NSX-T 2.0 Lab Build: ESXi Host Preparation

Written by Sam McGeown
Published on 26/9/2017 - Read in about 3 min (454 words)

Disclaimer! I am learning NSX-T, part of my learning is to deploy in my lab - if I contradict the official docs then go with the docs!

Lab Environment

This NSX-T lab environment is built as a nested lab on my physical hosts. There are four physical ESXi hosts, onto which I will deploy three ESXi VMs, a vCenter Server Appliance, NSX Manager, an NSX Controller cluster, and two NSX Edge Nodes.

Physical, virtual and nested components of the NSX-T lab

Deployment Plan

I will follow the deployment plan from the NSX-T 2.0 documentation:

  • Install NSX Manager.
  • Install NSX Controllers.
    • Join NSX Controllers with the management plane.
    • Initialize the control cluster to create a master controller.
    • Join NSX Controllers into a control cluster.
  • Join hypervisor hosts with the management plane.
  • Install NSX Edges.
    • Join NSX Edges with the management plane.
  • Create transport zones and transport nodes.

When this post series is complete, the network topology should be something like this, with two hostswitches configured. The ESXi Hosts will have a Tunnel Endpoint IP address, as will the Edge. The Edge will also have an interface configured for a VLAN uplink.

The NSX-T Transport Node network configuration

In this post I will walk through configuring the Transport Zone, Transport Nodes, Edge Cluster and other configuration required to support the deployment.

Preparing ESXi Hosts

With ESXi hosts you can prepare them for NSX by using the “Compute Manager” construct to add a vCenter server, and then prepare the hosts automatically, or you can manually add the hosts. Since this is a learning exercise, I am going to manually install the VIBs because I think it gives a good understanding of how the automatic process works in the background.

To manually install the NSX VIBs, download the nsx-lcp* package from My VMware and copy it to the /tmp folder on each ESXi host. The VIB installation is exactly the same as any other VIB installation

  1. Log onto the ESXi host via SSH using the root credentials
  2. Use “esxcli software vib install -d /tmp/nsx-lcp-"
  3. Once the VIBs are successfully installed, use “nsxcli” to enter the NSX command context
  4. Join the ESXi host to the management plane using “join  management-plane username admin thumbprint ”. Enter the admin password when prompted
  5. Validate the host is connected to the management plane using “get managers"

In the NSX Manager web interface, you can see the host appears in the Fabric section. Here you can see I’ve prepared my three nested hosts, you can see NSX is installed, it’s at version 2.0 and connectivity with the Manager is up. As we’re not yet participating in a transport zone, there is no active connection to the Controller cluster and Transport node is not configured.


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