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VMware NSX Insights From an Expert, Part 2

Hatem NaguibLast week we shared the first part of an interview with Hatem Naguib, VMware Vice President, Network and Security, where we asked him to share his insight on VMware NSX, the tangible business benefits it makes possible, and the advantages it offers VMware customers. Here is the rest of that fascinating interview. 

Talk about VMware NSX and OpenStack

Everything within VMware NSX is API driven. You can automate the provisioning, control and creation of network services and topologies through cloud management systems. OpenStack is certainly one option. VMware Integrated OpenStack can talk directly to VMware NSX to create network topologies. Traditional OpenStack in the market has a Neutron plug-in. This is culled from the OpenStack UI to gain access to network and security services. When VMware acquired Nicira, we became a dominant contributor to the Neutron plug-in, and we continue to support it as a core component of VMware NSX. Many customers have used vCloud Director in the past and are using vRealize Automation going forward as a great tool for defining a set of services and a service catalog. They can then use blueprints and templates to provision those services. Underneath that, it is culling VMware NSX to provide topologies, security groups and load balancing features used by vRealize Automation in those provisioning scenarios.

One of the benefits described for VMware NSX is that it helps customers realize the full potential of the Software-Defined Data Center. What does this really mean for our customers?

Customers want to move to a Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) because they recognize this is the right way to build cloud, the fastest way to provision and manage infrastructure – and also the most cost-effective. From a VMware perspective, this is part and parcel to everything we deliver for our solutions – from vSphere to the management solutions, to how we deliver end-user computing to how we deliver EVO:RACK. A core component and what makes the SDDC real for our customers is not simply the provisioning of the compute resources – not just getting the desktop virtualized – it’s actually having all the connective tissue associated with it. This is what VMware NSX delivers. It brings the SDDC to life for the workloads customers have in their environments.

How does VMware NSX help customers solve some of the common problems within the data center?

We hear from a lot of customers that they can get a virtual machine up and running within seconds, but only when they need to add a set of services to the virtual machine, such as provisioning a VLAN, adding a firewall rule or updating a load balancer topology. Customers are now demanding the ability to both provision and make these services available instantaneously. VMware NSX makes it possible to deliver these services at cloud speed. Another great example is when customers are expanding the data center and want to add compute or physical resources relatively easily to the environment. If everything is tied to the hardware, it is a large configuration process to add a new rack of servers to the infrastructure, for example. With VMware NSX, all of the logic required for the workload is actually sitting in software. This radically simplifies the ability to add one rack—or even multiple racks—to the data center. Customers can flip a switch and gain immediate access to resources correlated to the environment. This is very helpful for customers who want to grow or shrink their environment.

Where do you see VMware NSX going in the future?

We continue to evolve the VMware NSX platform to map very closely to the transformation that is happening with our customers and to support how they are managing their data centers. We are deeply integrated in three specific areas. The first two being virtualized infrastructure and hybrid cloud services. The third is security, and I’m seeing a big transformation in this area. Customers are shifting their perspective from asking, “How do we manage the boundaries of the data center?” to “How do we implement security polices inside the data center – and not make them IP or MAC address-based, but actually correlate them to the architecture within the data center?”

If I’m creating an application, I want it to have a set of security policies that are defined at the time of creation and move with the application. This is a fundamentally different way of managing security. Because VMware NSX provides a distributed service throughout the entire infrastructure, we can provide security everywhere within the context of the data center, and get a better understanding of what’s happening within the applications sitting on the virtual machine. This changes the dynamics of how customers are defining their security policies, and ensuring they are mapped to their business requirements.

If you could offer one piece of advice to a networking expert looking to build their career, what would you tell them?

I would advise them to seriously consider pursuing network virtualization certifications and making VMware Certified Design Expert – Network Virtualization (VCDX-NV) their goal. When I attended VMworld a couple of years ago, I spoke with a young network professional just starting their career. They were considering another certification program, but told me they realized the future of the data center is with software and this is where customers are going. They wanted to take a more VMware-centric and software-centric approach. This person recognized the future is definitely moving toward software. They wanted to be part of this future. And you don’t have to just take my word for it. Check out what many of our VCDX-NV certified professionals have to say about it.

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