.
    Confirm password Reenter the password to confirm.
    SSH access

    Optional. By default, SSH access is disabled. If you do not enable SSH, you can still access the logical router by opening the virtual appliance console.

    Enabling SSH causes the SSH process to run on the logical router. You must adjust the logical router firewall configuration manually to allow SSH access to the logical router's protocol address. The protocol address is configured when you configure dynamic routing on the logical router.

    FIPS mode

    Optional. By default, FIPS mode is disabled.

    When you enable FIPS mode, any secure communication to or from the NSX Edge uses cryptographic algorithms or protocols that are allowed by FIPS.

    Edge control level logging Optional. By default, the log level is info.
  5. Configure deployment of the NSX Edge Appliance.
    • If you did not select Deploy Edge Appliance, you cannot add an appliance. Click Next to continue with the configuration.
    • If you selected Deploy Edge Appliance, enter the settings of the logical router virtual appliance.
    For example:
    Option Value
    Cluster/Resource Pool Management & Edge
    Datastore ds-1
    Host esxmgt-01a.corp.local
    Resource Reservation System Managed
    See "Managing NSX Edge Appliance Resource Reservations" in the NSX Administration Guide for more information on Resource Reservation.
  6. Configure the HA interface connection, and optionally an IP address.

    If you selected Deploy Edge Appliance, you must connect the HA interface to a distributed port group or a logical switch. If you are using this interface as an HA interface only, use a logical switch. A /30 subnet is allocated from the link local range and is used to provide an IP address for each of the two NSX Edge appliances.

    Optionally, if you want to use this interface to connect to the NSX Edge, you can specify an extra IP address and prefix for the HA interface.


    Before NSX Data Center for vSphere 6.2, HA interface was called management interface. You cannot do an SSH connection to a HA interface from anywhere that is not on the same IP subnet as the HA interface. You cannot configure static routes that point out of the HA interface, which means that RPF will drop incoming traffic. However, you can, in theory, disable RPF, but this action is counterproductive to high availability. For SSH access, you can also use the logical router's protocol address, which is configured later when you configure dynamic routing.

    In NSX Data Center for vSphere 6.2 and later, the HA interface of a logical router is automatically excluded from route redistribution.

    For example, the following table shows a sample HA interface configuration where the HA interface is connected to a management dvPortgroup.
    Option Description
    Connected To Mgmt_VDS-Mgmt
    IP Address*
    Subnet Prefix Length 24
  7. Configure interfaces of the NSX Edge.
    1. Specify the name, type, and other basic interface details.
      Option Description
      Name Enter a name for the interface.
      Type Select either Internal or Uplink.

      The internal interfaces are for connections to switches that allow VM-to-VM (sometimes called East-West) communication. Internal interfaces are created as pseudo vNICs on the logical router virtual appliance. Uplink interfaces are for North-South communication, and they are created as vNICs on the logical router virtual appliance.

      A logical router uplink interface might connect to an Edge Services Gateway or a third-party router VM. You must have at least one uplink interface for dynamic routing to work.

      Connected To Select the distributed virtual port group or the logical switch to which you want to connect this interface to.
    2. Configure the subnets of the interface.
      Option Description
      Primary IP Address

      On logical routers, only IPv4 addressing is supported.

      The interface configuration that you enter here is modifiable later. You can add, remove, and modify interfaces after a logical router is deployed.

      Subnet Prefix Length Enter the subnet mask of the interface.
    3. (Optional) Edit the default MTU value, if necessary. The default value for both uplink and internal interface is 1500.
      The following table shows an example of two internal interfaces (app and web) and one uplink interface (to-ESG).
      Table 1. Example: NSX Edge Interfaces
      Name IP address Subnet Prefix Length Connected To
      app* 24 app
      web* 24 web
      to-ESG* 29 transit
  8. Configure the default gateway settings.
    For example:
    Option Value
    vNIC Uplink
    Gateway IP
    MTU 1500
  9. Make sure that the VMs connected to the logical switches have their default gateways set properly to the logical router interface IP addresses.


In the following example topology, the default gateway of app VM is The default gateway of web VM is Make sure the VMs can ping their default gateways and each other.

The image is described in the surrounding text.

Connect to the NSX Manager using SSH or the console, and run the following commands:
  • List all logical router instance information.

    nsxmgr-l-01a> show logical-router list all
    Edge-id             Vdr Name                      Vdr id              #Lifs
    edge-1              default+edge-1                0x00001388          3
  • List the hosts that have received routing information for the logical router from the controller cluster.

    nsxmgr-l-01a> show logical-router list dlr edge-1 host
    ID                   HostName                             

    The output includes all hosts from all host clusters that are configured as members of the transport zone that owns the logical switch that is connected to the specified logical router (edge-1 in this example).

  • List the routing table information that is communicated to the hosts by the logical router. Routing table entries should be consistent across all the hosts.

    nsx-mgr-l-01a> show logical-router host host-25 dlr edge-1 route
    VDR default+edge-1 Route Table
    Legend: [U: Up], [G: Gateway], [C: Connected], [I: Interface]
    Legend: [H: Host], [F: Soft Flush] [!: Reject] [E: ECMP]
    Destination     GenMask          Gateway         Flags   Ref Origin   UpTime    Interface
    -----------     -------          -------         -----   --- ------   ------    ---------    UG      1   AUTO     4101      138800000002         UCI     1   MANUAL   10195     13880000000b         UCI     1   MANUAL   10196     13880000000a         UCI     1   MANUAL   10196     138800000002    UG      1   AUTO     3802      138800000002
  • List additional information about the router from the point of view of one of the hosts. This output is helpful to learn which controller is communicating with the host.

    nsx-mgr-l-01a> show logical-router host host-25 dlr edge-1 verbose
    VDR Instance Information :
    Vdr Name:                   default+edge-1
    Vdr Id:                     0x00001388
    Number of Lifs:             3
    Number of Routes:           5
    State:                      Enabled
    Controller IP:    
    Control Plane IP: 
    Control Plane Active:       Yes
    Num unique nexthops:        1
    Generation Number:          0
    Edge Active:                No

Check the Controller IP field in the output of the show logical-router host host-25 dlr edge-1 verbose command.

SSH to a controller, and run the following commands to display the controller's learned VNI, VTEP, MAC, and ARP table state information.
  • # show control-cluster logical-switches vni 5000
    VNI      Controller      BUM-Replication ARP-Proxy Connections
    5000 Enabled         Enabled   0
    The output for VNI 5000 shows zero connections and lists controller as the owner for VNI 5000. Log in to that controller to gather further information for VNI 5000. # show control-cluster logical-switches vni 5000
    VNI      Controller      BUM-Replication ARP-Proxy Connections
    5000 Enabled         Enabled   3
    The output on shows three connections. Check additional VNIs. # show control-cluster logical-switches vni 5001
    VNI      Controller      BUM-Replication ARP-Proxy Connections
    5001 Enabled         Enabled   3 # show control-cluster logical-switches vni 5002
    VNI      Controller      BUM-Replication ARP-Proxy Connections
    5002 Enabled         Enabled   3
    Because owns all three VNI connections, we expect to see zero connections on the other controller, # show control-cluster logical-switches vni 5000
    VNI      Controller      BUM-Replication ARP-Proxy Connections
    5000 Enabled         Enabled   0
  • Before checking the MAC and ARP tables, ping from one VM to the other VM.
    From app VM to web VM:
    vmware@app-vm$ ping
    PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
    64 bytes from icmp_req=1 ttl=64 time=2.605 ms
    64 bytes from icmp_req=2 ttl=64 time=1.490 ms
    64 bytes from icmp_req=3 ttl=64 time=2.422 ms
    Check the MAC tables. # show control-cluster logical-switches mac-table 5000
    VNI      MAC               VTEP-IP         Connection-ID
    5000     00:50:56:a6:23:ae  7 # show control-cluster logical-switches mac-table 5001
    VNI      MAC               VTEP-IP         Connection-ID
    5001     00:50:56:a6:8d:72  23
    Check the ARP tables. # show control-cluster logical-switches arp-table 5000
    VNI      IP              MAC               Connection-ID
    5000    00:50:56:a6:23:ae 7 # show control-cluster logical-switches arp-table 5001
    VNI      IP              MAC               Connection-ID
    5001    00:50:56:a6:8d:72 23

Check the logical router information. Each logical router instance is served by one of the controller nodes.

The instance subcommand of show control-cluster logical-routers command displays a list of logical routers that are connected to this controller.

The interface-summary subcommand displays the LIFs that the controller learned from the NSX Manager. This information is sent to the hosts that are in the host clusters managed under the transport zone.

The routes subcommand shows the routing table that is sent to this controller by the logical router's virtual appliance (also known as the control VM). Unlike on the ESXi hosts, this routing table does not include directly connected subnets because this information is provided by the LIF configuration. Route information on the ESXi hosts includes directly connected subnets because in that case it is a forwarding table used by ESXi host’s datapath.
  • List all logical routers connected to this controller.
    controller # show control-cluster logical-routers instance all
    LR-Id      LR-Name            Universal Service-Controller Egress-Locale
    0x1388     default+edge-1     false    local

    Note the LR-Id and use it in the following command.

  • controller # show control-cluster logical-routers interface-summary 0x1388
    Interface                        Type   Id           IP[]
    13880000000b                     vxlan  0x1389
    13880000000a                     vxlan  0x1388
    138800000002                     vxlan  0x138a
  • controller # show control-cluster logical-routers routes 0x1388
    Destination        Next-Hop[]      Preference Locale-Id                            Source    110        00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000 CONTROL_VM    0          00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000 CONTROL_VM
    [root@comp02a:~] esxcfg-route -l
    VMkernel Routes:
    Network          Netmask          Gateway          Interface    Local Subnet     vmk1    Local Subnet     vmk0
    default    vmk0
  • Display the controller connections to the specific VNI. # show control-cluster logical-switches connection-table 5000
    Host-IP         Port  ID  26167 4  27645 5  40895 6 # show control-cluster logical-switches connection-table 5001
    Host-IP         Port  ID  26167 4  27645 5  40895 6

    These Host-IP addresses are vmk0 interfaces, not VTEPs. Connections between ESXi hosts and controllers are created on the management network. The port numbers here are ephemeral TCP ports that are allocated by the ESXi host IP stack when the host establishes a connection with the controller.

  • On the host, you can view the controller network connection matched to the port number.

    [root@] #esxcli network ip connection list | grep 26167
    tcp         0       0     ESTABLISHED     96416  newreno  netcpa-worker
  • Display active VNIs on the host. Observe how the output is different across hosts. Not all VNIs are active on all hosts. A VNI is active on a host if the host has a VM that is connected to the logical switch.

    [root@] # esxcli network vswitch dvs vmware vxlan network list --vds-name Compute_VDS
    VXLAN ID  Multicast IP               Control Plane                        Controller Connection  Port Count  MAC Entry Count  ARP Entry Count  VTEP Count
    --------  -------------------------  -----------------------------------  ---------------------  ----------  ---------------  ---------------  ----------
        5000  N/A (headend replication)  Enabled (multicast proxy,ARP proxy) (up)            1                0                0           0
        5001  N/A (headend replication)  Enabled (multicast proxy,ARP proxy) (up)            1                0                0           0
    Note: To enable the vxlan namespace in vSphere 6.0 and later, run the /etc/init.d/hostd restart command.

    For logical switches in hybrid or unicast mode, the esxcli network vswitch dvs vmware vxlan network list --vds-name <vds-name> command contains the following output:

    • Control Plane is enabled.
    • Multicast proxy and ARP proxy are listed. AARP proxy is listed even if you disabled IP discovery.
    • A valid controller IP address is listed and the connection is up.
    • If a logical router is connected to the ESXi host, the port Count is at least 1, even if there are no VMs on the host connected to the logical switch. This one port is the vdrPort, which is a special dvPort connected to the logical router kernel module on the ESXi host.
  • First ping from VM to another VM on a different subnet and then display the MAC table. Note that the Inner MAC is the VM entry while the Outer MAC and Outer IP refer to the VTEP.

    ~ # esxcli network vswitch dvs vmware vxlan network mac list --vds-name=Compute_VDS --vxlan-id=5000
    Inner MAC          Outer MAC          Outer IP        Flags
    -----------------  -----------------  --------------  --------
    00:50:56:a6:23:ae  00:50:56:6a:65:c2  00000111
    ~ # esxcli network vswitch dvs vmware vxlan network mac list --vds-name=Compute_VDS --vxlan-id=5001
    Inner MAC          Outer MAC          Outer IP        Flags
    -----------------  -----------------  --------------  --------
    02:50:56:56:44:52  00:50:56:6a:65:c2  00000101
    00:50:56:f0:d7:e4  00:50:56:6a:65:c2  00000111

What to do next

When you install an NSX Edge Appliance, NSX enables automatic VM startup/shutdown on the host if vSphere HA is disabled on the cluster. If the appliance VMs are later migrated to other hosts in the cluster, the new hosts might not have automatic VM startup/shutdown enabled. For this reason, when you install NSX Edge Appliances on clusters that have vSphere HA disabled, you must preferably check all hosts in the cluster to make sure that automatic VM startup/shutdown is enabled. See "Edit Virtual Machine Startup and Shutdown Settings" in vSphere Virtual Machine Administration.

After the logical router is deployed, double-click the logical router ID to configure additional settings, such as interfaces, routing, firewall, bridging, and DHCP relay.