VMware today announced the general availability of an update to its NSX-T network virtualization software that adds support for NSX Federation, which enables IT teams to apply global policies and isolate domains to contain problems to a single zone. Other capabilities being added via NSX-T 3.0 include support for Level 3 Ethernet virtual private networks (L3 EVPN), multicast routing and improved data plane performance.
In addition, VMware revealed that next month it will make available an update to VMware vRealize Network Insight that employs machine learning algorithms and statistics to discover application flows across a virtual network.
VMware is also making generally available intrusion detection and prevention (IDS/IPS) capabilities to a previously announced software-defined firewall, along with support for AWS Direct Connect, VMware SD-WAN application and business policy statistics; enhanced Kubernetes visibility, integrations with the VMware Tanzu cloud service for managing containers; the latest release of VMware Cloud Foundation; and VMware NSX-T 3.0.
Finally, VMware announced that VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud software has now been integrated with the Microsoft Azure Zones portal to simplify provisioning on that public cloud.
Tom Gillis, senior vice president and general manager for the Networking and Security Business Unit at VMware, said as part of the overall effort to reduce costs in the wake of the sudden downturn in the economy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, VMware expects many organizations will accelerate the rate at which they are transitioning to network virtualization to replace many of the hardware appliances they currently rely on. For the amount many organizations are paying for software and support for those appliances, they could be transitioning to a much more flexible approach to networking that provides a cloud experience spanning on-premises and public cloud computing platforms, he said.
Gillis also noted it is now only a matter of time before VMware extends the control plane of its network virtualization software to the physical network underlay on which NSX-T is deployed. That capability will enable IT organizations to further reduce costs by eliminating the need to deploy multiple control planes, he said.
According to VMware, the number of customers that are consuming some element of its Virtual Cloud Network portfolio now exceeds 15,000, which represents on average a 50% growth rate each fiscal year since May 2018.
Gillis made it clear that in the months ahead a much larger swath of networking will become automated to drive down costs. Most organizations have adopted some level of network automation. However, Gillis said partial automation is an “oxymoron”—once most organizations start down the automation path the network becomes just as programmable as other IT infrastructure that is now managed as code.
It may take a while for networks to come fully automated at a time when many network engineers still prefer to use command-line interfaces (CLIs) to manage network infrastructure. However, as networking continues to become more complex in the age of the cloud, it’s not so much a question of whether organizations will automate networking as it is to what degree and using which platform.