VMware NSX: The Key to Enabling IT Transformation
One of the most remarkable technology stories of 2016 was written by VMware NSX®. Throughout the year, the velocity of its adoption continued to accelerate, gaining NSX new customers and new momentum with each successive quarter. As the year progressed, so did customer understanding of network virtualization and its benefits, creating a virtuous circle further reinforcing the adoption momentum. Q4 FY2016 saw:
- A record number of new VMware NSX customers, increasing to more than 2,400—double the total over FY2015
- Q4 NSX license bookings growing 50 percent over 2015
- A record number of repeat customers
- An increase in the number of “millionaire’s club” customers
Moving into 2017, all signs point to this momentum only continuing to grow. Organisations worldwide are realising the urgency of transforming their IT infrastructures now to meet such challenges as working across public and private clouds, improving security, and meeting new regulatory requirements. Regardless of the customer challenge, one solution remains ubiquitous. As Dom Delfino, VMware’s vice president of worldwide sales, software-defined data center, says, “Many customers see VMware NSX as a catalyst to these initiatives.”
The Key Component
Delfino believes customer adoption of NSX is moving past a turning point in momentum to a true “tipping point,” where it will soon become an essential, mainstream technology. Fueling the fire is a growing customer understanding of how NSX provides the capabilities to meet several complex challenges simultaneously.
“NSX is not a technology that requires IT transformation before you adopt,” says Delfino. “Rather, NSX is the enabler to IT transformation that must take place for organisations to succeed in the future.” He explains that typically today, the majority of customer IT teams are still siloed into traditional organisation structures—networking, virtualization, cloud, storage, etc.
The problem is that this siloed organisational structure does not reflect how a digital business really works. “If you look closer,” Delfino explains, “the business requirements define the application requirements, and, in turn, the app requirements define the infrastructure underneath.” If any component of that infrastructure fails—if an application fails, for example—the line of business fails, too.
“NSX is becoming a mainstream technology. A technology that will play a key role in helping build the next generation of infrastructure architecture.”
According to Delfino, what’s needed is a new, “infrastructure-centric” approach to IT expertise and organisation. “We need to operate like an infrastructure architect,” he says. “We need to understand all the technology in order to keep up with increasing demands.” And as the pace of adoption makes clear, organisations are realising that NSX supplies a key component needed for infrastructure convergence.
Simplicity and Agility
One of the most difficult challenges organisations have struggled with for a long time is their own legacy infrastructure. Legacy infrastructure is a complex nightmare to manage and maintain, involving generations of hardware built and collected over years, sometimes even decades. The sheer number of touchpoints, the time it takes to provision, and the issue of implementing security and other policy controls within the infrastructure create challenges for any organisation. “NSX,” says Delfino, “has given organisations the next-generation set of tools to implement security controls within the infrastructure.”
One of the largest and most pervasive security challenges today is the gap in alignment of information security policy and network security implementation. This gap is one common thread in many of the major breaches publicised over the past five years. NSX simplifies this integration of security and infrastructure by providing organisations the capability to micro-segment their network operations.
This simplification powers another customer benefit: a significant improvement in network agility. “NSX,” Delfino explains, “is indisputably the leading software network overlay. This abstraction layer that NSX supplies,” he continues, “makes it much easier to align the compute component into the network infrastructure.” For customers, a more agile infrastructure is the result.
But perhaps the most surprising benefit to customers regards what Delfino calls the “stranded capacity” that network virtualization reveals. Delfino analogises the situation to a similar phenomenon that customers discovered when they first implemented VMware vSphere®. Customers were surprised to discover how much excess compute capacity was tied up in inefficient server utilisation. In a similar way, as customers deploy network virtualization onto their network environments, they are finding how underutilised these environments are. With NSX, they are now free to use this excess capacity in new, strategic ways that support their business objectives.
The Next Generation of Infrastructure
IT organisations are now finding that with NSX they have “the ability to focus on higher-level goals in relation to their business,” Delfino says, “rather than the mundane operational tasks” associated with managing their legacy infrastructure. A growing number of existing customers who initially implemented NSX for a specific use case are rapidly expanding their deployment to address other customer challenges.
“NSX is pushing new solutions,” Delfino says, “as customers realise the role it can play as their cloud, branch, and end-user computing strategies also continue to evolve.” As it does, he concludes, “NSX is becoming a mainstream technology. A technology that will play a key role in helping build the next generation of infrastructure architecture.”