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Category Archives: Network Virtualization

Organizations Can Be Twice As Secure at Half the Cost

Last week at VMworld, Pat Gelsinger made a statement that got folks buzzing. During his Cyber-Security-King_Blogkeynote, he said that integrating security into the virtualization layer would result in organizations being twice as secure at half the cost. As a long-time security guy, statements like that can seem a little bold, but VMware has data, and some proven capability here in customer environments.

We contend that the virtualization layer is increasingly ubiquitous. It touches compute, network, and storage – connects apps to infrastructure – and spans data center to device. More importantly, virtualization enables alignment between the things we care about (people, apps, data) and the controls that can protect them (not just the underlying infrastructure).

Let me speak to the statement from the data center network side with some real data. VMware has a number of VMware NSX customers in production that have deployed micro-segmentation in their data centers.  Here’s what we found:

  1. 75% of data center network traffic is East-West, moving VM to VM regardless of how convoluted the path may be.
  2. Nearly all security controls look exclusively at North-South traffic, which is the traffic moving into and out of the data center; 90% of East-West traffic never sees a security control.
  3. Micro-segmentation with NSX enables full inspection of East-West traffic by logical network isolation, stateful firewalling, and with partners, even more sophisticated security controls can be implemented (next-generation firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, etc).

By my math using the above data, we’ve enabled organizations to move from security controls that only cover one third of their data center traffic to a much higher percentage – in some customer environments, they’ve deployed security controls to 100% of the traffic (full micro-segmentation, 100% of East-West traffic).  That’s actually better than twice as secure.

Now, the “half the cost” aspect of the statement we’ve proven many times over. We’ve seen enough customer business cases that demonstrate doing micro-segmentation with hardware firewalls is three times the cost of doing it with VMware NSX. Never mind the fact that it is operationally infeasible to do this. You can read about that here in our whitepaper.

So, in a sense, Pat was being conservative in my view. It’s actually more like three times as secure at one-third the cost.  Either way, it’s a huge improvement.

Here are just a few stories of real world customers that are starting to reap the benefits of using virtualization and micro-segmentation to improve the effectiveness and economics of security.

Chris King

Cross vCenter Networking & Security with VMware NSX

NSX 6.2 was released on August 20, 2015. One of the key features in NSX 6.2 is Cross vCenter Networking and Security. This new capability scales NSX vSphere across vCenter boundaries. Now, one can span logical networking and security constructs across vCenter boundaries irrespective of whether the vCenters are in adjacent racks or across datacenters (up to 150ms apart). This enables us to solve a variety of use cases including:

  • Capacity pooling across vCenters
  • Simplifying data center migrations
  • Cross vCenter and long distance vMotion
  • Disaster recovery

With Cross vCenter Networking & Security one can extend logical switches (VXLAN networks) across vCenter boundaries enabling a layer 2 segment to span across VCs even when the underlying network is a pure IP / L3 network. However, the big innovation here is that with NSX we can also extend distributed routing and distributed firewalling seamlessly across VCs to provide a comprehensive solution as seen in the figure below. Continue reading

VMware NSX 6.2: Enterprise Automation, Security and Application Continuity

VMworld 2015 in San Francisco marks the two-year anniversary of the launch of VMware VMware NSX LogoNSX. Since we originally launched, we have taken the promise of NSX and turned it into a platform that customers around the world are using to transform the operations of their data center networks and security infrastructure – in fact, more than 700 customers have chosen NSX. We also have more than 100 production deployments, and more than 65 customers have invested more than $1M of their IT budgets in NSX. We’ve trained more than 3,500 people on NSX, and we have more than 20 interoperable partner solutions generally available and shipping today.

Perhaps what’s most exciting is that at this year’s show, we will have more than two dozen NSX customers represented in various forums throughout the event. Organizations such as Baystate Health, City of Avondale, ClearDATA, Columbia Sportswear, DirecTV, FireHost, George Washington University, Heartland Payment Systems, IBM, IlliniCloud, NovaMedia, Rent-A-Center, Telstra, Tribune Media, United Health Group, University of New Mexico…the list goes on. Continue reading

3 Months on the Road: What I heard from VMware NSX Customers

After three consecutive months attending 75 customer meetings throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia, I came away Around-The-Worldwith plenty of frequent flyer miles and, more importantly, tons of insight to share with you.

What I learned from customers is that VMware NSX is truly a game-changer. And as we exit the second quarter, the list of customers excited about NSX is only getting bigger. We recently announced that we have grown from more than 150 VMware NSX customers a year ago, to more than 700 customers today. These customers are setting the stage for others to follow. They are providing best practices that we are feeding back to others, and giving us valuable insight into challenges they encounter along the way.

So as I promised, I’ve pulled together highlights from these meetings and condensed them into three key themes that emerged.  For you IT pros out there reading this, let me know if any of this sounds familiar. Continue reading

VMware and Docker Deliver Greater Speeds through the Right Controls

This post was co-authored by Guido Appenzeller, CTSO of Networking and Security (@appenz), and Scott Lowe, Engineering DockerArchitect, Networking and Security Business Unit (@scott_lowe)

In today’s business environment, companies are being asked to go faster than ever before: faster time to market, faster response to customers, faster reactions to market shifts. Having a good idea isn’t enough; companies not only need to have a good idea, but they need get it to market fast, and quickly iterate on improvements to that idea. Speed is a competitive advantage.

The phenomenal success of the open source Docker project is a reflection of the pressure on companies to go faster. Companies across all industries have recognized that successful development teams can be a competitive differentiator. However, developers needed a way to simplify and accelerate the development and deployment of applications and code, and found Docker was one way to help accomplish that. Docker has won a place in the hearts and minds of many developers for its ability to help simplify the development and deployment of many different types of applications. Continue reading

VCDX-NV Interview: Nemtallah Daher Discusses VMware NSX Certification

Nemtallah Daher is Senior Network Delivery Consultant at the consulting firm AdvizeX Technology. Recently he took some time out of his day to talk with us about why, as a networking guy, he thinks learning about network virtualization is critical to further one’s career. 


I’ve been at AdvizeX for about a year now. I do Cisco, HP, data center stuff, and all sorts of general networking things: routing, switching, data center, UCS. That kind of stuff. Before coming to AdvizeX, I was a senior network specialist at Cleveland State University for about 20 years.

I started at Cleveland State in 1988 as a systems programmer, working on IBM mainframe doing CICS, COBOL and assembler. About 2 years after I started at Cleveland State, networking was becoming prevalent, and the project I was working on was coming to an end, so they asked me if I would help start a networking group. So from a small lab here, a building here, a floor there, I built the network at Cleveland State. We applied for a grant to get some hardware, applied for an IP address, domain name, all these things. There was nothing at the time, so we did everything. We incorporated wireless about 10 years in. Over time it became a ubiquitous, campus-wide network. So that’s my brief history. Continue reading

Deploying VMware NSX on Cisco Nexus 9000 & Cisco UCS Infrastructure

As VMware NSX gains broader adoption, we have heard many customer requests for guidance to help them run NSX on top of the latest Cisco infrastructure, namely Cisco UCS and Nexus 9000 series switches.

With customers choosing the benefits of VMware NSX along with the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), the underlying hardware (Ethernet fabric, x86 compute, etc) provides reliable, resilient capacity, but the configuration, state and advanced features move to faster, more flexible software. The requests were for deploying NSX with Cisco infrastructure running in a standard IP-based fabric with the Nexus 9000’s in standalone mode (NX-OS Mode), as opposed to the proprietary ACI Mode. As with any IP fabric, VMware NSX works great with Nexus 9000 as the underlay. The combination of VMware NSX and Nexus 9000 in standalone mode enables the benefits customers have chosen to embrace with the SDDC.

We had previously put out a design guide on deploying VMware NSX with Cisco UCS and Nexus 7000 to help deploy NSX in current environments. Today we are putting out a new reference design for deploying VMware NSX with Cisco UCS and Nexus 9000 infrastructure, providing an easy path to the SDDC while incorporating the latest Cisco hardware. Continue reading

VCDX-NV Interview: Ron Flax On The Importance Of Network Virtualization

Ron Flax is the Vice President of August Schell, a reseller of VMware products and IT services company that specializes in delivering services to commercial accounts and the federal government, particularly intelligence and U.S. Department of Defense. RonFlaxRon is a VCDX-NV certified network virtualization professional and a VMware vExpert. We spoke with Ron about network virtualization and the NSX career path.


The most exciting thing about network virtualization, I think, is the transformative nature of this technology. Networks have been built the same way for the last 20 to 25 years. Nothing has really changed. A lot of new features have been built, a lot of different technologies have come around networks, but the fundamental nature of how networks are built has not changed. But VMware NSX, because it’s a software-based product, has completely altered everything. It enables a much more agile approach to networks: the ability to automate the stand-up and tear-down of networks; the ability to produce firewalling literally at the virtual network interface. And because things are done at software speed, you can now make changes to the features and functions of networking products at software speed. You no longer have to deal with silicon speed. It’s very, very exciting. With a software-based approach, you can just do so much more in such a small amount of time.

What we’re hearing from customers, at this point, is that they’re very interested to learn more. They’re at a phase where they’re ready to get their hands dirty, and they really want to understand it better. What’s driving a lot of adoption today is security, it is our foot in the door. When you speak with customers about the security aspects, the micro-segmentation capabilities, you may not even have to get to a virtual network discussion. Once you get the security aspect deployed, customers will see it in action and then a few weeks later will say, ‘Hey, you know, can you show me how the new router works?’ or ‘Can you show me how other features of NSX work?’ That’s when you can start to broaden your approach. So these compelling security stories like micro-segmentation or distributed firewalling get you in and get the deployment started, but ultimately it’s the flexibility of being able to deliver networks at speed, in an agile way, through software, through automation, that’s the home run. Continue reading

VCDX-NV Interview: Chris Miller Talks VMware NSX Certification

Chris Miller is the principal architect for AdvizeX in Columbus OH. He runs the NSX program from a technical and marketing perspective, including Chris Miller-AdvizeXenterprise pre-sales support and go-to-market strategies.


I started my career as a traditional Cisco networking guy. I spent 10 to 15 years as a network architect. But I’d been tracking what was going on in the community, with Open Flow and some of the other technologies. When I saw what VMware was doing, it got me pretty excited. I thought, ’It’s pretty revolutionary what’s going on here.’ I immediately jumped on the opportunity to take part in NSX.

In terms of enterprise customers, we weren’t initially seeing a lot of adoption in the market. Then VMware announced the Nicira acquisition, and Cisco announced what they were going to do with ACI, and heads started turning. I realized, you know, here are two of our largest partners putting their investment dollars behind this technology. And then, when I saw what NSX could do, and the benefits it could bring, it was very clear to me that this was the next wave. Continue reading

Introducing New VCE VxBlock Systems with Integrated VMware NSX

Last month, we outlined VMware’s vision for helping customers achieve one cloud for any application and any device. We believe the prevailing model for cloud adoption will be the hybrid cloud, and the best architecture for achieving the hybrid cloud is through a software-defined data center architecture. The fastest path to building reliable infrastructure for the hybrid cloud is through the use of converged infrastructure systems, and no company has been more successful at delivering on the promise of converged infrastructure than our partner VCE.

Now, the ability to procure and deploy the VMware NSX network virtualization platform with VCE converged infrastructure is about to get whole lot easier.

Today, VCE launched VCE VxBlock Systems, a new family of converged infrastructure systems that will factory-integrate VMware NSX for software-defined data center deployments. The new VxBlock Systems will include VCE pre-integration, pre-testing and pre-validation of VMware NSX, with seamless component-level updates, ongoing lifecycle assurance, and unified single-call support from VCE.

As I wrote previously, VMware NSX already runs great on existing Vblock Systems. Customers today are deploying VMware NSX with their existing Vblocks, and customers will be able to extend VMware NSX environments across their entire VCE converged infrastructure environment as they move to the new VxBlock Systems.

This solution will be a powerful building block for the software-defined data center, delivering unparalleled IT agility through automation, and unparalleled security through micro-segmentation.

Agility through IT Automation

  • Reduce time to provision multi-tier networking and security services from weeks to minutes.
  • Achieve faster development, testing and deployment of new applications by aligning network and security provisioning with compute and storage provisioning.
  • Streamline IT operations through programmatic creation, provisioning, snapshotting, deleting and restoration of complex software-based networks.
  • Build advanced workflows through cloud management platforms to automate provisioning of networking and security, including switching, routing, firewalling, and load balancing without manually reconfiguring physical network devices.

Unparalleled Security

  • Use micro-segmentation and isolation capabilities of VMware NSX to build security directly into the data center infrastructure.
  • Insert advanced partner services from leading security vendors to improve threat protection, reduce risk and help address their compliance requirements.
  • Achieve better security inside the data center through fine-grained policies that enable firewall controls and advanced security down to the level of the virtual NIC.
  • Create dynamic security policies that are automatically applied when a virtual machine spins up, are moved when a virtual machine is migrated and are removed when a virtual machine is de-provisioned

VMware NSX is the ideal platform for virtualizing the network running on top of VCE converged infrastructure.