Tag: Homelab

NSX-T 3.0 in a HomeLab – Part 2: NSX-T 3.0 appliance install and configuration.

In this section we will go over mostly standard steps of installing NSX-T 3.0 appliance by deploying the downloaded ova on physical esxi host and select the datastore and network / portgroup for NSX-T management.

As this is HomeLab and NSX-T is only deployed for hands-on mainly, I will not be deploying the three node cluster, which is a must when it comes to production environment.

Next in Part-3 we will look at adding the compute manager and creating TEP IP pool and Transport Zone.

NSX-T 3.0 in a HomeLab – Part 1: Physical & Nested ESXi setup and Network Overview.

Before we dive in NSX-T part, lets take a quick look at physical hosts and nested esxi hosts setup.

As seen above we have 3x physical host in one cluster (HW-Clu01) and 3x nested esxi hosts in cluster (nClu01) and all are connected to same vDSwitch for management.

HW-Clu01 hosts vcsa, 3x nested esxi vm’s, 2x test vm’s and will also host nsx-t manager and edge vm’s down the line.
All 6 hosts has access to same NFS datastore where the only test VMs are located for ease of this demo, though I did think of enabling vSAN services on nested hosts but will leave that detour for some other blog-post

Quick overview at vDS, nested esxi vm nic’s config and portgroups used for physical and nested host vmk’s and TEP.

Quick overview of subnets and vlans used for this demo.

Now that we are familiar with the playground and plan, next we will look at
part 2 NSX-T 3.0 appliances install and configuration.

NSX-T 3.0 in a HomeLab

Ever since VMUG added NSX-T to its offerings I have been meaning to get it deployed in my homelab and try it myself but due to limited cpu and memory resources was not able to, until recently.

There are some very great blogs out there explaining NSX-T while trying to recreate as close as possible to real world scenarios and thus very helpful too. However, in my case initially I just wanted to have an overlay network between physical and nested esxi hosts where 3 VMs in 3 logical different segments from NSX-T are able to communicate with each other.

I’m myself not able to answer the silent “but why?” that may follows but none the less I get my hands-on amazing product. Thanks to VMUG Advantage.

In short, all 3 physical host in my homelab has 1 nic (or more) for management and 1 nic for NSX which is patched to TEP VLAN on physical switch.
All 3 nested hosts has 2 nics for management and 2 nics for NSX, NSX nics which are connected to TEP VLAN on vDSwitch portgroup.
Aim is to have logical segment spanning across physical and nested hosts in two clusters in same vcenter server

I will go-over below in in upcoming sub-posts.

  1. Physical and nested ESXi setup and Network overview.
  2. NSX-T 3.0 appliances install and configuration.
  3. Creating TEP IP Pool and Transport Zone.
  4. Creating Uplink Profiles & Transport Node Profile ( 1x for physical hosts and 1x for nested hosts).
  5. Applying Transport Node Profile to nested and physical esxi hosts cluster.
  6. Adding Tier-1 Gateway.
  7. Creating Logical Segments and attach it to Tier-1 gateway.
  8. Connecting test VM to logical network | testing.


Having access to a homelab has been very helpful and plays a great part when it comes to learning and career development and now hoping it will also be helpful for blogging.


  • Supermicro Mini-Tower 5028D-TN4T (added to inventory in 2020)
    • Intel Xeon processor D-1541 8-Core, SoC (System-on-Chip)
    • 64 GB RAM (Supported 128GB)
    • Samsung 970 Pro Plus NVMe 1TB drive
    • 4x 2TB SATA III disk, 1x 256GB SSD.
    • 2x 1G, 2x 10G NICs
  • Custom built Mini ITX host (since 2018) support till ESXi 6.7 / 7 with only one NIC.
    • Core(TM) i7-6700T CPU @ 2.80GHz 4 Core
    • 32GB RAM (Max)
    • 256GB MSATA Internal SSD
    • 512GB SATA SSD
    • 2x 1G NICs
  • Dell OptiPlex 980 (since 2015) support till ESXi 6.5
    • Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU 860 @ 2.80GHz
    • 32GB RAM (MAX)
    • NVIDIA Quadro 2000 – 1 GB GDDR5
    • 2x 2TB SATA 2x 256GB SATA SSD
    • 4x 1G NICs – Intel Ethernet I340 Server Adapter E1G44HT
    • 1 x1G NIC on board nic.

Storage / Networking

  • Router / FW
  • ZyXEL GS-1524 – 24 Ports Managed Switch
  • Synology DS216j NAS – 2x 4TB in Raid 0
  • FreeNAS in a VM – with 2x 1G NIC and RAID card in passthrough mode.
  • AP – Meraki MR18 – running OpenWRT.

As seen above I have a mixture of old desktop, custom built hosts and was
only recently able to add supermicro server. Though this has its own limitations and it is opposite of the best practices to have identical hardware and same version of ESXi hosts in a cluster, as it is a HomeLab approval was not that difficult to get. 😉

Thanks to the folks at Serverfactory I was able to get a very good deal for Supermicro Mini-Tower 5028D-TN4T with delivery in few days so this definitely played its part to keep me sane during the lockdown period.