If you are new to NSX or looking to evaluate it in the lab, there is one very common issue that you may run into. After going through the initial steps of deploying and registering NSX Manager with vCenter, you may be surprised to find that there are no manageable NSX managers listed under ‘Networking and Security’ in the Web Client. Although the registration and Web Client plugin installation appears successful, there is often an extra step needed before you can manage things.
One of the first tasks involved in deploying NSX is to register NSX Manager with a vCenter Server. This is done for inventory management and synchronization purposes. The NSX Manager can be optionally registered with SSO as well.
The vCenter user that is used for registration needs to have the highest level of privileges for NSX to work correctly. The NSX install guide clearly states that this must be the vCenter ‘Administrator’ role.
From the NSX Install Guide:
“You must have a vCenter Server user account with the Administrator role to synchronize NSX Manager with the vCenter Server. If your vCenter password has non-ASCII characters, you must change it before synchronizing the NSX Manager with the vCenter Server.”
Because of these requirements, it’s quite common to use the SSO administrator account – usually email@example.com. A service account is also often created for this purpose to more easily identify and distinguish NSX tasks. Either way, these are not normally accounts that you’d use for day-to-day administration in vSphere.
By default, NSX will only assign its ‘Enterprise Administrator’ role to the user account that was used to register it with vCenter Server. This means that by default, only that specific vCenter user will have access to the NSX manager from within the Web Client.
That said, if you are experiencing this problem, you are probably not logged in with the vCenter user that was used for registration purposes. To grant access to other users, you’ll need to log into the vSphere Web Client using the registration user account, and then add additional users and groups.
In my lab, I’ve just logged in with an active directory user called ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. This user has full administrator privileges in vCenter, but has no access to any NSX Managers:
If I log out, and log back in with the email@example.com account that was used for vCenter registration, I can see the NSX managers that were registered.
In my lab, I’ve got a secondary deployed as well, but we’ll focus only on 172.16.10.40. If I click on that manager in the list, I’m able to go to the ‘Users’ tab to see what the default permissions look like:
As you can see, only one user – the SSO administrator account used for registration – has the requisite role for administrator via the Web Client. In my lab, I want to provide full access to an AD group called ‘VMware Admins’ and an individual user called ‘Test’.
Both vCenter users and groups can be specified here. As long as vCenter can authenticate them – either via SSO, local authentication or even AD – they are fair game.
Another common mistake made is selecting the NSX Administrator role rather than Enterprise Administrator. NSX Administrator sounds like the highest privilege level, but it’s actually Enterprise Administrator that gives you all the keys to the kingdom. You won’t be able to administer certain things – including user permissions – unless Enterprise Administrator is chosen.
Once this is done, you’ll see the users and groups listed and should now have the correct permissions to administer the NSX deployment!
Keep in mind that if you’ve got more than one NSX manager deployed, you’ll need to set this on each independently.
Have any questions or want more information? Please feel free to leave a comment below or reach out to me on Twitter (@vswitchzero)