Thursday, May 23, 2013

VMware NSX: Transform Your Network

The merging of vCenter Network and Security 5.1 (vCNS) and Nicira has been branded the VMware NSX (Network Virtualization Platform).  VMware has invested heavily in this solution and the internal business unit developing networking and security solutions.
The NSX platform attempts to address the problems with networking and virtualization.  Cloud is all about speed.  Virtualizing networking is about breaking down physical boundaries. 
VMware has transformed the provisioning time for an OS instance by decoupling hardware and software within a virtual machine.  Unfortunately the VMs requirement for additional services (network, firewall and security) takes the minutes to deploy a VM back up to days. 
VMware’s NSX initiative is designed to decouple hardware and software within the network stack.  A production VM needs IPs, VLANs, Firewall, ACLS, QoS etc. etc.  The time to deploy these network services kills the flexibility of virtualization.  It also limits mobility as there is a dependency on networking and switching physical hardware.  It also has an impact on DR as these services do not transport with the VM. 
To address these problems VMware has built a network hypervisor.  The server VM believes it is talking to  physical network gear even though the network routing and switching is virtualized.  This is likely to have an impact in the networking market as the average markup on network gear is 70% vs. 20% in the hardware server market. 
Virtualized networking is available today in the product line.  these virtual wires float within the software or virtualization layer.  These virtual wires can speak to physical servers as they can be mapped to a physical environment through the VXLAN standard.
VMware has extended the virtual network to partners through VXLAN to integrate physical appliances like F5 Load Balancers. 
VMware NSX enables stretching to other Cloud environments.  In addition NSX enables
  1. On boarding Customers Faster
  2. The ability to offer new, automated network services to customers
  3. Reduce Costs
    1. Move away from traditional physical networking
  4. Deliver Flexibility through elastic networking that scales out as needed
Integrating NSX does not require a rip and replace of your existing network hardware vendor.  You only need IP connectivity and high performance network fabric to integrate NSX.