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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.

And as the capstone, we get to debut VMware NSX 6.2 at the show. So let’s take a deeper look at what we’ve learned from our customers and what’s new with the product.

NSX Customer Adoption Patterns Become Clear

As we’ve talked to customers about their experiences with NSX, we have seen some very interesting patterns emerge in terms of the business objectives they look to achieve:

  • Automating IT – Customers want to achieve faster time to market, improve overall security and ensure the highest levels of availability and update for their organization. Time to market can range from onboarding new customers faster to enabling developers to build and test applications faster. This is all achieved through the ability of IT to automate traditionally manual IT processes.
  • Improve Security – we’ve reached that critical stage where corporate boardrooms heads of state are having turn their eyes to cyber security simply based on the sheer risk posed to their profits, their reputation or their citizens. And as IT teams have delved into the challenges of IT security, they have quickly realized that the challenge is not having ineffective products, but rather having an architecture that does not address the porous security inside the data center.
  • Ensure Availability and Uptime – our customers want use capacity across data centers, recover from disasters more quickly and increasingly and take advantage of the economics and agility of implementing a hybrid cloud model.

These priorities match up really well with the NSX value proposition.  With NSX, we’re able to provide customers an inherently secure infrastructure at a third of the cost of traditional approaches.  We’re able to help customers use automation to help IT move at the speed of the business by reducing infrastructure provisioning times from months to minutes.  With NSX we’re able to help customers improve application continuity and reduce recovery time objectives by 80 percent.

Lessons Learned Lead to VMware NSX 6.2

We’ve taken the learnings and input from all of our customer engagements, from hundreds of POCs and production deployments, from our reseller partners and from professional services organization, and cranked out what amounts to a very significant release with VMware NSX 6.2. The latest release has more than 20 new features. What’s even more important is that we’ve now run NSX against more than 1,000 different test scenarios that makes this the most production-ready NSX release ever.

The advancements to NSX fall into three distinct buckets:

  • More Control Within and Across Data Centers – VMware NSX 6.2 adds better support for application continuity and disaster recovery use cases through support for cross vCenter vMotion over VXLAN with routing and security. Administrators can now migrate across vCenter Server systems seamlessly without losing historical data about the virtual machine. VMware NSX 6.2 enables customers to scale out vSphere environments within a single data center and across data centers by moving the entire networking and security model with the VM, without any requirement to change underlying physical infrastructure.
  • Deeper Integration into Physical Infrastructure – VMware NSX 6.2 adds Open vSwitch Database (OVSDB) support to NSX networking in vSphere environments, enabling simplified and consistent operations for the entire data center network and the extension of micro-segmentation to physical servers. Support for OVSDB enables integration with hardware switching partners and advanced load balancing solutions through a standards-based mechanism, making it even easier to deploy network virtualization in data centers
  • Advancements in Operations and Trouble Shooting – We have a number of new features and I’ll touch on two here. Traceflow lets you synthetically create a packet that looks exactly like it came from a guest VM and inject it into the data path. Traceflow then traces its handling all the way through the forwarding pipeline (switching, routing, firewalling, service insertion), across the physical network, and through the forwarding pipeline again before it’s intercepted just prior to delivery to the remote VM. Every step in the packet’s life is examined, in a manner that is unparalleled in the physical world. The NSX central CLI is a powerful new troubleshooting tool which gives you the ability to capture the shared state run-time information from all the distributed components in the system and present it from one single interface. Unlike traditional scenarios where one has to hop from device to device to collect information and manually correlate the data to build a complete picture for troubleshooting a network; one can now have a single consistent view of information.

We have much more to share you about partner ecosystem development as well. Read our blog, “VMware NSX: It’s About The Platform.” You will also be hearing more from us on the incredible value the NSX platform brings to customers in the area of distributed services so watch this space for more to come on that topic.

Chris