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What Is VMware NSX?

Level 10

When purchasing Nicira in 2012, VMware wanted to further establish itself as a leader in software-defined networking, and more importantly, in cloud computing. VMware NSX provides the flexibility network administrators have long desired without having to rely solely on network hardware and its primary roles include automation, multi-cloud networking, security, and micro-segmentation. Additionally, the time spent provisioning a network is dramatically reduced.

NSX, the VMware software-defined networking (SDN) platform, lets you create virtual networks, including ports, switches, firewalls, and routers, without having to rely on a physical networking infrastructure. It’s software-based, nothing physical is involved, but the networks created can be seen from a virtual perspective. Simply put, the NSX network hypervisor allows network administrators to create and manage virtualized networks. Virtual networking allows communication without the use of network cables across various devices, including computers, virtual machines, and servers, using software.

However, virtual networks are provisioned, configured, and managed using the underlying physical network hardware. It’s important to keep this in mind, and it’s not my intention to say otherwise or mislead anyone.

Given the choice between a physical and software-defined network infrastructure, I prefer SDN. Physical networking devices and the software built into them depreciate over time. These devices also take up space in your data center—and the electricity needed to keep them powered on. Also, time is money, and it takes time to configure these devices.

Software-defined networks are easier on the eyes, which includes not having to worry about network cables or a cable management solution. Does anyone truly find the image below appealing?

Screen Shot 2019-07-27 at 9.15.13 AM.png

Virtual networking provides the same capabilities as a physical network, but with more flexibility and more efficiency across multiple locations without having to replace hardware or comprising reliability, availability, and security. Devices are connected over software using a vSwitch. Communications between the various devices can be shared on one network or separately on a different network. With software-defined networks, templates can be created and modified as needed without having to reinvent the wheel as you would with a physical networking device.

NSX-T is VMware’s next-generation SDN, which includes the same features as its predecessor NSX-V. The main difference is its ability to run on different hypervisors without having to rely on a vCenter Server.

VMware NSX editions include Standard, Professional, Advanced, Enterprise Plus, and Remote Office Branch Office (ROBO), each with a unique case. For example, Standard provides automated networking while Professional includes this as well plus Micro-Segmentation. For detailed information about each edition, please review the NSX datasheet here.

If you’re interested in learning more about NSX, VMware provides an array of options to choose from, including training, certifications, and hands-on labs.

18 Comments
Level 14

Thanks for the article. 

Level 10

Thanks for taking the time to read the post including your feedback!

MVP
MVP

Thanks for the article.

Level 12

Virtual networking provides the same capabilities as a physical network, but with more flexibility and more efficiency across multiple locations without having to replace hardware or comprising reliability, availability, and security. Devices are connected over software using a vSwitch.

I believe this is ambiguous, as virtual networks and vSwitches still rely on a physical network.

But I am all for reducing complexity. The picture above brought back bad memories! I once worked somewhere with switches that were completely full and the other guys said that when they need to plug something in they will choose a port that isn't active and hope that someone isn't out of the office that day! When I finally mapped the building, seeing which ports are in use, I was able to remove over 40 patch cables! Then I had to struggle to get them untangled from the mess!

Level 10

Thanks for taking the time to read the post including your feedback!

Level 10

Thanks for taking the time to read the post including your feedback! I still have nightmares about cable management.

Level 13

Thanks for the post.  Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to get my hands on (figuratively speaking of course) SDN beyond some simple switches.

Level 10

Thanks for taking the time to read the post including your feedback! I would recommend the VMware HOL's for a test drive.

MVP
MVP

Thanks for the info, I've not used SDN.
In the back of my mind is the worry that software can be hacked or infected with malware. I appreciate physical devices use firm/software and so it's probably a psychological response

Level 10

Thanks for taking the time to read the post including your feedback! I would recommend the VMware HOL's for a test drive.

Level 11

Thanks for the article.

Level 10

Thanks for taking the time to read the post

Level 13

Thanks for the article

Level 10

You're welcome and thanks for taking the time to read the post!

MVP
MVP

we have NSX and really like what it can do for us.

Migration to it is not a trivial thing, but the light at the end of the tunnel is burning brightly

Level 10

Thanks for taking the time to read the post!

Level 10

Thanks for taking the time to read the post!

Level 12

thanks for the article, i'm studying this matter and maybe i will certify