Wednesday, November 30, 2022

VMware NSX Review

Data center managers use automated deployments to enable rapid, consistent, and secure deployment of storage and computing power. VMware NSX helps those data center managers extend the automation advantages to network infrastructure deployment and centralize network operations and security in a single virtualized infrastructure.

Virtualized networks create a software-defined (SD) environment that can encompass existing bare-metal infrastructure, local data centers, cloud resources, local networks, and application frameworks. With a single management platform and software-defined deployment, networks can be deployed faster, scale with demand, and deploy consistent security and operational policies across the entire network.

See below to learn all about VMware NSX and where it stands in the network virtualization sector:

VMware NSX and the Network Function Virtualization Market

VMware NSX competes in the network function virtualization (NFV) market that includes software, infrastructure, and services, like consulting and network management. Markets and Markets estimates the 2019 NFV market size was $12.9 billion and will grow to $36.3 billion by 2024 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.9%.

In 2020, Meticulous Research projected a 2027 market size of $122 billion and a CAGR of 34.9%. By 2022, Market Data Forecast estimates the current market to be $18.74 billion and growing at a CAGR of 23.7% to reach $51.2 billion in 2027.

VMware NSX competes against products from numerous providers: Affirmed Networks; Ciena Corporation; Cisco; Dell Technologies; ECI Telecom; Ericsson Networks; Fujitsu; Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE); Juniper Networks; Mavenir; Metaswitch Networks; NEC; NETSCOUT; Nokia Networks; Radisys Corporation; Ribbon Communications; Wind River Systems; and ZTE Corporation.

VMware reports that sales of VMware NSX contributed to achieving 46.6%, or a leading share of the software-defined infrastructure software market in 2020.

VMware NSX Key Features

  • Network operations
      • Automated troubleshooting and advanced analytics
      • Scalable log management
      • Integration with cloud management tools
      • Load balancing
      • Multicloud networking
      • RESTful API integration based on JSON
      • Routing
      • Simplified disaster recovery architecture
      • Switching: Logical Layer 2 overlay extensions across Layer 3 fabric
      • Virtual routing and forwarding 
  • Security
      • Distributed firewalls Layer 2 up to Layer 7
      • Gateway firewalls
      • Intrusion detection systems (IDSs) and intrusion prevention systems (IPSs)
      • Segmentation and context-aware microsegmentation
      • Site-to-site VPN
  • Compliance
    • Centralized policy configuration and enforcement

Key Benefits

When converting to a virtualized network, enterprises are looking for key benefits from VMware NSX, such as:

Automated Agility

Data center managers using automation can deploy networking infrastructure to keep up with the storage and compute automation already in place. Tools like VMware NSX use automation features to speed up deployment across local data centers and clouds. Everyday tasks such as planning capacity or troubleshooting become automated, more accurate, and more efficient.

Embedded Security

With a virtualized network platform, security managers can deploy consistent firewalls and security policies across the entire network. Tools such as VMware NSX can also deliver micro-segmentation as granular as a specific workload.

In addition to protection, VMware NSX also provides active threat hunting. Security teams leverage built-in IDS/IPS to detect and defend against attackers attempting lateral movement in the network.

Lower Costs

Converting to a virtualized network consolidates functions for security and network operations into a single management platform. Whether using public clouds, private clouds, or private data centers, VMware NSX can consistently and efficiently manage workloads deployed in virtual machines (VM), containers, or on bare metal.

OpEx becomes reduced due to simplified operations, optimized traffic flows, and reduced network management time. Customers implementing virtual networks have seen OpEx and CapEx savings as high as 35%.

Use Cases

Eurofunk 

Eurofunk Kappacher develops control systems and emergency call centers for public and private enterprises from its headquarters in Salzburg, Austria. 

Customers demanded zero downtime and high security, and Eurofunk recognized these requirements required a fully digitalized infrastructure. Overloaded existing firewalls and network infrastructure were replaced with VMware NSX, which improved speed and allowed for the adoption of zero-trust network security.

“VMware NSX kills two birds — network administration and the firewall — with one stone. … It also gives us the benefit of faster provisioning, improved throughput, and a lower investment in the firewall,” says Günter Grünwald, head of IT core, Eurofunk. 

“We are now much more flexible, have greater operating stability, and experience less downtime. We can roll out new systems in a matter of hours, which lets us respond to the fast pace required by our customers.”

Meghna Group of Industries

A conglomerate in Bangladesh, Meghna Group of Industries (MGI) struggled to manage the infrastructure of over 35,000 employees, 100 offices, and 20 business verticals. 

To eliminate the frequent local infrastructure failures at peak usage, MGI’s IT team pursued a consolidated approach and focused on moving applications into data centers managed by VMware NSX.

“We decided on VMware, as there’s no hardware lock-in issue, and we can use any server or networking hardware, even the ones we already had,” says Maniruzzaman Chowdhury, senior assistant general manager of IT, MGI. 

“We’ve saved so much time now, which is crucial in a quickly expanding business. And once the app is deployed, we have complete visibility into the infrastructure’s performance and capacity.”

Volkswagen Financial Services 

Operating in 48 markets worldwide, Volkswagen Financial Services needed to provide unified control over its critical applications and comply with stringent data security laws that can change from country to country. 

The organization’s IT team decided to deploy VMware NSX to create a flexible, highly available, scalable, and secure platform for container technology.

“[We] operate lots of applications at the same time on a standardized platform … with just a small powerful team … [and NSX] allows Volkswagen Financial Services to implement their governance guidelines and fully satisfy all requirements in terms of compliance and cybersecurity,” says Marc Miether, head of middleware and container services, Volkswagen Financial Services.

Differentiators

When selecting VMware NSX over other network and security virtualization tools, customers often do so because of:

Advanced Features

VMware NSX offers advanced networking and security tools that help IT engineers to work faster and more intelligently, such as:

  • VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer: balances server and network loads globally and across multicloud environments. The tool also deploys application security, web application firewalls, and container ingress services.
  • NSX Distributed Firewall: can integrate into platforms directly, such as Kubernetes, Pivotal Cloud Foundry, AWS, or Azure. The tool can also be deployed to physical servers and will provide stateful firewalls from Layer 2 up to Layer 7 embedded in the hypervisor kernel.
  • VMware NSX Intelligence: monitors and visualizes traffic flow to enable auditable security postures and automated security policy recommendations.
  • Advanced NSX security options: deliver distributed security (IDS/IPS) throughout the network as well as gateway security, such as URL filtering and malware detection.

Brand power

VMware, recently purchased by Broadcom, pioneered virtual machines and maintains a strong reputation in virtualization. Its previous purchase of Carbon Black strengthened VMware’s reputation for strong security and powers its endpoint and network malware detection.

Customers buying VMware NSX can do so partially because of the brand reputation, the enterprise-grade support network, and expectations that the networking management tool will easily integrate with VMware virtual machines.

Container Networking and Security

VMware combines its legacy strength in virtual machines and its Carbon Black subsidiary’s strong security reputation to deliver security tools optimized for containers and networks. The VMware NSX Container Plugin provides container security for:

  • Tanzu Kubernetes Grid
  • Tanzu Application Service
  • vSphere with Tanzu
  • Red Hat OpenShift
  • Kubernetes

VMware’s Container Networking with Antrea also unifies network policy, in-cluster networking. multi-cluster network policy management, and centralized connectivity troubleshooting.

Users Reviews of VMware NSX 

Review site Rating
Gartner 3.9 out of 5
TrustRadius 8.4 out of 10
G2 4.4 out of 5
PeerSpot 3.9 out of 5

Pricing

VMware does not publish pricing for VMware NSX on its website, but its data sheet explains four different editions available in detail:

  • Professional: Automated networking and micro-segmentation, plus cloud endpoints
  • Advanced: More advanced networking, security, and integration with multiple sites
  • Enterprise Plus: Most advanced capabilities for network operations, hybrid cloud mobility, traffic flow visibility, and NSX intelligence
  • Remote Office Branch Office: Virtualized networking for a specific remote or branch office

Some list prices may be found at partner websites, where advertised prices show per processor licensing at over $4,300 for VMware NSX Advanced. Since the NSX software deploys with different component software licenses and typically employs bulk pricing discounts, potential customers should work with VMware pricing to develop pricing estimates.

Conclusions

As companies grow, containers and cloud environments provide scalable and flexible tools to grow and shrink infrastructure with demand. However, to ensure consistent security and operational performance across the infrastructure, the network should likewise be virtualized and automated to scale with the storage and compute needs. 

VMware NSX builds on a legacy in pioneering virtual infrastructure and security to provide a unifying tool to implement virtualized and secure network infrastructure. Any organization looking to coordinate and consolidate control over various in-house and cloud-based data centers should explore VMware NSX as a possible solution.

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