VMware announces major upgrade to NSX

VMware announces a major update at Mobile World Congress for its NSX platform. (VMware)

VMware announced at Mobile World Congress this week that it has given its NSX virtual networking software platform a major face-lift.

The latest releases of VMware's NSX-T Data Center 2.4 and NSX Cloud were designed to increase automation and security for hybrid and multicloud customers while also simplifying network operations for network builders and operators.

“App Developers want a network that just works, that connects servers with a click of the mouse. This what they get in the public cloud. VMware NSX brings this same experience to every cloud—public and private—with the Virtual Cloud Network,” said VMware's Tom Gillis, senior vice president and general manager, networking and security business unit, in a prepared statement. “With our newest release of VMware NSX-T Data Center, we have taken a major step forward in simplicity of automation, in hardware accelerated performance and in features that allow deployment at the scale of the largest clouds in the world.”

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The latest updates to NSX are a shot across the bow of Cisco, which has long competed against NSX with its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) platform. VMware also competes against Juniper Networks' Contrail offering, as well as others vendors such as Arista Networks, Big Switch Networks and Pluribus Networks.

NSX is deployed in 82 of the Fortune 100 businesses and 70% of Fortune Global 500. NSX, which was designed to separate hardware from networking, runs all of the major hypervisors and cloud providers.  It supports cloud connectivity and security across Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, IBM Cloud and VMware Cloud on AWS.

The networking virtualization platform is embedded throughout the VMware portfolio, including VMware Cloud Foundation, VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Enterprise PKS and VMware vCloud NFV—and, in the future, AWS Outposts and VMware Project Dimension.

At VMworld in Las Vegas in August, VMware announced the availability of NSX-T Data Center 2, which extended multicloud networking and security capabilities to AWS, Microsoft Azure and on premise environments.

As part of the new NSX release, VMware separated it from vSphere. The older version of NSX (NSX-V) that supported vSphere was part of VMware's $1 billion deal to buy Nicira in 2012.

VMware has made a concerted effort to branch out from its data center roots and into the telecommunications industry at large. NSX-T is one of the elements in VMware's vCloud NFV platform that allows service providers to run virtual network functions (VNFs) in the cloud.

"They're really trying to position the vSphere and NSX products as part of the long-term telecommunications virtualization effort," said Lee Doyle, principal analyst at Doyle Research, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "They would not say directly opposite of OpenStack, but in reality it is."