Modern applications have grown more dynamic and distributed in recent years, running on multiple clouds and taking advantage of containers, virtual machines and bare-metal servers to deliver agile performance. VMware introduced VMware NSX-T™ Data Center to address the unique challenges of the modern networking environments behind these applications, providing enhanced security, visibility and operability even when compared to VMware NSX® Data Center for vSphere®.
Many customers are now choosing to migrate from NSX Data Center for vSphere to NSX-T. Because every customer environment is unique, the migration process often involves multiple manual steps that can extend the migration time frame, even for expert partners. That’s where ReSTNSX comes in. Using the power of flexible APIs, the ReSTNSX platform delivers automation that not only makes migration much faster and easier, it also improves management, reporting and overall ease of use for any NSX Data Center for vSphere or NSX-T environment.
“ReSTNSX is a partner with deep connections to VMware,” explains John Lens, vice president, sales network security and cloud management at VMware. “The ReSTNSX team worked in the field at VMware, giving them incredible insight into what customers need. The result is ReSTNSX and the Migration Assistance Tool, which removes many barriers for migration and helps customers find new value with NSX-T.”
Lessons from the field
DJ Antinucci was an account executive for NSX at VMware when he and another former NSX colleague, Jami Bailey, started to notice common issues for customers migrating to NSX-T.
“NSX-T was gaining a lot of momentum, but with that growth came gaps in service,” says Antinucci. “There are so many flexible API services available for customers in NSX-T, but leveraging those services can be a complex process that involves developing custom scripts. Some of us working in the field started to wonder if there wasn’t another way to reach a wide variety of customer needs at scale.”
While NSX-T and NSX Data Center for vSphere are similar in many ways, there are some key differences that can complicate migrations. NSX-T has many features and configuration options that don’t exist in NSX Data Center for vSphere, which results in the need for manual translation or custom scripting. Elements such as objects and firewall rules must be converted for NSX-T as well. Beyond these types of technical differences, many customers also worried about the operational changes that come with migrating to NSX-T.
To form ReSTNSX, Antinucci joined forces with Bailey, the company’s director of product management, and Will Tyler, head of development. Customers can use ReSTNSX solutions throughout the NSX lifecycle—from managing NSX Data Center for vSphere environments, to migrating to NSX-T, to managing the new NSX-T deployment. The flagship ReSTNSX platform wraps a graphical interface around NSX APIs for a simple, quick and flexible management interface that can be used for any version of NSX. The Migration Assistance Tool (MAT) streamlines and automates migration from NSX Data Center for vSphere to NSX-T.
“The philosophy behind our ReSTNSX and MAT solutions is that we’re not just working with customers during migration,” says Antinucci. “We’re looking at the entire NSX lifecycle. We provide consistency and automation that customers can use before, during and after migration. Our goal is to provide huge value to partners, sales teams and, of course, customers by making it easier for more customers to make the leap to NSX-T.”
Using automation to reduce migration time up to 80 percent:
ReSTNSX recommends using MAT as part of a four-step process for successful migrations:
During pre-migration, the customer or partner uses tools such as the ReSTNSX platform to assess and help optimize NSX Data Center for vSphere prior to any migration.
“For us, assessment is one of the most important steps in migration,” says Antinucci. “Objects and firewalls can become unused and stale over time. Converting and migrating stale elements can reduce migration efficiency dramatically, so assessing and optimizing the environment is a critical first step for customers who want to reduce the time and cost of migration.”
After pre-migration has been completed, the customer is ready to move on to migration. MAT helps to automate this process for more consistent migrations. First, MAT uses the assessment information to help validate the NSX Data Center for vSphere and NSX-T environments. Then, MAT collects all of the
NSX Data Center for vSphere data, including source objects, configurations, security details and network virtualization information. After analyzing, MAT determines how to transform the NSX Data Center for vSphere data into NSX-T compatible objects and presents the user with recommendations. MAT provides a full summary and recommendation for the NSX-T migration.
Once the customer approves the recommendation, migration is as simple as a click of a mouse. All transformations (recommendations) are carried out automatically. A MAT-based migration is non-disruptive with no changes made to the NSX Data Center for vSphere environment. After migration is complete, MAT automatically generates documentation that the company or partner can use to validate the design. If the migration does not meet expectations, the customer can roll back as easily as they migrated—with just one click.
“Migration usually involves a lot of legwork and manual processes,” says Antinucci. “By automating the manual processes throughout the migration lifecycle, including data collection, documentation and object conversion, our MAT tool can reduce the time and complexity of NSX Data Center for vSphere to NSX-T migration by up to 80 percent.”
Giving customers and partners confidence in migration
ReSTNSX works directly with customers, as well as through partners and consultants who use ReSTNSX and MAT as a key tool to support migration services. One such partner is 27 Virtual. As a professional services company and VMware NSX partner, 27 Virtual uses ReSTNSX during its pre-migration assessment to quickly collect all data related to a customer’s environment, including production data, inventory and firewall rules, and then exports it to a file. Engineers can then take that file to a lab and use MAT to test migrations using actual customer data. This allows 27 Virtual to provide customers with a very persuasive and tested migration plan that helps ease any concerns around migration.
“Each NSX Data Center for vSphere to NSX-T migration is unique because there is no cookie-cutter approach that will lead to a successful platform shift,” explains Andrew Grismore, architect, 27 Virtual. “The complexity of each deployment increases as more universal objects, firewall rules and edge services are included. ReSTNSX gives us the confidence to go into each customer environment knowing that no detail will be missed because the MAT tool leaves no stone unturned. ReSTNSX helps with discovery, deployment and monitoring while giving the ability to roll back at any time. If we can reduce risk, be more thorough and complete a project more efficiently, it is a no-brainer to make ReSTNSX a part of our NSX Data Center for vSphere to NSX-T service offering.”
Another partner, Iron Bow, developed a solution called IronTarget that combines Iron Bow expertise with ReSTNSX solutions to support NSX migrations and deployments. By incorporating ReSTNSX and MAT into the IronTarget offering, Iron Bow provides customers with a unified user experience for NSX Data Center for vSphere and NSX-T and very simple pointand-click migrations. “The Iron Bow and ReSTNSX partnership delivers features that address specific customer concerns about their NSX-T migration and adoption,” says Troy Massey, director of enterprise engagement at Iron Bow Technologies.
ReSTNSX further improves the migration experience for customers through features that improve operations and minimize downtime. With many-to-one support, MAT allows customers to consolidate up to 12 NSX Data Center for vSphere Managers into a single NSX-T Manager. One customer wanted to separate NSX Data Center for vSphere Managers according to security domain and operating team. As a result, the environment soon ballooned to 77 NSX Managers. ReSTNSX helped migrate the company to NSX-T while consolidating onto just a dozen NSX-T Managers. This helped the company simplify operations, reduce costs and improve scalability for the new NSX-T environment.
Migration itself is highly flexible, with selective migration and simple roll back support to meet any customer’s needs. “We worked with a managed services provider that valued low downtime above all else,” says Antinucci. “ReSTNSX has unique migration capabilities that allow the customer to run environments at the same time, migrate cluster by cluster, and quickly roll back when needed. The result is migrations that are truly at the customer’s own pace.”
With its strong connection to VMware, ReSTNSX understands the complexity and benefits of migrating to NSX-T.
“Our goal, in one word, is ‘ease’,” says Antinucci. “We want to make working with NSX as easy as possible for all customers. NSX-T has fantastic functionality, and by wrapping all of the processes in easy buttons, we break down barriers and make it easier for more companies to take advantage of all that NSX-T offers.”
Learn more on how to migrate to VMware NSX-T.