VMware Builds Out Virtualization for Servers, Storage, Networking
For networking, VMware is leveraging the $1.26 billion acquisition last year of software-defined networking (SDN) startup Nicira. The company is introducing NSX, the company’s network virtualization platform that unifies VMware’s own technology with that acquired from Nicira in a single solution. With the platform, VMware is enabling organizations to virtualize Layer 2-7 services—from the switch and router to load balancing, firewalls and VPNs—in software, and to enable the solution to work with any underlying networking hardware infrastructure, any hypervisor and any cloud management platform. SDN has become a driving trend within the networking space, promising to make networks more programmable, scalable, flexible and cost-effective by taking the network intelligence from the complex and expensive hardware and putting it into software, managed by a software-based controller. It also should eliminate networks—which currently are programmed manually, a time-consuming and error-prone process—as the bottleneck in data centers where servers and storage devices are becoming more virtualized. Nicira was a key startup in the SDN space, founded by the creators of the popular OpenFlow network controller protocol. However, Martin Casado, one of Nicira’s founders (and its CTO) and the driving force behind OpenFlow, said last year that his thinking on SDN has changed, and that he favors virtual switches over OpenFlow for automating and programming networking infrastructures. His vision is becoming a reality with NSX. In storage, VMware is introducing Virtual SAN (storage-area networking), enabling businesses to pool their storage capabilities and to instantly and automatically provision virtual machine storage via simple policies driving by the virtual machine, with storage capacity and performance dynamically scaling as needed. Through a policy-driven control plane, the underlying physical storage is exposed to the virtual machines.VMware’s vSAN currently is in beta testing. The company also is offering greater automation capabilities via its vCloud Automation Center and vFabric Application Director, vCenter Operations and vCenter Log Insights, and IT Business Manager Suite. Jeffrey Burt is senior editor with eWEEK. Follow him on Twitter.
“We want to provision storage as quickly as we provision servers,” Wei said.