Jason Nash is CTO of Varrow, a VMware Partner based out of the Carolinas. Previous to Varrow he was an enterprise architect for Wachovia’s investment bank. Jason has been in enterprise IT almost 20 years and originally started as a network admin working with Cisco gear. He maintains his Cisco CCNA and CCNP certifications. He is one of only a handful of double VCDX professionals, having completed his VCDX-NV last year.
When did you first start looking at network virtualization?
I started looking at network virtualization three to four years ago. I think before that, when it was just purely Nicira and some of those types of companies and projects, network virtualization was really the domain of the PayPals, the eBays, the Googles. Those types of companies. When VMware acquired Nicira, when Cisco did their Insieme spin-in, we started to see that commercial and traditional enterprise customers were going to have some very good options around network virtualization. We started to weigh our options and we really started to get serious about it over the last 18 months. Network virtualization ramps up right alongside our automation or orchestration practices and projects. So we believe that to do those properly, you need network virtualization. You need to be able to automate the network pieces and we couldn’t do that using the traditional means and the manual processes that it took. So we would’ve liked to have had these options a couple of years ago, but we feel that products in the true enterprise commercial space weren’t viable until really over the last year.
What excites you about network virtualization?
Until recently, networking in a virtual world has really been about, “How do we create a bridge and just get virtual machines and or hypervisor hosts onto a network? How do we do that as best we can?” There wasn’t any intelligence there. There wasn’t any true integration. It was just simply, “How do we get these two things to talk?” Network virtualization solves this. Then I am excited to be able to do things in a more automated fashion, to commoditize a lot of the underlying hardware across any layer of the SDDC, to give more intelligence to applications owners, to the data center architects, and to be able to give them the tools to go above and beyond what they’ve previously been able to do.
I’m a big proponent of the discussion point around the fact that we can spin up virtual machines in a matter of minutes, but it still takes weeks or a month or more to do things on the network side and security side: firewall rules, load balancer, malware protection, all that stuff. Now we can slipstream this in and cut that down to two minutes as well. So we’re getting this true integrated networking all the way through, up into the application, along with the ability to do things in a much more scalable fashion. So instead of putting firewalls in a rack in one part of the data center, we’re now able to deliver network services very, very close to the applications themselves. It reduces complexity, it reduces traffic going back and forth across the data center, and it allows us to get more elegant in how we do our designs, so we’re not having to shoehorn and do these weird type of traffic flows or configurations just to make sure that we’re doing security like we want to do. Security is the number one driver for network virtualization for us right now. It’s definitely the driver for NSX. Almost all of my customer briefings around NSX are driven for requirements for security. Continue reading