By Kevin Lees and Devyani Pisolkar, authors of the ‘Operationalizing VMware NSX’ guide
Virtualized networking and security may appear to be a standard feature of today’s modern data center, but it wasn’t so long ago — what, seven years? — that network virtualization was a new concept, largely introduced and propelled by VMware. How time flies. Today, across industries, network virtualization, in the form of VMware NSX, is the go-to choice for delivery of software-based network and security services. Nowadays we spend less time discussing the novelty of the architecture and more time talking about how to maximize the value of NSX by fully operationalizing the platform to make it a critical driver in your digital transformation.
VMware NSX is utterly unlike legacy networking
VMware NSX delivers networking and security services entirely in software. That enables organizations to move myriad operational tasks into the software layer, but to leverage it fully requires a top-to-bottom rethink of network operation itself. Under NSX, the old paradigm of the network as a hardware silo is gone; instead, the virtualized NSX network is an integral component in the software-defined data center.
Which brings us to the key point: in order to fully realize network virtualization’s potential gains in agility and time to value, IT leaders must think beyond just Day 2 operations to something more: consistently delivering value to the business at the speed it requires. And that means seamlessly integrating NSX network and security services within a larger plan for digital transformation.
Now’s the time to visualize your transformation
At VMware, we’ve had quite a bit of experience working with customers to help them evolve their IT — and we would stress that this process should be evolutionary, not revolutionary. Along the way we’ve found that the journey is best visualized across three key dimensions: people, processes, and tools. Within each dimension, the move to fully operationalizing NSX produces dramatic but welcome change on the path to digital transformation.
- People. You’ll need your IT personnel to expand their thinking, to move from siloed, specialized units (the old plan-build-run organizational structure) to blended, cross-functional teams with cross-domain roles that include both networking and security. These new, collaborative teams will leverage architectural, engineering, and operations capabilities to capitalize on a cloud-based environment that drives agility and execution speed.
- Processes. You’ll be looking to transform formerly manual (and thus inconsistent and error-prone) tasks into fast, agile, and standardized management processes that harness the power of automation. Leaving behind the break/fix mentality that has constrained so many enterprises, you’ll move to intelligent operations that are organized from the perspective of services and applications, with proactive monitoring of your entire stack for performance and availability.
- Tooling. You’ll move away from domain-specific, hardware-focused tools to a wide variety of converged, correlated solutions that provide proactive monitoring and effective troubleshooting — and thus save you time and money. Among these are NSX native tools, tools from vSphere and other VMware products, as well as integrated tools from the VMware partner ecosystem.
There’s much more to say about each of these elements in your digital transformation. Truly operationalizing NSX makes a soup-to-nuts streamlining of IT unavoidable — but that change offers the potential for immense business value creation.
Download the new edition of the Operationalizing VMware NSX guide
Needless to say, this kind of transformation doesn’t happen overnight. In order to guide key stakeholders in this process, we’ve put together a new edition of our introductory guide, entitled Operationalizing VMware NSX. This updated edition not only addresses operationalizing NSX in the context of the capabilities present in the latest product releases of NSX-T but also incorporates customer feedback from the original version, along with VMware’s direct experience working with customers over the last couple of years. Whether you’re an organization-level decision-maker, a manager responsible for operational processes, or an engineer responsible for optimizing tooling, this guide will help you to get the most out of VMware NSX.