Data center networking requirements have evolved rapidly, with emerging technologies increasingly focused on supporting more automation and simplified operations in virtualized data centers. We focus on how vendors are meeting the emerging requirements of data center architects.
VMware is a new entrant to the Data Center Networking Magic Quadrant, due to the introduction of its NSX overlay solution and its large installed base of distributed virtual switches in virtual server deployments. The NSX solution is an innovative approach to solving long-standing network provisioning bottlenecks within the data center, and it allows for the integration of switching, routing and upper-layer services into an integrated application and network orchestration platform. With an overlay solution that may not require hardware upgrades, VMware offers enterprises a potentially quicker way of taking advantage of SDN capabilities. The NSX solution should be considered by existing VMware customers as a way of providing network agility and reducing network operational challenges within the data center.
VMware NSX provides a way to bring network agility to existing network deployments with limited impact to existing network hardware. This approach simplifies the day-to-day network operations required to deal with application changes.
VMware NSX may offer a cost-effective solution, assuming that the existing infrastructure has appropriate scale, capacity and performance to meet application requirements, and that enterprises have negotiated appropriate discounts from the vendor.
VMware NSX works across many IP-based network installations and in virtual environments running mainstream hypervisors.
VMware has established relationships with a broad set of IT vendor partners to provide integration of security and optimization solutions, as well as key network hardware players, such as Arista Networks, Brocade, Dell, HP and Juniper Networks.
VMware NSX is a new product and there are a very limited number of production deployments in mainstream enterprise.
VMware does not offer network hardware, and enterprises must still acquire, provision and manage the foundational aspects of the physical network.
The NSX solution has limited control of the underlay network. It is imperative for customers to ensure that VMware’s assumptions of adequate performance, scale and resiliency are available in the physical network to meet current and future application deployments. Visibility is improving through the integration into traditional network management tools.
VMware also offers rudimentary upper-layer services within a distributed and scalable framework. Enterprises should look to VMware partnerships to integrate with existing security, application delivery controller ADC and WAN optimization capabilities, while continuing to monitor VMware’s upper-layer offerings.
Enterprises must evaluate the total cost of NSX deployments. Although we often find that NSX is a lower-cost solution when the existing network can meet existing and planned capacity requirements, there is a very large range of VMware pricing and discounting in the market that customers need to consider and evaluate. In situations when network upgrades are required, the comparison will not be as favorable.
Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Center Networking