Introduction to The Virtual Cloud Network
Welcome to Summer 2018! It’s been nearly one month now since our CEO Pat Gelsinger announced the Virtual Cloud Network vision at Dell Technologies world in Las Vegas. VMware has now delivered to the market what many of you have heard for quite some time now as “the vision” for networking and security, whereas NSX has become an integral part of many various parts of your business.
Enter stage left, the Virtual Cloud Network. The Virtual Cloud Network builds upon the fundamentals you’re already familiar with from NSX—these include (but are not limited to) integrated security, consistent connectivity, and inherit automation, but really focuses on tying together an end-to-end architecture that allows our customers to deliver applications and services everywhere. Our customers have asked and we have listened… the demand for any infrastructure, any cloud, any transport, any device, and any application has drastically changed the landscape and technologies associated with building/architecting and having a modern enterprise network.
We’ve been quite busy over the past month with lots of interest coming from partners and customers wondering what this really means. Today, the wait is finally over, you no longer have to wonder. I’m going to show you exactly what this means and how your business can benefit from looking at this new approach to networking completely driven by software! Many of the launch materials and links previous in this post cover the multitude of software products that fall under the Virtual Cloud Network umbrella, but for the purposes of showing you how all this works, we’re going for focus on four main parts of the Virtual Cloud Network launch:
- NSX Data Center: our industry-leading networking virtualization solution, that provides the best end-to-end consistent platform for data center networking
- NSX SD-WAN by VeloCloud: our best in class SD-WAN solution for branch/cloud connectivity. This solution has been driving some of the biggest transformations in networking today
- NSX Cloud: extends the Data Center network into the Public Cloud and provides consistent networking and security for applications running in multiple private and public clouds. Micro-segmentation security policy is defined once and applied to application workloads running anywhere… in cloud virtual networks, regions, availability zones, and across multiple clouds. More details on this offering are coming very soon, so stay tuned!
- NSX Hybrid Connect: Delivering application and network hybridity and mobility from Data Center to Data Center, Data Center to Cloud, and Cloud to Cloud
Before we take a look at and expand upon the demo resources for each of the above topics, let me start off by letting the cat out of the bag. We have built and recently released a Virtual Cloud Network demo website and it is available to anyone at any time to experience and learn from these resources. Just point your browser to www.vcndemo.com and you’ll be ready to roll. The demo site includes one condensed Virtual Cloud Network demo (which includes a subset of all the other five demos) and five in-depth demos on each one of the technologies/integrations.
Check the site out and let us know what you think! Now, let’s get into some demo fun. Below we will take a look at an end to end example of how the Virtual Cloud Network impacts many areas starting from end-user at the branch, from the branch into the data center, from data center to cloud, including an example of how easy it is to migrate from an on-premises data center to the cloud.
In this demo, we examine how NSX Data Center + Airwatch can be configured to secure endpoints (in the demo example, it’s an iPad) and how NSX SD-WAN can be used to enhance end-user experience when network connectivity issues arise on the data connections between the end-users branch location and the main data center site.
In this demo, we examine how NSX Data Center and NSX SD-WAN by Velocloud can be leveraged to build and provide end to end segmentation from the branch to the data center.
In this demo, we examine how NSX Data Center can provide consistent networking and security across various types of endpoints. The application used in the demo leverages containers deployed in both PCF and PKS as well as part of the application residing on traditional VMs.
In this demo, we examine how the network and security policy from NSX Data Center can extend and protect native workloads running in Azure/AWS. The application used in demo #3 is simply expanded upon, where we replace the container-based flask web frontend with some VMs in Azure to serve as the application’s web front end.
In this demo, we examine how simple it is to migrate a workload from your on-prem SDDC (which may or may not have NSX) to VMC on AWS (where the workload gets protected by NSX by default).
Last (but certainly not least), if you’re interested in hearing this entire story tied together as one, our friends at Networking Field Day recorded a video of the session we gave in Vegas at the Virtual Cloud Network launch. (Spoiler alert, yes that’s me driving the demo—thanks to the delegates for the questions.) The Networking Field Day Exclusive with VMware video, including the demo portion, is available here:
The Virtual Cloud Network Summary
Traditional enterprise networks were built by connecting physical devices (PCs, servers, switches, routers, etc.) to one another. Once the network was established, typically speaking security solutions were added into the mix at the end. The emergence of software-driven networks has challenged these “traditional” norms. Today, with the advancement of software-defined networking, businesses that want to modernize their network with software open up a new set of possibilities to drive business innovation. Virtual networks run more efficiently and lower operational costs by automating network infrastructure functions such as maintenance, patching, and updating. They also increase uptime, improve service, and reduce costs—enabling organizations to maximize the value of their existing network hardware while creating new innovation and business opportunities.
The majority of enterprises we speak with are already using, or plan to use, multiple clouds to run their business. Today, everything of value is connecting to the network and new customer experiences are delivered through the cloud. Users connect not only through their desktops and laptops, but there has been a tremendous uptick in mobile endpoints. Applications run everywhere across a company’s infrastructure; however, many companies don’t have a clear understanding about the security and connectivity of their applications and devices across the data center, branch, cloud, and edge. These emerging technology trends increase the complexity of enterprise security and challenge the limitations of hardware-driven networks. Networking in software creates a business fabric that securely and consistently connects a company’s data centers, carrier networks, branches, endpoints, and clouds… and it’s all done independently of the underlying network hardware. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the #virtualcloudnetwork