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Martin Casado on the future of VMware-Nicira technology

Shamus McGillicuddy

In part one of our interview with Nicira co-founder Martin Casado, we learned about the OpenStack Quantum application programming interface and how it will change cloud networking and orchestration. In part 2, Casado shares some insights into the technology that will evolve from the VMware-Nicira deal. Specifically, Casado says we can expect a hypervisor-agnostic network virtualization platform that could be marketed as an independent product.

Networking is the one thing that you can't be a unilateralist with. The network touches everything. It's the network.

Martin Casado,
co-founder, Nicira

Within VMware, Nicira must be interested in moving up the stack into Layers 4 through 7.

Martin Casado: VMware already has a very mature L4 through L7 product in vShield Edge. I think it's the best in the industry. What Nicira had focused on was virtualizing L2 and L3, and on the fabric. So, I think you're going to see a coming together and integration of these two technologies to have a unified offering that offers from L2 through L7. Certainly we're very interested in virtualizing L4 through L7, I just don't want you to miss the fact that there already is a fairly mature product within VMware that does that, which is very much aligned with our strategy. So this will be a technical integration play more than developing new intellectual property.

Beyond that, what is the future of Nicira's technology inside of VMware at this point?

Casado: Prior to the acquisition … [Nicira's] goal was to change networking [to be an] independent product. And what we're doing in VMware is just that. We will have a product that is a virtual networking platform, that's independent of [the] hypervisor and cloud management stack. It will fundamentally change how you operate the network, just like VMware did for servers. The product direction hasn't changed. What has changed is there is great technology already within VMware that was previously tied to the VMware stack that gets integrated. The two technologies get integrated, and you end up with one product that has the potential of really changing the way we think and manage networks.

So, you would be able to provide features like vShield that are not tied to vSphere and ESX?

Casado: Exactly. Think about fully virtualized networks, including L4 through L7 services provided by vShield Edge that you can sell independently into any data center. Of course [they could be] very tightly integrated with vCloud Director and the ESX stack. But networking is the one thing that you can't be a unilateralist with. The network touches everything. It's the network.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Shamus McGillicuddy, News Director.


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