VMware’s bullish Virtual Cloud Network is getting enhanced with new versions of NSX-T and vRealize Network Insight to boost capabilities around Kubernetes, 5G enablement and security.
“This creates a terrific opportunity for our channel partners to provide higher level, consultative services for customers around, ‘How do I consume IT? How do I manage my private cloud infrastructure to be as efficient and agile as the public cloud?” said Tom Gillis, senior vice president and general manager for Networking and Security at VMware, in a briefing with media and analysts. “These are big concepts that we’re going to need the channel to help our customers consume. This is a really good time to be a channel partner.”
VMware’s Virtual Cloud Network, first unveiled two years ago, is dubbed as the only Layer 2 through Layer 7 virtual networking stack that delivers capabilities for switching, routing, firewalling and SD-WAN completely in software. The foundation is VMware’s popular security and software-defined networking (SDN) platform NSX that connects and secures applications and data from the data center to cloud to edge. Gillis said the Virtual Cloud Network enables customers’ private cloud infrastructure to have the same “agility, flexibility and efficiency as the public cloud”.
To boost the Virtual Cloud Network’s capabilities, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based virtualization superstar unveiled on Wednesday its new NSX-T 3.0 and VMware vRealize Network Insight 5.3 to provide higher levels of automation and insight for networking functions that span services from Layer 2 switching to Layer 7 application firewall, load balancing and filtering for Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS).
The new NSX-T 3.0 includes NSX Federation, which enables enterprises to deliver a cloud-like operating model with fault isolation zones and global policies that are synchronized across all locations. Customers will now be able to contain any network problems to a single zone, minimizing the severity and impact of problems. VMware vRealize Network Insight 5.2 introduces flow-based application discovery across multiple VMware platforms using machine learning to better understand categorized applications by tier.
Robert Keblusek, chief technology officer at Sentinel Technologies, a fast0growing Downers Grove, Ill.-based VMware partner ranked No. 108 on CRN’s Solution Provider 500 list, said segmentation and zones are “critical today” which makes NSX-T 3.0 “very welcoming” for many of Sentinel’s customers.
“Our customers struggle with creating blast zones in cloud and on premises. There are still complexities such as knowing what normal application behavior is and conversations to set policy. Once that is accomplished, it is important to have a smart strategy where your policies and security are enforced and consistent wherever you run your services,” said Keblusek. “Allowing this to span premises and cloud is critical today as many of our customers are multicloud and we continue to add more to the list at a rapid pace.”
On the Kubernetes front, NSX-T 3.0 enables businesses to extend their container networking services -- including switching, routing, distributed firewall, micro-segmentation, and load balancing -- to the newly released VMware vSphere with Kubernetes and VMware Cloud Foundation 4 platforms, VMware’s Tanzu portfolio, and non-VMware Kubernetes platforms.
“This is a very welcome capability and one that should see more adoption as enterprises begin their containerization journeys and must maintain governance standards within this environment,” said Keblusek. “The industry predictions for containers estimates a rapid adoption and while they solve many issues, the security and networking needs remain. Continued support for containers will make the adoption easier to maintain governance and security standards throughout the enterprise and within the container environment.”
The new NSX-T also includes new Level-3 EVPN (Ethernet Virtual Private Network) for better VM mobility, multicast routing for scalable networking, and accelerated data plane performance. On the security front, NSX-T 3.0 now includes the company’s Distributed Intrusion Detection and Prevention (IDS/IPS) capabilities.
Looking at VMware vRealize Network Insight 5.2, the new version includes flow-based application discovery leveraging unsupervised learning, enriched network flows and advanced application labelling algorithms to discover application and tier boundaries. These new features provide insights into network communication density, applications patterns and enhanced security recommendations. Other enhancements with vRealize Network Insight 5.2 include AWS Direct Connect support, VMware SD-WAN application and business policy statistics, and enhanced Kubernetes visibility.
“This literally is taking the load off of IT [administrators] that had to manually configure these and put it in this machine learning algorithm,” said Sanjay Uppal, senior vice president and general manager of VMware’s SD-WAN VeloCloud business unit. “Now, within the space within a few minutes or hours, we can tag all the traffic that is going across.”
The vRealize Network Insight 5.2 platform offers end-to-end network visibility and analytics to optimize network performance and troubleshoot the entire Virtual Cloud Network -- including the virtual overlay and physical underlay -- spanning data centers, multi-cloud environments and remote office or branch locations.
VMware says there are now more than 15,000 Virtual Cloud Network customers, a figure that has grown on average by 50 percent each fiscal year since unveiled in May 2018. The company’s Virtual Cloud Network is a critical component to VMware Cloud Foundation -- which is offered on all major cloud providers including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, to name a view – enables VMware to make private cloud as efficient and agile as public clouds.
“Customers are looking for a complete solution. Customer don’t want to piece their data center together from this vendor and that vendor – worry about the upgrade on one thing, manage the lifecycle of all of this – they just want it to work. They want the data center to be something that powers their application because the machinery that powers the software that’s eating the world, should come preconfigured and preloaded,” said Gillis. “That’s what driving the adoption of VMware and the Virtual Cloud Network.”
He said the channel is “critical” to driving digital transformation to VMware customers via the Virtual Cloud Network.
“We do have to recognize that the skills we need and the nature of the value that the channel is adding is changing. Just like how we’re moving up the stack, our channel partners need to move up the stack too,” said Gillis.
VMware NSX-T 3.0 is generally available today, while vRealize Network Insight 5.2 is expected to become available in the company’s first fiscal quarter which ends on May 1.