VMworld 2015 Europe: Network virtualization, NSX opens up to the public cloud

In Barcelona, ​​few major new features on VDI and network virtualization, VMware having already presented most of the new features, including Project A2 and NSX 6.2, on the American edition of VMworld. However, the demos showed how to manage Windows 10, Android, and iOS environments from the same AirWatch console. And on the NSX side, a connection to the AWS public cloud.

So shortly after the product announcements made by VMware in San Francisco, at the end of August, we could not have expected startling revelations about the European edition – although, in this category, the takeover of EMC by Dell constituted a choice piece whose timing escaped VMware. In Barcelona, ​​the Californian publisher had nevertheless kept a few elements to distill on its VMworld Europe 2015. After yesterday’s news on the vCloud NFV (virtualization of network functions), vCloud Air (public cloud) and vRealize (software-defined data center), the 2nd day of the conference focused on the virtualization of the user environment (VDI) and on that of the network, with interesting elements on the evolutions of the NSX offer.

To close the whole, Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware, came to give his support to the event, but without however renewing the presentation he had already made during VMworld 2015 US on “the 5 imperatives of the digital age “. Ironically, he predicted that half of the Top 100 technology companies would have disappeared from the list in 10 years (by acquisition, transformation or extinction) and, barely six weeks later, EMC – the main shareholder of VMware (80%) – is itself struck by the prophecy. But the worst of the risks is not to take any, Pat Gelsinger again underlined: “We too are required to move quickly”, he pointed out fatalistically.

Project A2, an MDM console for Windows 10, Android and iOS

Before the CEO’s keynote, Sanjay Poonen, MD of the End-user computing (EUC) entity had discussed workstation virtualization. In this register, he announced the acquisition of Boxer which addresses the management of mobile apps with a container type approach. Combined with AirWatch, the acquired tools will provide secure access services to messaging, content and apps. Boxer has developed personal data management software for businesses. Through partnerships, it works with Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Gmail, iCloud, Salesforce, Outlook, and many other popular online services.

Sanjay Poonen also talked about the A2 (A Carré) project shown in San Francisco. This preview release leverages the AirWatch mobile device management solution and App Volumes technology to facilitate administration of Windows 10 environments. from the same console, easily manage Android and iOS devices.

Sanjay Poonen demonstrated the rapid availability of a set of apps on Android and iOS devices. (enlarge image)

With SSO (single sign-on), the user has one-click access to the various applications made available to him, whether SAP, Workday, Salesforce or DocuSign, as Sanjay Poonen’s demonstration showed. The presentation also highlighted the micro-segmentation capabilities of NSX network virtualization software which, when combined with AirWatch, allows access to certain elements in an application to be disabled, depending on the permissions granted or not (in the demo, a Balanced Scorecard-type decision-making application containing strategic information).

NSX Tomorrow: Connectivity with the Public Cloud

On NSX precisely, Martin Casado, CEO of the Networks and Security entity (NSBU), brought in one of the product’s oldest customers, the Dutch firm Schubert Philis, who chose the solution when it was still called Nicira. This IT engineering company has implemented an SDDC (software-defined datacenter) environment to provide sensitive applications to financial services and retail suppliers, in particular. Fens Kessen, engineer on these critical missions, came to illustrate the ease with which it was possible to intervene on the detection of problems. “For us, NSX is a bit like DevOps for networking,” he summed up meaningfully. Version 6.2 of the product was announced six weeks ago.

Fens Kessen, engineer at Schubert Philis, above in Barcelona, ​​sees in NSX a kind of DevOps for networking (enlarge the screen taken from his demonstration).

Finally, beyond the micro-segmentation and automation of all network and security services – features most used by customers – there are also requests for what has been brought to version 6.2, the connectivity between data centers. And for the future of the solution, what VMware is preparing is also intercloud connectivity, undoubtedly one of the most complicated subjects. This time, it was Guido Appenzeller, co-founder of Big Switch Network who arrived at VMware last year, who took control for a connection to the public cloud, in this case, that of Amazon. This was also a “preview” to access AWS and include it in its existing network domain. Today, VMware has 700 NSX customers, of which 150 to 200 have gone into full production for mission-critical business applications.

Above and below, NSX connects to the Amazon Web Services public cloud.

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