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Has it already been three months since 5.0? It has! Continuing the momentum of vRealize Network Insight 5.0, version 5.1 has a couple of big items that we’ve released today. Join me in a walkthrough of the most anticipated features.

Dark Mode

I would be in remiss if I didn’t start with the most obvious one. vRealize Network Insight 5.1 now has a stunning dark mode. Very easy on the eyes, with hypnotizing color schemes:

Dark mode will be on by default from v5.1 and up, but you can decide to put it back to light mode. It’s a per-user setting.

Pre-SD-WAN Assessment Report

This is the biggest thing in this release. Just as we’ve done with the VMware NSX Virtual Network Assessment (VNA), vRealize Network Insight can now assess WAN environments and report on network traffic behavior and calculate a Return on Investment (ROI) when the WAN moves to SD-WAN by VeloCloud.

Based on the network traffic coming from the monitored branches, this assessment report will calculate the savings on uplinks (expensive MPLS links vs. internet links) and savings based on the VeloCloud router devices, compared to other branch router devices. The outcome of this report will be your business case for moving towards SD-WAN!

This report is fully evidence-based; the different types of traffic, like MPLS, internet, cloud/SaaS, low- and high-priority traffic, are shown dynamically. Used applications are discovered and categorized. It works by adding a percentage of the branch routers to vRealize Network Insight as a data source, upon which it will look up configuration data. The data is completed by having these branch routers exporting network flows to vRealize Network Insight, which also provides the configuration needed in a template. All this data is shown in the current (pre-SD-WAN) state, and there is also a post-SD-WAN state calculated.

This post-SD-WAN state does a simulation of the network traffic when using SD-WAN, and all its benefits. Low priority MPLS traffic is moved to the internet links (and use the SD-WAN overlay). Cloud and SaaS traffic is offloaded to the VeloCloud Cloud Gateways. MPLS links are scaled down. All the VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud optimizations are taken into account. To get the numbers right, you can fill out your own average cost of MPLS and internet lines. All these calculations can be exported as a PDF, with real dollar values on what your organization will save when it moves to SD-WAN by VeloCloud.

Application Discovery

Ever since vRealize Network Insight 4.1, it has had agent-less application discovery based on metadata of the infrastructure it’s monitoring. Customers use application discovery to form applications based on a workload naming convention, vSphere, AWS, or Azure tags, or pull the application constructs from the ServiceNow CMDB. Today, we’ve added an Advanced discovery method, which allows you to use a combination of a naming convention and tags.

Do you have the application name inside the workload name, but the tier inside a tag? No problem! You can mix and match the right discovery method for your infrastructure. One of the other most requested discovery methods is to base it off Security Tags or Security Groups. These have been added as well.

Application Troubleshooting Dashboard

There have been a few changes to the application dashboard, but most notably is the ability to see degraded flows directly. Inside the filter on the application topology, Degraded Flows is now an option to select. When selecting this filter, only flows that have been degraded over the last 24 hours will be displayed. Degraded flows are defined by a latency spike of either 100% of its normal baseline, or a jump of 10 millisecond.

Other notable changes on the application dashboard is the summary widget, which displays relevant information of the last 24 hours of the application you’re troubleshooting, including the make-up of this application: does it exist of VMs, physical servers, and/or Kubernetes Services.

NSX-T Manager Topology

NSX-T is the next generation of VMware NSX, and it can support network virtualization for a lot of platforms, such as vCenter, ESXi hosts, VMware PKS, OpenShift, and vanilla Kubernetes. All of these components are now displayed on the NSX-T Manager dashboard, in a beautifully displayed topology view.

In the above screenshot, only an PKS instance with some ESXi hosts is attached to this NSX-T Manager. If the NSX-T Manager is used for more purposes, it will automatically scale out the topology to reflect that. The different components of NSX-T, such as the Tier 0 & 1 routers, Segments, and Security configuration, including their health, is all present in this topology for quick access to the health of your environment.

Kubernetes Service Dashboard

Containers managed by Kubernetes have been a first-class citizen inside vRealize Network Insight for a while, but it just got better. Customers have come back with that Kubernetes Services are the most significant focal point for network troubleshooting and monitoring, and version 5.1 has a new dashboard that centers around the Kubernetes Services.

There’s a beautifully clear service topology widget, which has the management and networking components that are a part of the service, history on the service scale, network flows, events coming from the service, and networking metrics. Any and all networking information that you could possibly use to troubleshoot a Kubernetes Service.

vRealize Network Insight now also ingests the Kubernetes events and correlates them to the Kubernetes objects. Events like node scheduling failures, container creation failures, all the way down to free disk space monitoring, will be logged. 5.1 brings in 63 new Kubernetes events.

Worth mentioning

As usual, there are too many new features to deep dive in all of them, but here are a few others that I thought were worth mentioning:

  • VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC objects now have a dashboard outlining their current status & configuration, changes in the last 24 hours, network flows, firewall rule hits, related events, and top talkers.
  • Events will now be raised when a VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC is close to its limits (for number of VMs and Hosts)
  • Support for VMware Cloud on AWS Edge firewall rules. Edge rules will now be correlated to network flows, applications, and be visible throughout the
  • Added SD-WAN Threshold Analytics to generate events when traffic patterns deviate from past behavior, or when traffic crosses a static threshold.
  • Support for paths over an Arista Hardware VTEP (L2 bridge).
  • Support for NAT translation over physical FortiGate firewalls.
  • Support for NSX-T BGP monitoring, presenting information on the router dashboard and generating events for BGP state changes.

Check out the full release notes here. The download bits can be found here.