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 Networking & Security > Installation and Upgrade > Host Preparation.
  3. Verify the correct NSX Manager is selected in the NSX Manager drop-down menu.
  4. For all clusters that require NSX logical switching, routing, and firewalls, select the cluster and click Actions > 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 install NSX on the compute cluster.

    In a shared "Management and Edge" cluster, 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, you must install NSX on the shared cluster.

    Conversely, if Management and Edge each has a dedicated, non-shared cluster, as is recommended in a production environment, install NSX on the Edge cluster but not on 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 NSX Installation or Installation Status column displays a green check mark.

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

    When the installation is complete, the NSX Installation or 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 NSX Installation or Installation Status column, click Resolve and then refresh your browser window.


VIBs are installed and registered with all hosts within the prepared cluster.

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 nsx
esx-nsxv      6.0.0-0.0.XXXXXXX    VMware  VMwareCertified   2018-01-16

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.