Remember the headlines years ago, asking what would win: public cloud or private cloud? Or hybrid cloud? And everyone had different definitions for each? Of course, as it often is with technology trends, our “or” questions have “and” answers. Let’s imagine current day, where you might see one group running an application on-premises with absolutely zero plans for it to go anywhere. In a far-away land, several desks or cubes away, some savvy developers are building a new innovation – it could be a new service type, a new app, a new feature on a website – directly in AWS. A few desks further, and someone indeed may believe that AWS app belongs back on premises. Finally, in the same organization, an IT group is looking at how Microsoft Azure is offering a compelling alternative to hosting an app they’re just not interested in maintaining anymore.
This is just one example of a potential multi-cloud scenario. Each organization’s specific needs are different, yet this array of parallel cloud uses is not a foreign one to many organizations. In fact, in this year’s “State of the Cloud” report, RightScale found that organizations use five clouds on average.
At the same time, the pace of growth in malicious attacks, as well as the criticality of keeping an organization’s data protected, are each arguably higher than ever. The need for operational oversight, visibility, and control, of our apps and data is clearly there, but we don’t want it to come at the cost of the speed we gain from using the latest cloud technologies. The question then arises: how can these operational goals be achieved for the entire organization, given the proprietary technology choices between my various private and public clouds? What about when I don’t have operational control of the physical infrastructure or hypervisor, as is the case with many public cloud environments?
This is exactly the problem space NSX Cloud set out to address. We launched NSX Cloud at VMworld 2017, and since then have improved how we deliver on this vision. The result has been a powerful new multi-cloud networking model for our customers. Allow me to reintroduce you to NSX Cloud.
Re-introducing NSX Cloud
NSX Cloud delivers a new model for multi-cloud network management, providing consistent networking and security for applications running natively in the public cloud, across multiple public clouds. Together with NSX Data Center, operators get one single view of the networking services and security policies that are applied to all workloads, whether that’s a virtual machine running in the private data center as many do today, or an AWS or Azure workload they’ve added.
This news comes along with the general availability today of VMware NSX-T Data Center 2.2. Much of the progress with NSX Cloud is made thanks to our Beta program customers, who have been using NSX Cloud together with NSX Data Center as a single solution to manage networking and security across their private data centers and public cloud workloads, which now includes Microsoft Azure. NSX-T Data Center 2.2 isn’t only enabling NSX Cloud – to learn what else, check out this GA release recap blog from Andrew Voltmer which was also posted today.
So how does it all work? We’ll certainly be following up with some technical deep-dive blogs to go through the architecture, but as a starting point, NSX Cloud uses the technology you have running in your data center with NSX Data Center and extends it to native public cloud endpoints.
Consistent Security Across Clouds
NSX Cloud allows you to drop in public cloud endpoints (e.g. AWS, Azure) into your NSX Data Center inventory. By doing this, policies that are written in the distributed firewall – based on your tags, network ports, application context, etc. – now apply to these endpoints.
Single set of policies for endpoints in multiple clouds
Precise Control over Cloud Networking
NSX Cloud complements the native services available from the public cloud providers, so you can continue using the public cloud provider’s infrastructure and application services for workloads without limitation (e.g., AWS ELB / Azure Load Balancer, AWS Route53 / Azure DNS, AWS Direct Connect / Azure ExpressRoute, and Amazon RDS / Azure Database) and giving IT precise control over cloud networking topologies, traffic flows, IP addressing, and protocols used within and across multiple public clouds. Operators can now provision consistent application stacks or services – including networking and security – across multiple clouds.
End-to-end visibility and operational control
NSX Cloud provides standard interfaces and protocols to access the network data you need from your cloud networks. Flow, packet, and event information is available via IPFIX, Traceflow, Port Mirroring, and Syslog. This data can be consumed by your existing Day 2 operations tools, and used to enable deep, end-to-end visibility for monitoring, troubleshooting and auditing or automated via REST API requests using your existing automation tools.
Single view for cloud admins
How does this all come together? At Dell Technologies World, our CEO Pat Gelsinger introduced VMware’s vision for networking, the Virtual Cloud Network. Today, with the updated release of NSX Cloud, and the release of NSX-T Data Center 2.2, we’re taking concrete steps in realizing that vision.
Can I see it in action?
Just last week Nicholas Furman from the VMware NSX product team posted a suite of 5 demos showing how VMware’s networking portfolio comes together to enable a Virtual Cloud Network, including a demo on NSX Cloud.