VMware NSX 6.2 – a giant leap toward the Software-Defined Data Center

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VMworld 2015 recently wrapped, and here is what you need to know about the future of VMware’s SDDC vision.

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VMware unleashed the server virtualization revolution over a decade ago. That was followed by VMware vSAN which introduced storage virtualization. The final link on the chain is network virtualization. The combination of virtual servers, storage and networks sets the stage for the realization of SDDC.

VMware NSX for vSphere is a mature product that moved us much closer to achieving true network virtualization and bringing Software-Defined Networking (SDN) to the mainstream.

Recap on NSX

VMware NSX makes a giant stride in that direction. NSX reproduces the entire network model in software within the virtualization stack, programmatically provisioned and managed independently of underlying hardware, enabling any network topology—from simple to complex multi-tier networks. It is created and provisioned in seconds by establishing a library of logical networking elements and services, such as switches, logical routers, distributed micro-segmentation firewalls, load balancers and VPN gateways.

Users can create advanced and robust virtual networks through custom combinations of these capabilities.

VMware NSX for vSphere 6.2 is now available and comes with a series of brand-new enhancements: 

Cross vCenter Network Virtualization:

The latest NSX upgrades make it possible to support network virtualization across multiple vCenters and set a consistent distributed firewall policy across all vCenters.

This includes:

  • Consistent firewall policy across multiple vCenters; cross-VC VMotion over VXLAN, with DFW
  • Universal Security Groups
  • Logical Switch (ULS)
  • Distributed Logical Router (UDLR)

Imagine for a moment being able to do with networking what has been made possible for the last many years by virtualizing servers: abstracting network operations from the hardware it runs on, pooling those network resources, and being able to automating and orchestrating them!

Operations and Troubleshooting Enhancements: With a central console to manage and troubleshoot, IT personnel have at their fingertips a wealth of tools to identify any networking issues.

This includes:

  • Traceflow troubleshooting tool
  • Flow monitoring and IPFix separation
  • New CLI monitoring and troubleshooting commands
  • A Central CLI, CLI ping command that adds configurable packet size and do-not-fragment flags
  • The ability to display the health of the control plane
  • Standalone edge L2 VPN client CLI
  • Logical networking

In addition, NSX 6.2 now offers support for vSphere 6.0 Platform Services Controller topologies and vRealize Orchestrator Plug-in for NSX 1.0.2. Instead of provisioning VMs with only compute power such as CPU and RAM, IT can now automate the provisioning of the virtual resources for compute, storage and networking at the same time, thereby moving the dream of the software defined data center that much closer to becoming a reality.

Routing Enhancements:  A series of routing enhancements eliminate time consuming manual tasks and extend the reach of the VMware administrator such as:

  • Support of /31 prefixes on ESG and DLR interfaces
  • Support for relayed DHCP requests on the ESG DHCP server
  • The ability to keep VLAN tags over VXLAN
  • Exact match for redistribution filters
  • Support of administrative distance for static routes

Security Service enhancements: With the extended reach of network virtualization, VMware has beefed up the security features available with NSM to ensure the network is fully protected. This includes new IP address discovery mechanisms for VMs.

In an interview with CRN, Chris King, vice president of product marketing for networking and security at VMware explains, “The revamped NSX 6.2 also gives better support for application continuity and disaster recovery use cases through support for Cross vCenter vMotion over VXLAN with routing and security,” In other words, administrators will be able to migrate across vCenter Server systems without the risk of VM data loss losing VM data.

Similar to when VMs entered the physical server scene, pooling network resources via consolidated hardware adds up to far greater CPU and bandwidth utilization as well as a massive reduction in the time IT spends managing, monitoring and troubleshooting networks.

Register for our VMworld 2015 highlights webinar

Did you miss a few sessions, or not able to attend VMworld 2015? Our dedicated VMware experts were all over the event. They’re also hosting an upcoming live webinar to share the most disruptive announcements, and how they’ll affect our VMware clients. Register below, and bring any questions you may have!

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Editors note: if you enjoyed this post, we recommend reading the following posts from our VMworld 2015 series:

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About Drew Robb

Drew Robb is a freelance writer from Los Angeles specializing in technology and engineering. He has a degree in geology from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. He is also the author of Server Management for Windows Systems by CRC Press and has written hundreds of articles for publications like Computerworld, Network World and Information Week.