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VMware NSX Virtualizes the Network to Transform Network Operations

Summary:

  • VMware announces VMware NSX™, the platform for network virtualization
  • Leading Companies to Virtualize Their Networks to Speed Innovation
  • Partner Ecosystem Aligns with VMware to Support Customer Transition to Virtual Networking

Today at VMworld®, we announced VMware NSX, the platform for network virtualization. This announcement is another giant step for VMware as we evolve from being a server virtualization vendor into a supplier of an entire solution for the data center. At the show, our CEO Pat Gelsinger talked about how VMware is helping to transform the network to radically simplify IT as part of his VMworld keynote presentation.  He was joined on stage by several leading companies, including CITI, eBay and GE, to discuss the value of network virtualization. Additionally, more than 20 partners announced support for VMware NSX.

Now, we know customers have been virtualizing their networks for some time. In reality, network virtualization is not a future technology. It is here today, helping customers address many of the networking challenges that have been a barrier to their cloud initiatives.  So why is this announcement so significant?

The answer is simple.  VMware has a rich tradition of innovation, and is delivering broad data center and cloud solutions that will help customers accelerate their adoption of a software-defined data center architecture. VMware NSX is another clear example of our continuous cycle of innovation and will position us to revolutionize networking in the same way it did for compute with server virtualization.

Network Virtualization Delivers New Network Operating Model

The adoption of server virtualization over the past decade has resulted in a completely new operational model for provisioning and managing application workloads in the data center. The ability for a server to be dynamic – i.e., to treat physical compute (hosts) as a pool of CPU, memory and storage capacity that can be consumed and repurposed on demand – transformed the server market landscape and saved businesses billions of dollars. However, the operating model of the network to which these dynamic workloads are connected has not kept pace. The network is now a barrier to achieving the full benefits of virtualization because:

  • Network provisioning is CLI-based and manually intensive, taking days or weeks to provision even simple network topologies
  • Workload placement and mobility is limited by physical network constraints and topology
  • The network is operationally intensive, requiring significant manual hardware configuration and maintenance, and vendor-specific expertise

VMware NSX – The Platform for Network Virtualization

VMware NSX is software that will virtualize the network and will deliver the entire networking and security model from L2 through L7 in software.  The platform decouples the network from the underlying hardware, yet takes advantage of the existing network infrastructure without changes to enable new levels of service delivery speed, agility and cost reductions. VMware NSX will deliver a completely new operational model for networking that breaks through current network barriers and enables data center operators to achieve significantly better agility and improved economics.

 As a fast growing company, WestJet identified some challenges with our security and network infrastructure; it was beginning to become difficult to meet our evolving business requirements,” said Richard Sillito, IT Security – Technologist, WestJet. “In response, we developed a functional model that includes network, security and virtualization creating an aligned architecture. It was also important to create an implementation strategy that will meet our future business objectives while leveraging existing technology investments and supporting both our tactical and strategic direction. We initially looked towards more traditional approaches to solving these challenges which involved the use of big iron based solution but found these to be very costly. We believe that VMware NSX™ capabilities such as L2, L3 distributed routing and virtual firewalls will enhance our core infrastructure, while allowing us to meet our future business needs with a datacenter that is more cost effect, agile and secure.”

 

VMware’s approach to network virtualization will enable data center operators to treat their physical network as a pool of transport capacity that can be consumed and repurposed on demand.  VMware NSX virtual networks can be programmatically provisioned and managed, utilizing the underlying physical network as a simple IP connectivity.  VMware NSX provides a platform to deliver logical network services offered by VMware and the VMware NSX Partner Ecosystem.  The platform is built around a controller cluster that manages the distribution of logical network functions into hypervisors throughout the data center. With VMware NSX, data center operators will be able to provision complex, multi-tier virtual networks in seconds, independent of the underlying topology or network components.

Here’s what IDC had to say about VMware NSX:

IDC believes the increasing use of public and private cloud services, and the desire from enterprises for faster, more agile service and application delivery, are driving the enterprise and service provider markets toward an inevitable era of network virtualization,” said Brad Casemore, research director for Data Center Networks at IDC. “In virtual networks, where hardware and software are decoupled, a new network operating model can be achieved that delivers improved levels of speed and efficiency. Network virtualization is becoming a game shifter, providing an important building block for delivering the software-defined data center, and with VMware NSX™, VMware is well positioned to capture this market opportunity.

 

 

VMware NSX Partner Ecosystem

VMware NSX will be an extensible platform that will include a distributed service framework for easy insertion of partner services. This framework will allow service composition at multiple points in the virtual network.  VMware NSX partners cover the portfolio of applications customers require to implement the network virtualization lifecycle, and include: network service gateways to bridge physical and virtual environments, network security platforms that provide multiple services such as firewall and threat prevention, security services including anti-virus, IDS/IPS and vulnerability management and application delivery services including load balancing, application delivery and WAN optimization. For more details and commentary from VMware NSX partners, read our blog post here.

As businesses move to the cloud to compete more effectively in today’s economy, the network must not be a barrier to innovation and business velocity. Network operations need to evolve, to become more automated, programmatic and agile. The VMware NSX network virtualization platform will provide intelligent software that leverages the existing IP infrastructure and a broad community of best-in-class partner services to transform network operations.

Stephen Mullaney, Senior Vice President and General Manager

Networking and Security Business Unit