Setting Manual DFW Override for NSX Restore

The recommended restore process for NSX Manager is to deploy a new OVA of the same version, and restore the configuration. After a recent failed upgrade we needed to restore NSX Manager, so deployed a new OVA with the same network settings. After the new NSX Manager was powered on we were unable to ping the IP address, this was because there were no default rules allowing access to the VM, and since the existing NSX Manager was down we were unable to connect to the UI or API to add the required firewall rules. NSX Manager is normally excluded from Distributed Firewall (DFW) by default, however at this point the hosts saw it as any other VM, since we had not yet restored the configuration. Therefore we needed to add a manual override to clear the filters applied to the new NSX Manager, allowing us to connect and restore the configuration. The following commands were run on the host where the new NSX Manager OVA was deployed, using SSH. For further guidance on the backup and restore process of NSX see the NSX Backup and Restore post.

Disclaimer: the steps below are advanced commands using vsipfwcli which is an extremely powerful tool. You should engage VMware GSS if doing this on anything other than a lab environment, you should also understand the impact of stopping the vsfwd service on the host and the impact this may have on any other VMs with a DFW policy of fail closed.

net-stats -l lists the NIC details of the VMs running on the host, verify the new NSX Manager is present.

/etc/init.d/vShield-Stateful-Firewall stop stops the vsfwd user world agent, you can also use status to display the status.


summarize-dvfilter lists port and filter details, we need the port name for the VM, e.g. nic-38549-eth0-vmware-sfw.2.


vsipioctl getrules -f nic-38549-eth0-vmware-sfw.2 lists the existing filters applied to the port, replace the port name with your own, from the output check to confirm the ruleset name, e.g. ruleset domain-c17.


vsipioctl vsipfwcli -f nic-38549-eth0-vmware-sfw.2 -c "create ruleset domain-c17;" creates a new empty ruleset with the same name, overriding the previous ruleset applied to the port. Replace the port name with your own and the ruleset name if it is different.

vsipioctl getrules -f nic-38549-eth0-vmware-sfw.2 again lists the existing filters applied to the port, the ruleset should now be empty as no filters are applied.


The NSX Manager is now pinging and the normal restore process can resume; connect to the web interface by browsing to the IP address or FQDN of the NSX Manager.


Select Backup & Restore.


Select the appropriate restore point and click Restore. Click Yes to confirm.


The restore generally takes 5-10 minutes, once complete you will see a restore completed successfully message in a blue banner on the Summary page. You may need to log out and log back in after the config is restored.


Once the NSX Manager services have started you can manage the DFW from the vSphere web client as normal. Remember to start the vsfwd service again on the host, after the vsfwd service is started the empty ruleset we created earlier is replaced with the original ruleset when the host syncs with NSX Manager.

/etc/init.d/vShield-Stateful-Firewall start starts the vsfwd user world agent, you can also use status to display the status.

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