NSX reproduces the complete set of networking services (such as switching, routing, firewalling, QoS) all in a network virtualization layer that is an abstraction between the physical and virtual networks. The NSX platform consists of several components that operate across three different planes: management, control, and data.
The management plane provides a single API entry point to the system. It maintains user configuration, handles user queries, and performs operational tasks on all management, control, and data plane nodes. It provides an aggregated system view and is the centralized network management component of NSX. NSX Manager is delivered in a virtual machine form factor and is clustered with three VMs to provide High Availability of the Management plane.
Note: Bare-metal NSX servers and Edges are not supported.
The control plane computes the runtime state of the system based on configuration from the management plane. It also disseminates topology information that is reported by the data plane elements and pushes stateless configuration to forwarding engines. It runs on VLAN-backed networks that are isolated from the transport networks for the data plane. NSX splits the control plane into two parts:
The data plane performs stateless forwarding or transformation of packets, based on tables that are populated by the control plane. It reports topology information to the control plane and maintains packet level statistics.
The transport nodes are the hosts running the local control plane daemons and forwarding engines implementing the NSX data plane. The N-VDS is responsible for switching packets according to the configuration of available network services.