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What is the VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer?
The NSX Advanced Load Balancer enables organizations to move past legacy hardware load balancers and use a software-driven platform that provides the following:
- Software load balancer—The solution is 100% software-defined, provides multi-cloud capabilities, and provides a centralized management and control plane
- Intelligent WAF—The web application firewall features of the NSX Advanced Load Balancer can help with security and compliance challenges, such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS
- Container ingress—It provides a robust container ingress solution and the preferred means for load balancing with VMware Tanzu with vSphere
Despite being an integral part of the VMware NSX solution and VMware Tanzu Kubernetes in vSphere, you can use the NSX Advanced Load Balancer as a standalone solution in front of web applications and other technologies as a modern load balancer.
Installing the NSX Advanced Load Balancer
Installing the NSX Advanced Load Balancer is straightforward. First, VMware vSphere admins import the OVA appliance for the NSX Advanced Load Balancer into the vSphere environment using the standard OVF deployment wizard. The OVA appliance deploys the NSX Advanced Load Balancer controller. The controller orchestrates all the other activities for the load balancer configuration, including creating what are known as service engines. The service engines handle all data plane operations.
In Step 6, Select networks, the NSX Advanced Load Balancer only requires a single network connection. Additional network connections will be established with the service engines.
After stepping through the OVA deployment, the deployment is ready to complete.
NSX Advanced Load Balancer interface
The NSX Advanced Load Balancer interface is modern and intuitive, and it provides excellent visibility to configured services. After deploying the controller, you will configure the default cloud service. Below is the default cloud configuration, pointing to a VMware vSphere environment. However, you can add multiple cloud services to a single controller.
Service engines are a core component of the NSX ALB solution. You can configure and manage them from the NSX ALB interface and view the status and metrics for each.
You can manage a wealth of WAF configuration options in the NSX ALB interface, including application rules, policies, profiles, and others.
The NSX Advanced Load Balancer provides healthy monitoring of all the solution's core infrastructure. You will see health and performance metrics for each component of the controller provisions, including the controller itself. Below, we see the key performance indicators of one of the service engines.
VMware Tanzu Kubernetes with NSX Advanced Load Balancer
Enabling VMware Tanzu Kubernetes in a VMware vSphere environment requires a load balancer. The preferred load balancer for VMware Tanzu Kubernetes is the NSX Advanced Load Balancer. Select the NSX Advanced Load Balancer option and set the management IP address configured in the deployment of the NSX ALB controller.
The NSX ALB solution provides an extremely powerful way to configure IPs to get traffic into your Tanzu Supervisor and workload clusters. In addition, it automatically provisions the required service engines, so this process is automated.
The NSX ALB interface also provides nice visualizations for the applications configured with the deployment of your VMware Tanzu workload cluster.
All of the virtual services are clickable so that you can drill into any of the components in the visualization and view health and performance metrics for the virtual services.
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The NSX Advanced Load Balancer provides a core component of VMware's software-defined networking solution. It has many capabilities that can be used with VMware NSX, VMware Tanzu Kubernetes, or even as a standalone load balancer in front of traditional web applications. In addition, the web application firewall and container ingress capabilities make it a Swiss Army knife solution for load balancing needs in the modern enterprise data center.
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