One of the stated intentions of VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger was to expand virtualization technologies to encompass network and storage. Pat Gelsinger repeatedly emphasized the importance of networking to VMware. While many in the networking space probably figured out networking was important to VMware a year ago when it acquired Nicira for over a billion dollars, this show enabled VMware to showcase the progress it has made in the last year and demonstrate a leadership role.
Vmware first announced NSX back in late Feb or early March, which was touted as the combination of Nicira NVP and vCloud Networking and Security with a 2H 2013 launch date. The announcement today was more than just a reiteration of the March announcement, but actually demonstrated that there is some meat on the bone with the NSX solution. The NSX team has been working to create an integrated platform, complete with APIs that partners could leverage to create more complete solutions.
Certainly, VMware is well versed in creating partner ecosystems and the networking team did not disappoint in this regard. The NSX announcement today was accompanied by numerous press releases from the 20 or so network ecosystem partners. The majority of these announcements highlight the integration of physical networks with the NSX network virtualization solution. For example, VMware highlighted one from HP stating both companies “will collaborate to deliver the industry’s first federated network solution, designed to provide customers unified automation of, and visibility into, their physical and virtual data center networks.” The ability to integrate the physical and virtual network will be critical to accelerate adoption of the NSX technology. This will provide both the network team and virtualization team the appropriate level of visibility to optimize the virtual network links and ensure current and future performance levels can be met.
While there was no mention of Network DRS today (as some reports speculated last week – including one of my blogs), there is definitely a trend line indicating that the NSX will continue to integrate with the physical network. Just as important, if not more so, will be the ecosystem of network services partners that will enable organizations to deliver network services like firewalls, load balancing, WAN Optimization etc. that help to accelerate provisioning times and VM mobility.
The next step to help accelerate the adoption of NSX solutions will be highlighting some of the public customer references that deployed NSX with an existing physical network vendor (perhaps one of them that had an announcement today) that illustrate the advantages of this approach.