Network Topology

Prior to the introduction of software defined networking, I had VLANs all over the place. Kind of what you’d expect to see in an average corporate network. I had a number of VLANs plumbed to each host to support the typical ESXi traffic such as Management, vMotion and Storage traffic. I also had a VLAN for my core infrastructure components such as domain controllers, vCenter servers, database servers etc.

In order for me to be able to create multiple isolated sandboxes I added yet more VLANs. One for each network in the nested sandboxes I was creating. At one point I had in the region of 60+ VLANs…for a home lab no less.

This ended up being a lot of work, tedious and error prone (although fun), not to mention the ACLs and manual routes I’d have to update throughout the environment each time I wanted to spin up a new vLab (virtual lab).

Since the addition of VMware NSX, the network layout and the operational overhead required for me to add, change and remove networks in the lab has been drastically simplified. I was also able to get rid of all the non-essential VLANs, leaving only those required to support the ESXi hosts and core network services.

All vLab networks are now created in software as VXLAN backed networks with no more physical network re-configuration necessary. It now takes me less than 5 minutes to build out a new, isolated and fully routable, multi-segment sandbox for each new vLab as opposed to the couple hours it used to take.