During host preparation the secondary NSX Manager installs NSX kernel modules on ESXi hosts that are members of vCenter clusters, and builds the NSX control-plane and management-plane fabric. NSX kernel modules packaged in VIB files run within the hypervisor kernel and provide services such as distributed routing, distributed firewall, and VXLAN bridging capabilities.


For details on prerequisites for host preparation, see Prepare Hosts on the Primary NSX Manager


  1. Using the vSphere Web Client, log in to the vCenter Server system registered with the NSX Manager you want to modify.

    If the vCenter Server systems in your cross-vCenter NSX environment are in Enhanced Linked Mode, you can access any associated NSX Manager from any linked vCenter Server system by selecting it from the NSX Manager drop-down menu.

  2. Navigate to Home > Networking & Security > Installation and select the Host Preparation tab.
  3. Verify the correct NSX Manager is selected in the NSX Manager drop-down menu.
  4. For all clusters that will require NSX logical switching, routing, and firewalls, click Actions () and click Install.

    A compute cluster (also known as a payload cluster) is a cluster with application VMs (web, database, and so on). If a compute cluster will have NSX switching, routing, or firewalls, you must click Install for the compute cluster.

    In a shared "Management and Edge" cluster (as shown in the example), NSX Manager and controller VMs share a cluster with edge devices, such as distributed logical routers (DLRs) and edge services gateways (ESGs). In this case, it is important to click Install for the shared cluster.

    Conversely, if Management and Edge each has a dedicated, non-shared cluster---as is recommended in a production environment---click Install for the Edge cluster but not for the Management cluster.


    While the installation is in progress, do not deploy, upgrade, or uninstall any service or component.

  5. Monitor the installation until the Installation Status column displays a green check mark.

    If the Installation Status column displays a red warning icon and says Not Ready, click Resolve. Clicking Resolve might result in a reboot of the host. If the installation is still not successful, click the warning icon. All errors are displayed. Take the required action and click Resolve again.

    When the installation is complete, the Installation Status column displays the version and build of NSX installed and the Firewall column displays Enabled. Both columns have a green check mark. If you see Resolve in the Installation Status column, click Resolve and then refresh your browser window.


VIBs are installed and registered with all hosts within the prepared cluster. The VIBs installed vary depending on which versions of NSX and ESXi are installed.

ESXi version

NSX version

VIBs installed


Any 6.3.x

  • esx-vsip

  • esx-vxlan

6.0 or later

6.3.2 or earlier

  • esx-vsip

  • esx-vxlan

6.0 or later

6.3.3 or later

  • esx-nsxv

To verify, SSH to each host and run the esxcli software vib list command and check for the relevant VIBs. In addition to displaying the VIBs, this command shows the version of the VIBs installed.

[root@host:~] esxcli software vib list | grep esx
esx-XXXX      6.0.0-0.0.XXXXXXX    VMware  VMwareCertified   2016-12-29

If you add a host to a prepared cluster, the NSX VIBs automatically get installed on the host.

If you move a host to an unprepared cluster, the NSX VIBs automatically get uninstalled from the host.