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With great pleasure, I’m excited to showcase a few of the technical highlights that are in the new vRealize Network Insight version 5.2 and have also rolled up into the vRealize Network Insight Cloud service. As per usual with vRealize Network Insight, there are a ton of new features in this quarterly release, and I’ll go through the main elements in this post.

Flow-Based Application Discovery using Machine Learning

Application Discovery is a feature that vRealize Network Insight has been a significant pillar for a while now. You can use it to determine the application boundaries that are hosted in the data center, using a combination of metadata points of VMs, Physical servers, or Kubernetes services. This metadata can consist of a naming convention, workload tags, security tags or tags, or application documentation in a ServiceNow CMDB.

We’ve found that most organizations have a combination of this metadata in place, but more than often, it can be incomplete or have different documentation standards. To fill that gap, vRealize Network Insight Cloud introduces Flow-Based Application Discovery. This is also the first time we’ve ever release a feature in vRealize Network Insight Cloud before it is released in the on-premises version.

In short, Flow-Based Application Discovery uses Machine Learning algorithms to determine application boundaries by doing connected components & outlier detection, and clustering of the VMs that exhibit related network flow behavior.

The only requirement to generate a list of discovered applications on VMs is to have network flows coming in for a period of time (i.e., one week to get a good view). You can scope the discovery to single out a specific vSphere Cluster, or vCenter, AWS or Azure account, and more. Once the discovery is running, it’ll continuously look at the incoming network flows and update the discovered applications list. That’s all there is to it!

As you can see in figure 2, the discovered applications are presented in the same way as the existing discovery methods. Already saved apps will be greyed out, and you can zoom in on the application definition to see its tiers and included VMs. The best thing about these results is that there’s a confidence level shown in relation to show how confident vRealize Network Insight is that this application is complete. If the confidence level is high, it’s almost certain that the recommended application boundary is complete. If the level is medium, there could be some sporadic network flows that make it harder to say with certainty that the application is complete. In that case, you at least have a starting point to see what’s running in your environment.

VMware NSX-T Integrations

Besides supporting NSX-T 3.0, vRealize Network Insight 5.2 also brings a ton of new NSX-T dashboards and detailed information. There are new dashboards for the NSX-T Transport Nodes, both Edge and Host TNs. Vital information around the Transport Node, including the VMs and application that Transport Nodes hosts, is presented along with the node health (CPU, memory, uptime) and useful network stats around its network traffic.

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In figure 3 above, you will notice the enhancements made to the NSX-T Transport Node dashboard. As you can see, the new dashboard now displays a new Transport Node Summary overview along with detailed stats for the PNIC, TEP, and System Metrics. The new dashboard also displays detailed Interface metrics, which include TX and RX Packets, TX and RX Dropped Packets, TX, and RX throughput along with parameters for TX and RX Received and Framing errors as seen in figure 4 below. A screenshot of a video game Description automatically generated

Both the Host Transport and Edge Transport Node also now show detailed metrics for System Load, System Usage, and File System Usage, as seen below in figure 5.

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The Edge Transport Node dashboard also includes detailed NAT Metrics, including Top NAT Rules by Bytes, Packets, and Session Count, as seen below in figure 6.

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Visibility for VMware Cloud on AWS Direct Connect

So far, vRealize Network Insight has brought network & security visibility to the VMware Cloud on AWS SDDCs, visualizing network flows, security policies, VM inventory, any configuration or operational issues, and more. You could already troubleshoot connectivity between a VMC on AWS SDDC, and you’re on-premises environment by drawing the network topology path between the two and highlighting any issues on it – provided the networks were connected VPN. As more organizations move to use AWS Direct Connect as the connectivity medium, this release sees added support to catalog Direct Connect path topology, but you can also monitor the Direct Connects operational status.

You can get a clear insight into the status of the BGP relation between the AWS routers and the colocation routers that are directly attached, all the way to your on-premises data center. The BGP status will be shown (and alerts will be sent out when BGP goes down), along with the health of the BGP subnet announcements.

Visibility Enhancements for VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud

In vRealize Network Insight 5.0, we added support for VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud, and in the 5.1 release, we introduced the Pre-SD-WAN Assessment, which both have been a big hit with our customers. In vRealize Network Insight 5.2, we continued the momentum by adding new dashboards and metrics. When it comes to ISP Link’s connected to your SD-WAN Edge, it’s essential to have detailed stats on how the link is performing. It is also crucial to have visibility into how each Application traversing those links are performing. In vRealize Network Insight 5.2, you will now find detailed metrics such as Bytes, Packets, Retransmitted Packets, and Replicated Packets for each link and interface on a per-application basis as seen in figure 9 & 10 below.

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Also new in vRealize Network Insight 5.2, you will find SD-WAN Overlay Tunnel visibility from Edge to VeloCloud Gateway, Edge to Hub, and Edge to Edge. For each Tunnel, you will see detailed metrics which include TX/RX Bytes, TX/RX Packets, Packet Loss Downstream/Upstream, Jitter, and Latency, as seen in figure 11 below.

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One last feature you will notice in the vRNI 5.2 SD-WAN Dashboard is the overview of what SD-WAN Business Policies are consumed on each SD-WAN Edge. More importantly, you can see the flows associated with each policy with detailed traffic metrics.

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Integration with vRealize Operations Manager

Last but not least, we will take a look at a highly requested feature, which is vRealize Network Insight Integration with vRealize Operations Manager. This new Management Pack for vROps will allow you to see vRNI alerts in vROps as seen below in figure 15.

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Upon viewing an event in vROps, you will have the option to launch into vRealize Network Insight to troubleshoot the event further. With SSO integration between vRNI and vROps, it’s a smooth transition into vRealize Network Insight. Below is an example of an event that vRNI sent to vROps regarding an OSPF routing issue on an NSX Edge. From here, you can choose to open the NSX Edge in vRealize Network Insight.

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This new integration is excellent to have when monitoring the Network Component Health in your VCF or VMC environments or any other NSX deployment.

All of these impressive new feature vRealize Network Insight 5.2 and vRealize Network Insight Cloud release will give users more end-to-end visibility. With the improved dashboards and visibility, users will be enabled to better scale as their business needs dictate. With all of these new features in vRealize Network Insight 5.2, it will improve recommendations to optimize and make a tremendous impact for users of VMware vRealize Network Insight. You can take advantage of all these great new features today by upgrading to VMware vRealize Network Insight 5.2 or a trial VMware vRealize Network Insight Cloud.