NSX-T Edge VM Design - Decision Flow

NSX-T Edge VM Design is not an easy topic. Simply because every customer has his own technical requirements and their environment differs according to the number of physical servers, the number of VMs, and the storage solution in place.

Note: Edge Design on Bare Metal Server is not addressed in this article.

Questions to ask?

Before starting the NSX-T Edge VM Design, there are some questions that you need to answer:
  1. How many physical servers or hosts do I have in my environment?
  2. How many physical network interface cards (pNICs) are available on each host?
  3. Do I have IP Storage or vSAN?
  4. Which NSX-T release do I run today?
Why these questions are important before deploying NSX-T Edge VMs? Because as I mentioned we have different options to configure the host where Edge VMs will be deployed. These options depend on the following criteria:
  • Data Center Size - VMware recommends to dedicate a cluster for Edge VMs. But there is a cost associated (CAPEX and OPEX) and some customers do not have the budget. The alternative is to use an existing cluster to deploy EdgeVMs. This latter becomes a "Shared" cluster.
  • Number of pNICs - A N-VDS is a virtual switch that requires pNICs. Again, you can add new pNICs to the server or you can leverage existing pNICs for Edge VM's communication.
  • Storage Solution - VMware recommendation is to leverage the existing VDS for vSAN traffic when you can. In this scenario and if you have more than two (2) pNICs, you will deploy the Edge VM on N-VDS to avoir bandwidth constraint.
  • NSX-T release - Since NSX-T 2.5 release, you can now define one single N-VDS Edge VM for Overlay and VLAN traffic. Before NSX-T 2.5, multiple N-VDS for Edge VM are required. Please refer to the NSX-T 2.5 release note [1] below for more details.
During the VMworld 2019, our NSBU rock stars Amit Aneja [2] and Nimish Desai [3] and [4] did a great job explaining all these aspects.

Let's take a look now on design options.

Edge VM Design Options

Today, we have five (5) options to deploy Edge VMs:
You can select any option for more details about the Edge VM deployment and configuration.

Ok, that's great, we have options but which one do you have to chose?

Decision Flow

The following chart will guide you to the right Edge VM Design based on your environment.
Stay tuned for more details.


  1. NSX-T 2.5 Release Note: https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-NSX-T-Data-Center/2.5/rn/VMware-NSX-T-Data-Center-250-Release-Notes.html 
  2. NSX-T Design for Small to Mid-Sized Data Centers (CNET1072BU): https://videos.vmworld.com/global/2019?q=CNET1072BU 
  3. Next -Generation Reference Design Guide with NSX-T Part 1(CNET2061BU): https://videos.vmworld.com/global/2019?q=CNET2061BU
  4. Next -Generation Reference Design Guide with NSX-T Part 2(CNET2068BU): https://videos.vmworld.com/global/2019?q=CNET2068BU