The Rise of Networking at VMworld 2013

Next week VMworld kicks off at the Moscone center in San Francisco with much anticipation. I am looking forward to hearing about their integration efforts and enhancements to their networking solutions. More specifically, the NSX solution, now that they have a year under their belt with Nicira – it wasn’t quite fair to dig too deep at last year's show – I think the acquisition had only been completed 2 weeks (or was it 2 days?) prior to the show.

This year however, should contain a lot more content for those interested in networking. Indeed, VMware announced NSX earlier this year (available in 2H 2013) which integrates the Nicira NVP and vCloud Network and Security products into one platform. I think this was a smart decision, given that ESG research has indicated that network security is a top priority for organizations for 2013 (see ESG's Research Brief, 2013 Networking Spending Trends). We expect others will follow suit and my esteemed colleague, Jon Oltsik, who covers security for ESG, and I will continue to cover this topic in more detail.

Given the increased competition in the network virtualization market and its investment in Nicira, it would serve VMware well to lead this market. Indeed this year has seen a dramatic rise in the number of network virtualization solutions on the market with announcements from Adara, IBM, Juniper, Microsoft, NetSocket, Nuage, and PLUMgrid. This puts the pressure on VMware and the NSX solution to continue to innovate, especially with the details of the much anticipated Cisco Insieme being made public this fall.

According to published articles and blogs this week, it appears VMware will be announcing a “Networking DRS” capability next week, which in my opinion is much needed. The original DRS helped server virtualization technology to accelerate adoption – how? because it provided visibility into the underlying physical infrastructure--for servers this was CPU and memory resources. This enabled organizations to intelligently deploy new VMs or move them to enable optimized performance.

Network virtualization technologies need the same type of visibility into the physical network resources in order to effectively provision logical network links without creating performance problems (congestion). “Network DRS” (or whatever they end up calling it) should help to accelerate adoption, and, if done correctly, extend that visibility to the network team as well as the virtualization team. For those that would prefer a storage analogy, think about how storage resource management solutions helped accelerate the adoption of thin provisioning technologies.

Organizations need and want visibility into both the virtual and physical environments to ensure optimal performance and effective planning. While we will have to wait until next week to get the official story, it certainly looks like VMware NSX is going in the right direction to accelerate adoption of network virtualization solutions. More details on this next week…

Topics: IT Infrastructure Networking VMworld