It’s really long ago that I have put any content on this blog, but the amount of discussions during VMworld Europe this year have lead to the situation that I somehow need to get out my thinkings/opinion (IMO) on all this new trending VMware topics. Feel free to confront me with my statements and I would love to defend or readjust them. (That’s how knowledge expansion works, does it?!)
While writing the several parts I have realized that it was suddenly much more content that I had in mind the first place, so I separated the articles in several parts. All articles are reflecting my personal opinion (IMO) and are differing a little from the other posts we have published so far on vxpertise.net.
IMO: #VMworld 2014 recap vSAN and vVol (part 4)
NSX is the newest technology by VMware trying to enable the software-defined network (and be a part of the software-defined datacenter). I put a lot effort on NSX over the last days and must admit: this is a really cool concept and solution. We create a logical switch within and across all of our datacenter. You can define rule based networks (who can communicate with whom (DMZ, Multi-Tier Application) and have it integrated inside of the VMkernel (e.g. IP-traffic routed inside the ESXi instead of touching the physical devices).
Pat Gelsinger described it very well during his keynote. “The datacenter today is like o a hard boiled egg – hard on the outside, soft on inside”. NSX will enable to deliver security mechanisms within the virtualized datacenter as well integrated in the VMkernel of the ESXi.
NSX will offer us a great flexibility managed in a central point (NSX Manager) via an UI or API which can be used by orchestration engines likes vCO.
From a technological perspective this is definitely awesome, but will we see a similar development of NSX like we have seen with the x-86 virtualization products? IMO I don’t think so on a short- to mid-term.
The advantages of NSX will come to play in very large environments with high flexibility and security requirements (financial services, IT-provider, e.g.) which means I don’t see a mass market currently out there in the next years. This does not mean it won’t be a financial benefit for VMware (good things never come for free), but only a few of us will be confronted with a NSX installation or customer who are going to implement it.
The second thing I see is that those large enterprises will get faced with organizational challenges when implementing NSX. From my experiences and chats I had during VMworld, large enterprises typically have different organization units for Network and Virtualizations. Technologies like NSX will have a huge impact on the guys from the network team and from my personal feeling (I know a lot of network guys and had chats around those topics) I doubt that the network guys do want this product out of their own conviction.
This lead to the fact that with the implementation of a software-defined network an organizational transformation in the companies will be mandatory. Network and Virtualization (Storage and Programmers of course as well) team would need to re-organized as a single…(yes I hate buzzwords, but I think this describes it best) software-defined datacenter unit.
This means that the (software-defined) evolution inside the datacenter needs to be top-down driven by the management, which might lead to a high resistance in current organization and time-intensive process-changes (Network processes matured a lot during all the years). VMware will need to convince their customer on a much higher (organizational) level, than probably for vSAN/EVO:Rail which are IMO products wanted by the admins.
That should not mean I don’t believe in NSX. I believe that this is a great technology, but we should be aware of that the transformation to a software-defined network is not only a technical thing we are implementing and which will be automatically adopted by the network admins (which would be something like a bottom-up innovation). An adoption on the technical and organizational level will be crucial for the success of NSX.
I wish VMware good luck on this task, since I would love to get involved in some NSX projects in 2015.
Useful links around NSX:
- NSX Installation: http://dailyhypervisor.com/vmware-nsx-for-vsphere-6-1-step-by-step-installation/
- NSX Blog: http://blogs.vmware.com/networkvirtualization/tag/vmware-nsx
- VMware Hands-On-Labs Networking (including NSX Labs): http://labs.hol.vmware.com/HOL/catalogs/catalog/130
- NSX Design Guide: https://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-27611
- Learning NSX (by Scott Lowe): http://blog.scottlowe.org/learning-nvp-nsx/