VMware customers that have both on-prem and cloud-based architecture can now manage networking and security for both in a single management console. Unveiled at this week's VMware Explore conference in Las Vegas, NSX+ is new cloud-managed service that’s geared for multicloud environments and is designed to enable consistent network and security operations, centralised security policy management, network and application visibility, and network detection and response.
This latest evolution of VMware's core networking package will be available to current NSX customers as an upgrade and to new customers as both a free trial and a paid offering effective today. By the end of the year, NSX+ will also extend to businesses running their cloud infrastructure natively in public clouds, says Rob Markovich, who leads product marketing for multicloud networking and network virtualisation for VMware.
NSX is a ten-year-old service and is a market leader for software defined networking (SDN) for data centers. According to an IDC report released earlier this year, VMware has a 70 per cent market share for data center SDN in 2022. NSX can replace custom security and load balancing hardware for an average OPEX savings of 66 per cent and average CAPEX savings of 60 per cent, according to an internal VMware customer study.
The problem with the current NSX platform is that when customers want to manage networking and security both in on-prem data centers and in the cloud, they have to use two different management tools. "There are a lot of variations between all these clouds," Markovich says. "What they really want to drive efficiency and speed is consistency and normalization of networking and security across all the clouds."
This is the big new capability that NSX+ delivers, he says.
The new platform benefits both infrastructure and application teams, he says. Infrastructure teams can set up policies, configurations, guardrails, and governance across all their VMware environments. Everything is delivered as cloud-managed service to simplify installation and management.
NSX+ also introduces virtual private clouds (VPC) into enterprise data centers, allowing infrastructure teams to become virtual cloud providers to their business units. NSX+ VPCs provide full isolation of networking, security and services to multiple tenants on a shared VMware Cloud instance, but all managed centrally by a single global NSX interface.
Application teams want self-service, says Markovich, which they can now get in a safe and controlled way. "You can now provision your own networking, your security, your load balancing," he says. "And you don't need to know all the details."
All this is available for both on-prem VMware deployments and cloud, says Markovich.
"We are extending that to VMware Cloud, which are all the different clouds that run the VMware stack, including partner, sovereign clouds, and edge clouds," he says.
What about enterprises that have applications running natively on AWS or Azure, without using the VMware stack, but still want to manage that infrastructure through VMware alongside all the other, VMware-based, infrastructure that they own? NSX+ for native public cloud is coming by the end of the year, he says.
"Enterprises are building these consolidated applications that work across native public cloud, VMware cloud, in their private cloud, and are pulling it all together into a global application," he says. "They want it to be managed centrally."
Markovich compared NSX+ to SASE – but where SASE provides cloud-based networking and security centered around end users, NSX+ offers cloud-based networking and security centered around the back-end cloud infrastructure.
"It's a similar concept," he says. "You want zero trust. You want lateral security. You want consistent policies and transparency."
Current NSX customers can start using NSX+ easily, he says. "Just upgrade NSX to the latest software, and that lets them see NSX+," he says. "They can start to manage everything there."
For new customers, there are three packages that depend on the scale of the architecture and the size of the customer account. In addition, NSX is often bundled with larger cloud offerings, like VMware Cloud and VMware Cloud Foundation.
He says that NSX+ will not cost more than NSX. "We tried hard to make it a parity there."
And, of course, generative AI is coming to NSX+, like it is to all enterprise IT options. NSX+ with Intelligent Assist, which is now in tech preview, will help security analysts determine the relevance of security findings and remediate threats.