VMware AirWatch – NSX Integration

VMware AirWatch – NSX Integration

This post was originally published on this site ---

With contributions from:

Hannah Jernigan, Technical Writer, End User Computing Technical Marketing, VMware

Integrate VMware AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Management with NSX Micro-Segmentation to extend security policies from the data center to the mobile application endpoint. Additionally, VMware AirWatch – NSX Integration brings speed and simplicity to networking.  By creating policies that dynamically follow mobile applications, it eliminates the need to do time-consuming network provisioning. Keep reading to learn how to integrate NSX with VMware AirWatch.
VMware AirWatch - NSX Integration

Extend Security into the Datacenter with NSX Micro-Segmentation

In today’s digital workspace end users are more productive than ever before, using any device, anywhere, to access business critical resources and get the job done. However, increased access, and methods of access, come with complex security challenges. As a result, device management and application management no longer suffice as stand-alone solutions. Instead, they function best as components of a comprehensive security solution that not only secures devices and their apps, but also protects the endpoints and services being accessed. Today’s post looks at how VMware AirWatch – NSX Integration extends endpoint security into the datacenter.

[Related: Better Together: VMware Workspace ONE & Office 365]

Next Level Per-App VPN

While per-app VPN addresses some of the security concerns of device-level VPN, it still exposes all the domain’s endpoints and services to an application. In comparison,micro-segmentation takes endpoint management to the next level, restricting application-level access to a specified endpoint on the datacenter.

[Related: VMware AirWatch 101: Per-App VPN]

Architecture Diagram of a Per-App VPN Connection

What is NSX Micro-Segmentation?

NSX micro-segmentation is a logical, bi-directional firewall that monitors inbound and outbound access controls for individual endpoints. It uses the NSX virtualization tool, making it a streamlined, cost-effective alternative to a physical firewall.

Architecture Diagram of a Per-App VPN with Micro-Segmentation Connection

VMware AirWatch – NSX Integration Health Care Use Case

Consider a doctor referencing patient health records from an enterprise health app. In this use case, only the health app, and not any of the device’s other applications, can establish a per-app VPN connection. Then, micro-segmentation dictates a designated endpoint for the health app. In this case, a patient database.
Architecture Diagram of a Healthcare App using Micro-Segmentation to access a specified server.

This level of restriction means that the healthcare app cannot access the e-mail server, an inventory database, or other unrelated services. The application’s assigned groups also mean that data access gets filtered on an employee level as well. Nurses, or doctors from a different department using the same health app cannot access the specified database without permission.

Additional Use Cases

  • Enhanced network security and granular controls for mobile workflows
  • Accelerated digital workspace and BYOD deployments
  • Policy defined network access for mobile apps and users
  • Reduced mobile access footprint to data center minimizing attack surface
  • Accelerated mobile app delivery, testing and automation

VMware AirWatch – NSX Integration Solution Overview

Starting with a sucessfully installed instance of NSX, sync the NSX Security Groups that represent data center endpoints and services in the AirWatch Console. This action shares datacenter logic with VMware AirWatch.  Then, configure and install the VMware Per-App Tunnel. This server establishes the secure connection between mobile applications  and the network.  Next, configure a Per-App VPN profile to directs managed applications to specified endpoints. Finally, configure applications.

VMware Tunnel Application

Device communication with the VMware Per-App Tunnel server goes through the VMware Tunnel application. Without this application,  a per-app VPN connection cannot establish.

Store view of the VMware Tunnel AppTherefore, the  VMware Tunnel Application is the most important application to configure and deploy.

The other applications you configure depend on the specific scenario and use case, but are generally the apps that end users accesses internal resources from. When configuring these apps, consider using Assignment Groups within AirWatch Console to control access on a user level.

Plan VMware NSX Implementation

  • Determine the types of devices accessing your network
  • Identify the endpoints (apps) in your network access.
  • Group applications by level of vulnerability/risk
  • Define the security requirements for each level of access.
NSX Integration Preliminary Steps

Install VMware NSX for vSphere 6.1.x+

  • Designate a separate network range for each Security Level to identify incoming traffic
  • Define IP set-based Security Groups in NSX
  • Define internal resource based Security Groups in NSX
  • Determine firewall rules for Security Groups
  • Identify application endpoint addresses
  • Set traffic routing patterns

Meet VMware AirWatch – NSX Integration Requirements

  • AirWatch Admin Console v8.3+
  • AirWatch Tunnel server using the Linux Installer. The AirWatch Tunnel virtual appliance deployment method is currently not supported for NSX integration.
  • AirWatch Cloud Connector (For SaaS Customers)
  • Managed Android or iOS devices

VMware AirWatch – NSX Integration Steps

This post only highlights the configurations that are most important to NSX integration in the AirWatch Admin Console. For comprehensive instructions in AirWatch Console v9.1, click the suggested links.

Step 1: Configure and Download the VMware Per-App Tunnel for Linux Installer

To Configure VMware Tunnel , you need the details of the server where you plan to install.

Before configuration, determine the deployment model, one or more hostnames and ports, and which features of VMware Tunnel to implement. In addition to NSX integration and the Per-App VPN component, select from features such as access log integration, SSL offloading, enterprise certificate authority integration, and so on.

The wizard walks you through the installer configuration step-by-step. The options configured in the wizard are packaged in the installer, which you can download from the AirWatch Console and move to your Tunnel servers. Changing the details in this wizard typically requires a reinstall of the VMware Tunnel with the new configuration.

AirWatch Console Configurations:

  1. Navigate to Groups & Settings > All Settings > System > Enterprise Integration > VMware Tunnel > Network Accessibility.
  2. Select Enable AirWatch Tunnel.
  3. Click Enabled for NSX Communication and provide the NSX Manager URL and Admin Username and Password.


4. Sync Security Groups and block all non-compliant devices from the same configuration screen.


5. Select Download Linux Installer. This button downloads a single TAR file used for deploying the relay and endpoints. You must also confirm a certificate password that is used during installation. The password must contain a minimum of six characters.

6. Select Save.

Step 2: Install VMware Per-App Tunnel with NSX Enabled

After meeting all the VMware Tunnel for Linux System Requirements, configuring VMware Tunnel settings in the AirWatch Console, and downloading the installer to your Linux server, run the installer to enable the service.

During VMware Tunnel configuration, you specify whether you are installing in a multi-tier or single-tier configuration.

Important: During installation, after accepting the licensing agreement, specify the components you want to install. Enter 1 to install Per-App Tunnel only.

Step 3: Create a Per-App VPN Profile

After configuring the VMware Tunnel server, Configure Per-App Tunnel Profile for iOS or Configure Per-App Tunnel Profile for Android. This profile enables specified applications to route HTTP(S) and TCP traffic through the VMware Per-App Tunnel.  However, please note that the VPN profile can only take effect on devices with the VMware Tunnel application installed.

AirWatch Console Configurations

    1. Navigate to Devices > Profiles > List View > Add.
    2. Select the appropriate platform (iOS or Android).
    3. Configure a VPN Payload.

Set the Connection Type to AirWatch Tunnel, and select the Per-App VPN Rules checkbox.


 Step 4: Configure VMware Tunnel App

The VMware Tunnel application lets end users access internal corporate Web resources and sites through managed public and internal applications. To Access the VMware Tunnel App for iOS or Access the VMware Tunnel App for Android end users must download and install the VMware Tunnel application from the App Store.



Step 5: Apply the Per-App VPN Profile and Security Group Mapping to Apps

After you create a per-app tunnel profile you can Configure Public Apps to Use Per App Profile in the application configuration screen. This tells that application to use the defined VPN profile when establishing connections

On the application configuration screen, select the following options:


Learn More About VMware AirWatch – NSX Integration

To learn more about VMware NSX, check out the links below:

Because you liked this blog:

The post VMware AirWatch – NSX Integration appeared first on VMware End-User Computing Blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.