Earlier this week, VMware announced the release of its new network virtualization platform, NSX. The tool combines the company's suite of virtual network technologies and Nicira's virtual network overlay technology, bringing a full stack of logical network functionality to the virtual environment. VMware has also partnered with an ecosystem of vendors to more directly tie NSX virtual networks to the underlying physical network at multiple layers.
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Despite the excitement surrounding the release, many vendor experts -- and Twitter users -- see issues with NSX. As SearchSDN News Editor Shamus McGillicuddy pointed out, even though there's integrated hardware from multiple partners to serve as NSX service gateways, virtual and physical network operations remain mostly isolated -- something many experts see as an issue.
Additionally, many are taking to Twitter to discuss whether NSX will displace networking professionals now that server admins will have so much networking control. McGillicuddy wrote that both VMware's CEO Pat Gelsinger and Chief Network Architect Martin Casado aimed their keynote presentations at server and virtualization pros, begging the question: Who is VMware selling NSX to? Some fear NSX will result in server and virtualization admins provisioning and managing virtual networks in parallel redundancy to network engineers running physical infrastructures.
With all the conflicting opinions on VMware NSX, it's no surprise Twitter saw a stream of tweets from users who very clearly identified NSX as both "the best SDN strategy available," and conversely, a platform that leaves much to be desired. We scoped out Twitter conversations between SearchSDN's Executive Editor Rivka Gewirtz Little and industry heavyweights, including blogger Tom Hollingsworth and Cisco's Lauren Cooney, to see what users are really saying at VMware NSX.
VMware NSX equals the Porsche Boxster?
Underlays and overlays will remain separate for the foreseeable future with no thanks to NSX, tweeted Networking Nerd's Tom Hollingsworth. In a conversation with Little, Hollingsworth likened NSX to a tool that "hides the important bits from users."
@networkingnerd Meaning?— Rivka Gewirtz Little (@RivkaLittle) August 27, 2013
@RivkaLittle Hide the important bits from the users. Until something really gets mucked up. Then you have to tear it all apart.— Tom Hollingsworth (@networkingnerd) August 27, 2013
@networkingnerd Any fixing this? (not that later models helped the Boxster)— Rivka Gewirtz Little (@RivkaLittle) August 27, 2013
@RivkaLittle Right now, probably not. The owners (users) are happy about abstraction. The mechanics love the work.— Tom Hollingsworth (@networkingnerd) August 27, 2013
@RivkaLittle If everyone's happy with the model, go for it. Just remember what's need to support all the pieces.— Tom Hollingsworth (@networkingnerd) August 27, 2013
@networkingnerd Can't you do overlay networking through other means? (SDN maybe?)— Rivka Gewirtz Little (@RivkaLittle) August 27, 2013
@RivkaLittle Yes, you could. But that's networking folks doing it. The server guys are going to get in on the act now, and NSX is it.— Tom Hollingsworth (@networkingnerd) August 27, 2013
@networkingnerd Two networks -- one physical, one virtual -- run by two different teams at once -- the new world.— Rivka Gewirtz Little (@RivkaLittle) August 27, 2013
@RivkaLittle No, two networks. One cabled by people, the other run by a single guy writing scripts. The future world.— Tom Hollingsworth (@networkingnerd) August 27, 2013
@networkingnerd At what point will they need to come together? Or will they ever need to?— Rivka Gewirtz Little (@RivkaLittle) August 27, 2013
@RivkaLittle As provisioned now, they won't. Underlays and overlays will be separate.— Tom Hollingsworth (@networkingnerd) August 27, 2013
VMware NSX is the best SDN strategy available
It's really that plain and simple…or is it? Greg Ferro of Packet Pushers tweeted about NSX -- and welcomed a host of responses to which he replied -- saying there are a list of "buts" to address regarding NSX. (Ferro tweeted to users that he will be writing a blog post on issues with NSX shortly.) We can't help but point out that for this tweet alone, with 61 retweets and 14 favorites, that it's safe to say many folks in the industry agree with Ferro's statement.
Folks, VMware NSX is the real deal. It's simply the best SDN strategy available today & has a roadmap that you can't ignore. #VMworld— EtherealMind (@etherealmind) August 26, 2013
Cisco says 'no' to server admins as the new network pros
Cisco's Lauren Cooney responded to SearchSDN's Little on an article exploring whether or not NSX forces server admins to become networking professionals. In the conversation, Cooney questions why hypervisor professionals need to learn more about networking and discusses why -- without a "great base for the cake" -- apps, server storage, etc., "taste like crap overall…"