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VMware NSX™ is a networking and security product from VMware that enables a whole new realm of possibilities for the data center. The idea of virtualizing the network enables organizations not only to introduce concepts and functions they are already familiar with such as security, routing, and switching, but also to introduce enhancements where the traditional model of physical networking was lacking.

Often times network managers, engineers, and IT staff are facing challenges with provisioning network services which are time consuming, and costly.  Other challenges include reconfiguration of hardware devices such as routers, switches, and firewalls, which can lead into their own set of problems and challenges.

How does VMware NSX assist with these challenges?

NSX leverages the existing physical network without requiring a forklift on your existing investment to provide network related automation, flexibility, visibility, and scale-out performance. Traditionally, having the ability to segment different tiers, zones of resources into their own segment required additional configuration and sometimes even more hardware to ensure businesses were compliant and secure. With the advent of network virtualization, the ability to micro-segment each virtual machine and provide firewall services alleviates the need for additional hardware in the data center, and provides a single pane of glass management platform for your entire network infrastructure. All this can be done without sacrificing security while at the same time providing cost savings in hardware and licensing. 

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photo courtesy of blog.vmware.com

VMware NSX architecture involves controllers, managers, and kernel modules. These software components “plug into” the existing vSphere® environment. Redundancy and high availability are addressed using technologies that administrators are familiar with such as VMware High Availability. The ability to make local routing, switching decisions without having to cross the IP backbone reduces the amount of traffic, and provides an increase in performance. This shift in scale-out architecture offers the ability to “scale as you grow”

Understanding VMware’s approach to virtual networking opens up the door to many possibilities that may have not been possible in the past. The learning curve for seasoned network engineers, virtualization administrators, and IT administrators, will be minimal as the fundamental principles behind routing, switching, and security remain intact. Network services such as Firewall, NAT, Routing Services, load balancing, and VPN can also be transitioned into cloud. Organizations will be glad to know third-party providers such as Palo Alto Networks, and F5 already have integrations with VMware NSX that provide customers with the ability to assist with additional network services such as load balancing, and security.

VMware’s approach to Software Defined Networking is real and here to stay, it will be a shift in how we deploy networks, and manage them, but who ever said change was a bad thing?