NSX-T Lab: 2.4 Install, OVA Deployment of NSX-T Manager.


Welcome to Part 2 of the NSX-T Lab Series. In the previous post, we covered my lab setup.
In this post we’ll cover the deployment process for the NSX-T Manager appliance.

What is the NSX Manager?

NSX Manager is essentially where the users configure the NSX networking solution. it provides the management and control planes and policies we’ll cover this in more detail in a post outside of this lab guide.
The NSX Manager appliance now contains the NSX-T Controllers integrated into the manager providing the control plane and it is recommended to deploy them in a cluster of three for production, as this is a lab and resources are tight I’ll only be deploying a single NSX-T manager, however I will deploy a second to demonstrate how to setup the cluster and VIP before I remove it.
Please follow recommended best practices if you are deploying into a production environment and deploy three Manager nodes.
So lets get on with the Manager deployment.


Firstly you must ensure that you have added the NSX-T manager to your DNS server with forward and reverse lookup, I cannot stress this enough. VMware products are dependant on DNS to be fully functioning and issues will arise if they are not!
Next up we need to download the OVA file from the VMware website you’ll need the full OVA file and not the upgrade bundle for this. At the moment it is listed as NSX Manager / NSX Cloud Service Manager for VMware ESXi and is currently 6.94 GB in size so not a small file by any account.
Make sure you environment meets the system requirements and that all required ports are open.

The current supported hypervisors are
vSphere 6.5 and 6.7
Ubuntu KVM 16.04

I’ll be using vSphere for my lab I may cover KVM at some point in the future once I have played with it.
NSX-T can be deployed onto standalone hosts or hosts managed by vCenter.

The build

Login to your vSphere host or vCenter server, for my lab we are using the vCenter to deploy and manage the appliance.
Right click the cluster and select ‘Deploy OVF Template’

Click the browse button and select the NSX-T OVA file

Give the NSX-T manager a name this doesn’t need to be a FQDN.

Select the cluster where the NSX-T manager will run, this is normally the management cluster and it does not need to be enabled for NSX.

Review the details of the settings before proceeding.

Select the size of the deployment. The size directly affects the resources required for the NSX-T Manager appliance.

For my lab I will be using Extra small.
NSX Manager deployments have these resource requirements 

  • Extra small: 2 CPUs, 8 GB memory, 200 GB hard disk 
  • Small: 4 CPUs, 16 GB memory, 200 GB hard disk 
  • Medium: 6 CPUs, 24 GB memory, 200 GB hard disk. The default size is medium 
  • Large: 12 CPUs 48 GB memory, 200 GB hard disk 

All require VM hardware version 10 or later.
The NSX Manager small VM is only for lab and proof-of-concept deployments. The NSX Manager extra-small VM is only for use as a Cloud Service Manager only. 
However the extra small manager does also include the full suite of components and so for my lab thats what I will be using. In the previous release there was an issue using the extra small manger and thats detailed in my post here

Select the datastore and disk format.

Next select the port group to connect the manager to this is normally the management network as it will need to connect to the hosts and vCenter.

Enter a root user password this needs to be complex and a minimum of 12 characters long.

Add another password for the admin user this is the account we will use to login to the NSX manager web console initially.
If required you can also change the username of admin and audit otherwise just leave them blank.

Enter a hostname this does not have to be a FQDN.
As you can see the drop down has both the cloud-service-manager option as well as the NSX-Manager NSX-Controller option.
Ensure the NSX Manager and controller option is selected

Enter an default gateway, IP address and subnet mask

Enter your DNS server/s and the domain search list
NTP Server and for my lab I will enable SSH and allow logins. For a production deployment we normally do not check these but if needed for troubleshooting enable them later via the web client.

The internal properties should be left blank.

Finally review the settings and click Finish

Before powering on the appliance as this is a lab environment we will remove the CPU and memory reservations by entering 0 in the reservation field. At this stage I’m not going to reduce the CPU or RAM as they are low enough anyway and once running the manager will show a high RAM usage in the web client while CPU will be around 20 % but given hosts are only ever RAM constrained I’ll leave it alone for now.

Now power on the VM. Once up after a few minutes connect to the NSX-T Manager web client via https://FQDN in my case https://NSXTMan01.lab.local and login with the admin credentials you specified during the appliance deployment.
Once logged in accept the End User License Agreement.

And choose to join or not the Customer Experience Improvement Program.

You will then be presented with the welcome screen. From here we will ignore the wizard prompt and instead click on Sysem in the top menu.

This will load the Overview page where we can see the status of the deployment next to the Management Cluster in the right pane we should see STABLE if we click this we want to ensure that all Groups have a green icon and are stable.

We can now add the Compute Manager to NSX.
NSX-T Lab Part:3 NSX-T Add Compute Manager

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