Network Insight

Installing vRealize Network Insight


Network security has been at hot topic for years. In comes NSX along with micro-segmentation and one would think that security couldn’t be any hotter, but you’ll be wrong! Que vRealize Network Insight. This is the new black that everyone has been talking about and demoing. Who am I to not join in on the fun.

If you want a short introduction to vRealize Network Insight please have a look at the article I did for Starwind. You got SDN, now what

vRealize Network Insight architecture

vRealize Network Insight consists of two VMs. The vRealize Network Insight Platform VM and vRealize Network Insight Proxy VM. Both of them are required to have a working vRealize Network Insight installation. Before the installation, lets look at the components of vRealize Network Insight.


The drawing contains the two VMs required for vRealize Network Insight and supported endpoints. The role of the platform VM is to be front end for the proxy. This is where the user interacts with vRealize Network Insight. Data is fed from the proxy VM to the platform VM. The proxy VM’s role it to collect and process data. There are two ways this is done.

For IPFIX (Netflow) data is fed to the proxy. The distributed switch in vSphere is setup to send IPFIX flows to the proxy. This is passive collection. Active collection is done for everything else. Here the proxy VM queries the devices which have been setup in vRealize Network Insight. Such devices are vCenter, NSX components, physical network equipment and Cisco and HP server systems. In order to collect data form the devices different technics are used. This could be calling a REST API, using SNMP or SSH as an example.


The two VMs have different requirements. They are deployed as a medium or large VM. The platform VM is quite resource hungry. Where as the proxy is more modest.

VM/Size Medium Large Space
Platform 8 vCPU, 32GB RAM 12 vCPU, 48GB RAM 750GB HDD, Thin provisioned
Proxy 4 vCPU, 10GB RAM 6 vCPU, 12GB RAM 150GB HDD, Thin provisioned



Installing vRealize Network Insight

The procedure to install vRealize Network Insight is quite simple. Almost as simple and straightforward as installing Log Insight. You get guide through it. Only thing that is still the same old way is how we deploy the vRealize Network Insight Appliances.


First the platform VM is deployed. There are the usual fields which needs to be filled in. After the deployment point your browser to the IP of the vRealize Network Insight Platform VM. There are three steps to this.

  1. Enter a valid license key
  2. Activate the license
  3. Generate a shared secret for the Proxy VM

You can see the flow below – Brilliantly simple!

vrealize-network-insight-platform-1 vrealize-network-insight-platform-2 vrealize-network-insight-platform-3 vrealize-network-insight-platform-4 vrealize-network-insight-platform-5

Before the shared secret can be used the Proxy VM has to be deployed. Again this is the same old procedure for deploying a ova appliance. With the single exception that the shared secret need to be part of the Proxy customization.

Once the Proxy VM is deployed and powered on. Go to the platform VM’s page and verify that the Proxy has been detected by the Platform and click finish.



That is all there is to it. Next up is setting up the vRealize Network Insight installation, but that will have to wait for another blog post.

Thanks for reading.

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