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VMware's NSX networking comes of age at VMworld

VMware will add a dollop of NSX networking 'secret sauce' to many of its core products as a central piece of its strategies around virtualization, cloud computing and IoT.

LAS VEGAS -- As VMware intensifies its focus on security and enabling support for multiple clouds, VMware's NSX...

networking software continues to grow in importance and now underpins many of the company's upcoming initiatives.

At VMworld here this week, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger said NSX will serve a number of key functions to tie together multiple clouds from VMware, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and its network of business partners, as well as segment out selected capabilities of monolithic applications to share across multiple clouds.

"With microsegmentation, we can extend out NSX to serve as the connective tissue to IoT [internet of things] devices," Gelsinger told TechTarget after his keynote. "There are a ton of IoT devices out there responsible for collecting, storing and sharing critical information that are unprotected, and this is a way to provide them with more security.

"It will be the secret sauce behind all of what we do -- it is that important," he said.

Tom Hull, CTO at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., agreed with that assessment about the strategic importance of NSX networking. Moffitt is updating its disaster recovery (DR) architecture built around proprietary server hardware and software, and it has gravitated toward a software-defined networking approach, where NSX will play a key role.

Moffitt's largest use of NSX will be to gain more freedom for the center's research domain without affecting the security of its clinical information. "Instead of a monolithic DR in a remote location that gets spun up once a year and tested for audit purposes, we can bring it into our active environment, so DR looks more like business continuity," Hull said.

[NSX] will be the secret sauce behind all of what we do -- it is that important.
Pat GelsingerCEO, VMware

VMware underscored its commitment to NSX with Expanded VMware NSX to support networking and security for both clouds and cloud-native applications. The new support is intended to help NSX administrators manage and troubleshoot larger-scale NSX deployments.

The company also introduced VMware NSX Cloud, a service designed to offer more consistent networking and security for applications running in multiple private and public clouds through a single management console and common API. The new offering is supposed to simplify and help scale operations, improve standardization and compliance, and lower Opex for applications that run in public clouds. A microsegmentation security policy can be defined just once and applied to workloads that run across multiple clouds, according to company officials.

The state of Louisiana's Division of Administration's Office of Technology Services plans to use the VMware Cloud on AWS, released this week, to better leverage NSX to extend to the public cloud across a common operating environment, said Michael Allison, the division's CTO. This will give his organization "public cloud agility and economics," with a more proven virtualized infrastructure, he said.

One systems engineer with a large telecommunications company in Hayward, Calif., is evaluating NSX, but he said he is concerned about the costs to replace his older proprietary server hardware, as well as older remote devices that would be connected to NSX.

"[NSX] is good technology, but to take full advantage of it, I'd have to replace many of the local servers and upgrade the quality of my network and the remote devices we use to collect data and monitor traffic," he said.

Next Steps

Understand the role of the message bus in VMware NSX

VMware expands NSX network security features

Experts predict what's to come from VMworld 2017

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