Clarify NSX-v Edge vs. NSX-T Edge vs. vCD Edge Gateway

Clarify NSX-v Edge vs. NSX-T Edge vs. vCD Edge Gateway

14 December 2022 Off By arnaud

Whether you are new or experienced in different VMware technologies, they are not always making it easy to understand the terminology. Using the same terminology in different, but related products can sometimes lead to difficult situations during technical (customer) sessions.
When talking about NSX in general, I think one of the most common mistakes are made when talking about “Edges”.

VMware NSX is a network virtualisation and security platform which can run as a stand-alone solution, but it could also be used in combination with VMware Cloud Director to provide on-demand networks and (networking/security) services for different tenants.
VMware NSX has evolved over the past few years from NSX for vSphere to NSX-T. Since January 2021 NSX-v is no longer supported and NSX-T has been rebranded (since version 4.x) to VMware NSX.
But all this doesn’t make it simpler as unfortunately customers still have some NSX-V in place. During these very needed migrations to NSX-T all terminologies of the different products are (often wrongly) mixed together to achieve the new target design.

Comparing different products with different features are not the easiest thing to do, but I’ll do my best to make it clear in one big overview. Please be aware that such comparisons are maybe not 100% correct. All mentioned products are separate products with similar features which might be implemented differently.
[End Of Disclaimer]

NSX-v Edge vs NSX-T Edge

NSX-v EdgeNSX-T Edge
DefinitionAn appliance that provides L3 routing and network services.An appliance that provides a “pool of resources” to run (multiple) L3 routing and networking services which can not be distributed across hypervisors
Form-factorVM-basedVM-based & bare-metal
Amount of routing instances per Edge node1 (Limited to ten uplink and internal network interfaces)160 T0 Gateways (Think of provider router)
4000 T1 Gateways (Think of tenant router)

– src:
Service componentEdge Services Gateway (ESG) T0 Service Router (SR)
T1 Service Router (SR)*
Location of Service componentDedicated VM on ESXi ClusterEdge Transport Node
Distributed routing componentDistributed Logical Router (DLR)*T0 Distributed Router (DR)
T1 Distributed Router (DR)
Location of Distributed routing componentDedicated VM on ESXi Clusterkernel of every ESXi hosts (prepared for NSX overlay)


Now what about VMware Cloud Director?

Now that we know the differences about VMware NSX Edges, what about VMware Cloud Director? As a system administrator you are able to create Edge Gateways, but what will it actually deploy behind the scenes? Let’s figure it out.

vCD Edge GatewayESG
+ toggle button to enable distributed routing (DLR)
T1 Gateway assigned to Edge Cluster**

**It’s good to know that only when a T1 is assigned to an Edge Cluster, a T1 SR component is deployed on the Edge TN. In cases where no stateful services are used, this could cause some (little) less-optimal routing. In vCD the T1 is always automatically assigned to an edge cluster. Within “plain” NSX-T, this is not mandatory.