VMware sets sites on network virtualization
"What ESX was to server virtualization, NSX is to network virtualization," said VMware's CEO at the kickoff of this year's VMworld
IDG News Service - VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger used his opening keynote speech at the company's annual VMworld conference to emphasize plans to virtualize networks with the aim of achieving the success in virtualizing servers.
Networking "is the most important topic we will discuss today," Gelsinger said to the audience of VMware administrators at the Moscone Center in San Francisco in a speech that was webcast. "We're moving to a world where the network is just like the compute, where we will be able to spin up network services just like we can spin up [virtual machine] services."
At the conference, the company launched NSX, its new hypervisor for network virtualization.
VMware was founded in 1998 to re-introduce the concept of software virtualization to the world of commodity x86 servers (IBM, among other companies, had long offered software virtualization for time-sharing mainframes).
By placing software, such as a server OS, on top of a hypervisor, which sits between the hardware and the hardware's OS, IT shops could move these virtual machines more easily from physical server to physical server, which entailed costs savings by consolidating servers and increased agility of operations.
VMware in fiscal year 2012 generated around US$4.6 billion in revenue, and the industry has become saturated with virtual machines, both from VMware and competitors such as Microsoft. By 2010, the number of virtual machines had outnumbered the number of physical ones, Gelsinger said.
Now, the company is looking to solve the next bottleneck in IT operations, which it identifies as network provisioning.
"Increasingly, the barrier to flexibility is becoming the network. While we can spin up a VM in seconds, [network] configurations can take weeks or months in response," Gelsinger said. NSX, which acts as a unifying layer to controlling network resources such as routers and switches, aims to solve this problem. "What ESX was to server virtualization, NSX is to network virtualization," Gelsinger said.
To help explain NSX, Gelsinger brought on stage VMware chief architect for networking Martin Casado, who was one of the creators of OpenFlow, the protocol that spawned the idea of software defined networking (SDN), which is, in part, another name for network virtualization. Casado was also the chief technology officer of OpenFlow software provider Nicira, which VMware purchased in 2012, and which provides the basis for much of NSX.
Casado said, that when first thinking about OpenFlow, he wanted to "change the network architecture in a way so that you can have the properties in networks that you have in compute, when it comes to thing like operational simplicity, software evolve-ability, programmability."
- Virtualization Security Is Not an Oxymoron While the business benefits of virtualization are clear, the virtualized world makes your organization vulnerable to an array of new cybersecurity threats.
- Security for Virtualization In the rush to implement virtualization, security has become second. So while the business benefits are clear, the risks are less well documented...
- Enabling Ubiquitous Visibility in Virtualized Environments Enterprises are rapidly adopting virtualization for dynamic service delivery and service management agility. IT challenges already exist in virtual environments and will only...
- ESG - Economic Value Validation - Riverbed Performance Management: Cascade Top 10 Most Important IT Priorities
- Live Webcast Best Practices: How to Improve Business Continuity with Virtualization VMware solutions include a range of business continuity capabilities to help ensure availability for applications across your virtualized environment. Learn More>>
- Best Practices: How to Improve Business Continuity with Virtualization VMware solutions include a range of business continuity capabilities to help ensure availability for applications across your virtualized environment. Learn More>>
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users? All Virtualization White Papers | Webcasts