VMware NSX Micro-Segmentation Only Deployment

Reading Time: 7 minutes

When we talk about VMware NSX (formerly VMware NSX-T Data Center), most of us think about abstracting management of the network away from the physical fabric thanks to NSX’s magic sauce and overlay networking capability via Geneve encapsulation. However, overlay networking isn’t always the primary use case, with a high volume of customers only opting for micro-segmentation only.

Some customers, for example, are quite happy to allow management of the network, as well as their physical gateways, to remain within the physical stack. Perhaps their organisation already has an alternative software-defined networking product in play or they simply don’t make that many changes within their network. So, how then, can customers use micro-segmentation via the NSX Distributed Firewall (DFW)? Simply put, by utilising currently existing vSphere environments and VDSs in conjunction with the NSX DFW.

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VMware NSX-T Data Center One-Arm Load Balancer for VLAN-Backed Workloads

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Scenario – Let us say I have a Customer who has a load balancing requirement, however, they do not utilise Overlay networking and, as a result, no Tier-0 or Tier-1 Gateways exist to form a software-defined routing architecture. As such, an Inline load balancer topology will not be possible. However, VLAN-backed NSX-T Segments are in place, as the customer currently utilises distributed firewalling.

This article looks at how we can deploy a Tier-1 Gateway for one-arm load balancing to backend virtual machines housed on VLAN-backed NSX-T Segments. Should we wish, we could expand the server pool by adding physical devices as well.

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Securing Physical Workloads via the VMware NSX-T Gateway Firewall and Service Interface

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Where the NSX-T Distributed Firewall (DFW) provides stateful protection to workloads at the vNIC level from within for micro-segmentation of east-west traffic, the Gateway Firewall (GFW) provides centralised stateful protection of north-south traffic for perimeter firewalling. Depending on the use case, the GFW might secure traffic between physical and virtual servers, physical to physical servers, and within multi-tenant environments, DMZ’s or could be utilised for, for example, PCI compliance.

The GFW can be implemented per Gateway and is supported on both Tier-0 and Tier-1 Gateways. The GFW is also independent of the NSX-T DFW as it holds its own configuration and enforcement policies. Excitingly, we can also leverage the GFW to secure physical workloads housed on VLAN-backed networks via the Service Interface. This is particularly useful where customers are unable to utilise the VMware NSX-T Kernel Agent (think proprietary appliances/servers).

In this article, we take a look at the process of securing physical server workloads housed on VLAN-backed networks.

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VMware NSX-T Micro-Segmentation via vRealize Log Insight

Reading Time: 6 minutes

I work with a lot of customers to design and deploy secure, zero-trust environments utilising VMware NSX-T Data Center and, specifically, by using its Distributed Firewall (DFW). I’ve also spoken at several VMUGs where I’ve discussed the realities of micro-segmentation using both NSX for vSphere (NSX-v) and NSX-T and the tools that can be utilised to aid in the identification of application dependencies, traffic flows, services, etc.

I also understand that not all customers are able to utilise some of the more advanced VMware toolings such as NSX Intelligence and vRealize Network Insight, however, there is another tool that we can use to identify our application dependencies and, best of all, if you’re a licensed NSX-T customer, you’re also licensed for…vRealize Log Insight (vRLI).

In this article, we explore how we can utilise vRLI to identify and visualise application traffic flows so that we can more effectively secure our applications.

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Lab-Ready Workload Virtual Machines via VMware Photon OS – Static IP Assignment

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Like most of us in the virtualisation ecosystem, I run a lab. Actually, I run multiple labs, however, unlike some, my labs are nested environments running on a single ESXi host, specifically, the awesome SuperMicro SuperServer E300-9D-8CN8TP. My labs are just that – testing environments for personal development, study, validation of customer designs, etc. They don’t run any production/home applications, so they’re spun up and down fairly often.

As some of these labs can be resource hungry (multi-site VMware NSX-T Federation environments or VMware Cloud Foundation to name two examples), the workload VMs I deploy for testing within these environments must be small.

Welcome VMware Photon OS.

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Securing Workloads on Bare-Metal Windows Servers via the VMware NSX-T Agent (Kernel Module)

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Software-defined data centres, software-defined networks, software-defined storage – they are all great, aren’t they? They enable us to abstract software-defined-X from the physical and allows us to scale at speed via automation. However, physical servers, the elephant in the room, still exist, and they likely will for some time.

So then, can we integrate physical devices into a software-defined world? Yes. But, NSX-T micro-segmentation is only available to virtual machines, right? No. By using the VMware NSX-T Agent/kernel module, we can provide connectivity to bare-metal workloads and enable them to participate and leverage the same security functions as those enjoyed by virtual machines.

In this article, we deploy the NSX-T Agent to a Windows Server 2019 webserver hosting IIS and secure the physical, bare-metal server utilising the NSX-T Distributed Firewall (DFW).

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London VMUG - LonVMUG

London VMUG – 15th July 2021

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Earlier this month, I was honoured to have been able to present at the London VMware User Group. My session focussed on a discussion and demonstration around how we can leverage VMware vRealize Network Insight (vRNI) to visualise applications, their dependencies, and their application traffic flows to effectively micro-segment an application using the VMware NSX-T Distributed Firewall (DFW).

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Replacing the VMware NSX-T Self-Signed SSL Certificate

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Out of the box, NSX-T Data Center utilises self-signed certificates for its cluster and manager nodes; however, it is recommended that you replace the self-signed certificates with CA-signed certificates to improve security.

In this article, we step through creating a certificate signing request and private key, generating a signed certificate in conjunction with your Certificate Authority, and finally applying the new certificate to your NSX-T cluster and manager nodes.

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VMware vRealize Network Insight (vRNI) – Part 6 – Importing Recommended Firewall Rules into NSX-T via Python Script

Reading Time: 5 minutes

As the holiday season is almost upon us (just two days), why not finish with one final article in my vRNI series and an article that will likely finalise my blog posts for the year.

In my previous article (VMware vRealize Network Insight (vRNI) – Part 5 – Data Flow Analysis & Micro-Segmentation), we analysed collected data flows in vRNI to manually micro-segment an application utilising the VMware NSX-T Distributed Firewall (DFW). However, what if we want to automate this process? After all, applications that require a small number of firewall rules (such as the application used in the previous article) are rare.

This article looks at Martijn Smit‘s great script, which imports vRNI recommended firewall rules into VMware NSX-T Data Center via a Python script.

Continue reading → VMware vRealize Network Insight (vRNI) – Part 6 – Importing Recommended Firewall Rules into NSX-T via Python Script