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New NSX Versions: What’s it mean for your SDN strategy?

VMware announced some changes to its NSX versions a few weeks back and are now actually offering more than one version. Imagine going to Baskin-Robbins and only getting vanilla. Well that had been the case with VMware’s NSX. Now, it won’t be 31 different options of NSX, but there at least will be three. NSX will be available in vanilla, strawberry and chocolate. Whoops, sorry, I mean Standard, Advanced and Enterprise. A better analogy would be Low Fat, 2 Percent and Whole.

VMware NSX is the network virtualization platform for the Software-Defined Data Center. It delivers the operational model of a virtual machine for entire networks. With NSX, network functions including switching, routing, and firewalling are embedded in the hypervisor and distributed across the environment. This creates a “network hypervisor” that acts as a platform for virtual networks and services. Similar to the operational model of virtual machines, virtual networks are programmatically provisioned and managed independent of underlying hardware. NSX reproduces the entire network model in software, enabling any network topology, from simple to complex multi-tier networks, to be created and provisioned in seconds. Users can create multiple virtual networks with diverse requirements, leveraging a combination of the services offered via NSX to build inherently more secure environments.

The new VMware NSX options should better align with customer requirements from a feature set and budget perspective and will give organizations the ability to choose an edition that best fits their specific needs. NSX is licensed by socket and the following pricing is MSRP. This doesn’t include subscription and support.

NSX Enterprise, which was the equivalent of what came with NSX up until now, is now $7k per socket. NSX was originally priced at $6k per socket, so actually a price increase for that edition.

One major feature, Micro-segmentation, which provides granular network security inside the perimeter of the datacenter, is included in both Advanced and Enterprise. Micro-segmentation is important because the standard approach securing data centers has always been to keep a strong perimeter protection preventing threats on the outside of the network. However, this model is ineffective for handling new types of threats – including advanced persistent threats and coordinated attacks. What’s needed is a better model for data center security: one that assumes threats can be anywhere and probably are everywhere, then acts accordingly. Micro-segmentation delivers the operational agility of network virtualization by protecting the entire network (both inside and out). To see the full list of feature comparisons between the three versions, click here.

If you’re curious about NSX and wondering if it’s a fit for you, here are a couple of questions you should ask.

  1. Do you have VM Security, traffic, network connectivity, automation, segmentation or remote access needs that your physical infrastructure can’t provide?
  2. How dynamic is your environment?  How often does it change with new and removed VMs?  Would automation be needed?
  3. Regarding security do you have PCI/HIPAA compliance concerns?

If the answer is yes to 1, 2 or all three of these questions than perhaps NSX may be a solution for you.

If you’re interested in learning more about NSX, GreenPages is offering a free high level Software-Defined Networking (SDN) workshop to select, qualified customers that will be led by a technical SDN subject matter expert (SME). During the first half of the customer facing workshop, the SME will discuss the customer’s existing environment, technologies, architectures, plans for the future, along with operational and security challenges and limitations. The second half of the workshop will cover SDN products and solutions available in the market along with how they can contribute to the environment, overcome challenges and mitigate security risks. Reach out if you’re interested!

A backlit keyboard.

Rob O’Shaughnessy

Director of Software Sales & Renewals