In this blog post “Prepare ESXi host as fabric Node“, I will explain what is a fabric node and then how to prepare the ESXi host as fabric node. Before we dive into prepare ESXi host as fabric nodes, lets see what is a fabric node.
A fabric node is nothing but a hypervisor hosts which has all the required NSX-T packages installed are called as the fabric nodes. The hypervisor hosts can be ESXi or KVM hosts, the KVM can be installed on Ubuntu or the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server. The VMware vSphere Hypervisor compatibility matrix is shown in the below screenshot, where in the NSX-T 2.1 is compatible with the VMware vSphere 6.5 U1 and VMware vSphere 6.5.0. In my previous blog posts, I have explained the NSX-T 2.1 Manager, Controller and Edge node installation. If you have missed these posts, click on the following links:
- NSX-T 2.1 Complete video series:
- Part 01: Introduction to NSX-T
- Part-02 NSX-T Architecture
- Part-03 Deploying NSX-T Manager Virtual Machine on ESXi host
- Part-04 Configuring NSX-T Control cluster
- Part 05 Deploying NSX-T Edge node on ESXi
In this blog post, we will see how to prepare the ESXi hosts as fabric nodes via the NSX-T Manager GUI
NSX-T and VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) Compatibility Matrix:
Product Compatibility Matrix link: https://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/sim/interop_matrix.php
Prepare ESXi host as fabric Node:
The ESXi and KVM hypervisor hosts can be configured as a fabric node in one of the following two ways:
- Download and install the packages (VIBs/Debian) on ESXi or KVM and then register it with the NSX-T Manager via CLI
- Register via the NSX-T Manager GUI, where the NSX-T Manager will push the packages on to the ESXi/KVM hosts
Register ESXi hosts as a fabric node via GUI:
So lets login to the NSX-T manager with the admin user credentials to install the packages on ESXi and Ubuntu KVM hosts.
Username: admin Password: <password>
- From the NSX-T Manager home page, expand Fabric, click Nodes and from the Hosts tab click + ADD
- On the Add Host page, type the following details and click SAVE
- Name: <Hypervisor host name>
- IP Addresses: <IP Address of the Hypervisor Hosts>
- Operating System: from the drop down menu select ESXi, the possible options are ESXi | Ubuntu KVM | Red Hat KVM
- Username: User name of the administrator account [type root for ESXi]
- Password: administrator account password [type root account password for ESXi host]
- SHA-256 Thumbprint: The thumbprint is optional, however it is recommended to enter the SHA-256 thumbprint in the production environment to avoid Man-in-the-middle [MITM] attacks
To get the SHA-256 Thumbprint, run the following command with the root credentials:
[root@esx-04a:~] openssl x509 -in /etc/vmware/ssl/rui.crt -fingerprint -sha1 -noout
- Click Yes on Invalid Thumbprint
- The NSX-T Manager will now push the VIBs on to the ESXi hosts and configures the ESXi as a fabric node. Once the Packages are installed, you will see the Deployment status as NSX Installed as shown in the following screenshot.
NSX-T VIBs on ESXi:
The following list of VIBs are installed on to the ESXi hosts after the “Prepare ESXi host as fabric Node” step, each VIB provides a different functionality to the ESXi hosts.
To verify the list of packages installed, run the esxcli software vib list | grep nsx command
root@esx-04a:~] esxcli software vib list | grep nsx
The nsx-aggservice is a host specific library for NSX-T aggregation service, and there is also a aggregation service runs on the NSX-T Manager. This service on the ESXi host fetches the runtime information from the NSX-T components and presents into the nsx-exporter service
The nsx-da is a NSX Discovery Agent, which collects the data about the hypervisor version, virtual machines and network interfaces. This information will then be presented to the management plane and is used in the troubleshooting tools.
The nsx-esx-datapath provides the NSX-T data plane packet processing functionality on the ESXi hosts. This is a ESXi specific package, where the KVM hypervisor has a different package installed.
The nsx-exporter exports the runtime information collected through the nsx-aggservice to the management plane.
The nsx-host provides the metadata for the VIB bundle installed on the ESXi host.
The nsx-lldp is a is a Link Layer Discovery protocol (LLDP), used by the network devices for advertising the capabilities, identity and neighbours on a VLAN network
The nsx-mpa is management plane agent, which provides communication between the NSX Manager and hypervisor hosts. The NSX-Manager runs the RabbitMQ Server and the nsx-mpa acts as a rabbitMQ client to exchange information between the NSX-Manager and hypervisor host.
The nsx-netcpa is local control plane agent running on the hypervisor hosts to communicate with the NSX Controller nodes. The NSX Controller nodes runs the Central Control Plane (nsx-ccp) agent. The hosts nsx-netcpa communicates with the nsx-ccp. The netcpa receives the networking state/configuration from the Central Control Plane(nsx-ccp) and then programs this network state in the dataplane.
This nsx-python-protobuf, provides python binds for protocol buffers.
The nsx-sfhc is, NSX Service Fabric Host Component(SFHC), which provides a host agent for managing the lifecyle of the hypervisor as a fabric host in the Management Planes inventory. THis will also provides a channel for operations such as NSX-T upgrade and uninstall and monitoring of NSX-T modules on hypervisor hosts. While dealing with Upgrading the NSX-T environment using Upgrade Coordintor, check the status of this service on the ESXi/KVM hosts.
The nsxa is a agent runs on ESXi and performs the host level configurations like creating the N-VDS and Uplink Configuration. During the Transport Node creation of a ESXi host, the NSX-T manager leverages this agent to configure the N-VDS and Uplink configuration.
The nsxcli is very useful command line (CLI) tool on the ESXi/KVM hosts to run the NSX Specific commands and to interact with the hypervisor hosts. Very useful tool which is used extensively for the purposes of troubleshooting.
The nsx-support-bundle-client provides ability to collect the support and log bundles on the ESXi/KVM hosts.
So in this blog post, we have seen discussed the following:
- What is Fabric Node?
- How to configure the ESXi host as a fabric node?
- What are the different VIBs installed on ESXi ?
- What is the funtionality of each VIB?
I hope this is informative for you and thank you for reading. Please do subscribe to my blog and Youtube Channel.