The NSX-T 2.3 Bridge Firewall bug that drove me crazy!

The above video demonstrate the bug and provides a workaround. 😉

FYI, the bug mentioned in this post should be resolved in the next release of NSX-T which I believe is 2.4.

The objective of this post is to provide additional details around NSX-T Edge Bridge Profiles and hopefully, prevent others from banging their heads against the wall when it comes to the Bridge Firewall not working. NSX-T 2.3 offers a couple L2 bridging options:

  • Option 1: ESXi Bridge Cluster which leverages two ESXi hosts in a cluster to perform the L2 bridging.
  • Option 2: Edge Bridge Profiles which leverage two Edge Nodes (EN) in an Edge Cluster to perform L2 bridging.

Edge Bridge Profiles

I’ll focus on Option 2 involving Edge Bridge Profiles. VMware provides instruction on how to implement it here as well as a great demo video by Francois Tallet on L2 Bridging. The documentation does a decent job of explaining the components as well as some of the requirements as seen below:

One requirement that is missing from the above documentation is that Forged Transmits must be enabled on the same port group otherwise traffic will not flow. I’d also like to see use cases added around choosing ESXi Bridge Cluster vs Edge Bridge Profile.

Note: If your running vSphere 6.7 you could leverage native MAC learning capability which William covers over at virtuallyGhetto. I leveraged his MacLearn functions and confirmed it works with Edge Bridge.

Disclaimer: Use of MAC learning I don’t believe is officially supported by VMware. Therefore I don’t recommend using in a production environment.

Even though it might not be supported officially, I’m curious to see if there is a performance gain over Promiscuous Mode, so stay tuned for a future post 😉

Bridge Firewall Bug

In order to leverage NSX-T Bridge Firewall, you must be utilizing the Edge Bridge Profiles. That being said, I attempted to replicate Francois setup in my environment but was struggling to get Bridge firewall to work. I created a bridge firewall rule that should prevent the virtual machine from pinging the physical server (192.168.11.20 – VLAN11). However, communication continued to work which was odd.

I decided to create a separate Edge Bridge Profile for VLAN 100 on a separate logical switch. In this test, I was going to bridge a physical workload that had its gateway pointing to a Tier-1 Distributed Router (DR) within the NSX-T domain. When I created the Bridge Firewall to block traffic it worked as expected.

Workaround for Scenario 1

I decided to contact VMware to see if they were aware of this situation. They informed me that this was indeed a bug and will be fixed in the upcoming 2.4 release. They also mentioned a DR needs to be attached to the overlay LS where you want to leverage bridge firewall as a workaround. In scenario 1, above our LS does not have a Tier 0 or Tier 1 DR. The moment I add a Test-T1 DR with a fake GW address of 1.2.3.4/24 our bridge firewall rule function correctly.

I hope you found this post helpful. Stay tuned for a post where I’ll discuss my NSX-T homelab until then if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out.

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