Special Coverage Series

Network Computing

Special Coverage Series


VMware NSX: Boom Or Bust For Security Vendors?

As VMware provides more firewall and other security functionality through its network virtualization platform, where does that leave security companies?

VMware's official unveiling of its NSX network virtualization platform touched off conversations about how the company's partners would fit into its future plans. While much of the focus has been on the impact the announcement will have on VMware's relationship with Cisco Systems, what's been overlooked in the Cisco-VMware brouhaha is how NSX may affect VMware's security partners. Industry analysts have mixed opinions.

"I think the NSX push at VMworld was actually great for vendors," says Forrester Research analyst Dave Bartoletti, adding that security vendors at last week's conference were happy about the renewed focus on networking and security.

More Insights

Webcasts

More >>

White Papers

More >>

Reports

More >>

"VMware's not going to be able to do it all in software better than everyone else--switching, routing, firewall, load balancing, etc.," he says.

In addition to integrating routing functions with switching in the hypervisor, VMware has built a stateful firewall capability directly into the hypervisor to offer distributed firewall inspection at each virtual switch port. According to the company, this firewall technology also enables stateful, logical insertion of partner devices and agents from vendors such as F5 and Palo Alto Networks.

Firewall providers shouldn’t be in danger of VMware encroaching on their territory for several reasons, says Jon Oltsik, senior principal analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.

"First, firewalls are really anchored by their management tools," he says. "Check Point users are pretty much married to CP management. Perhaps you will be able to manage a VMware instance from CP management, which could have an impact. The other thing I’m thinking is that firewalls are really expanding into next-generation firewall capabilities. VMware may get there, but I doubt whether it wants to go down that route."

Several vendors in the security space--including Symantec, Trend Micro, Rapid7 and McAfee--announced integration plans for NSX at VMworld.

"The NSX API allows our partners to integrate into management, data and control planes, and to augment the core capabilities of VMware NSX including logical firewall, load balancing, VPN, switching, routing, etc.," Hatem Naguib, VP of cloud networking and security at VMware, wrote in a blog post.

[Storage was a hot topic at VMworld, but storage innovation isn't just about virtualization. Read about the novel approaches to accelerate storage that were showcased at the conference in "Finding New Ways To Boost Storage Performance."]

While security vendors don't need to worry too much in the near-term about NSX, the future may not be too promising. Over the long term, it makes sense for VMware customers to take advantage of the security capabilities within the platform itself, Oltsik says.

"We’ve seen this before in the industry," he says. "For example, it used to be difficult to encrypt Oracle databases, so customers used third-party tools to accomplish this. When Oracle integrated encryption, however, it kind of killed the third-party encryption market."

There is an exception to this pattern. When large organizations have a very heterogeneous environment, they tend to go to third-party tools to manage everything, he says.

"Ultimately, VMware wins if it provides the right hooks into its platform for third-party security tools," he says. "This will help fuel a migration to its platform. It can then transition customers to native security tools over time. As cloud computing continues to gain traction, users will care less and less about security brands and more about security services."

Are you gearing up to refresh your network for the future? Do you want a deeper understanding of the technology foundation of the data center network for the next 10 years, including design principles for private and public cloud networking? Check out Greg Ferro's workshop, "Building Your Network For The Next 10 Years."



Related Reading



Network Computing encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Network Computing moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing/SPAM. Network Computing further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

 
Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | Please read our commenting policy.
 

Editor's Choice

Research: 2014 State of Server Technology

Research: 2014 State of Server Technology

Buying power and influence are rapidly shifting to service providers. Where does that leave enterprise IT? Not at the cutting edge, thatís for sure: Only 19% are increasing both the number and capability of servers, budgets are level or down for 60% and just 12% are using new micro technology.
Get full survey results now! »

Vendor Turf Wars

Vendor Turf Wars

The enterprise tech market used to be an orderly place, where vendors had clearly defined markets. No more. Driven both by increasing complexity and Wall Street demands for growth, big vendors are duking it out for primacy -- and refusing to work together for IT's benefit. Must we now pick a side, or is neutrality an option?
Get the Digital Issue »

WEBCAST: Software Defined Networking (SDN) First Steps

WEBCAST: Software Defined Networking (SDN) First Steps


Software defined networking encompasses several emerging technologies that bring programmable interfaces to data center networks and promise to make networks more observable and automated, as well as better suited to the specific needs of large virtualized data centers. Attend this webcast to learn the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging.
Register Today »

Related Content

From Our Sponsor

How Data Center Infrastructure Management Software Improves Planning and Cuts Operational Cost

How Data Center Infrastructure Management Software Improves Planning and Cuts Operational Cost

Business executives are challenging their IT staffs to convert data centers from cost centers into producers of business value. Data centers can make a significant impact to the bottom line by enabling the business to respond more quickly to market demands. This paper demonstrates, through a series of examples, how data center infrastructure management software tools can simplify operational processes, cut costs, and speed up information delivery.

Impact of Hot and Cold Aisle Containment on Data Center Temperature and Efficiency

Impact of Hot and Cold Aisle Containment on Data Center Temperature and Efficiency

Both hot-air and cold-air containment can improve the predictability and efficiency of traditional data center cooling systems. While both approaches minimize the mixing of hot and cold air, there are practical differences in implementation and operation that have significant consequences on work environment conditions, PUE, and economizer mode hours. The choice of hot-aisle containment over cold-aisle containment can save 43% in annual cooling system energy cost, corresponding to a 15% reduction in annualized PUE. This paper examines both methodologies and highlights the reasons why hot-aisle containment emerges as the preferred best practice for new data centers.

Monitoring Physical Threats in the Data Center

Monitoring Physical Threats in the Data Center

Traditional methodologies for monitoring the data center environment are no longer sufficient. With technologies such as blade servers driving up cooling demands and regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley driving up data security requirements, the physical environment in the data center must be watched more closely. While well understood protocols exist for monitoring physical devices such as UPS systems, computer room air conditioners, and fire suppression systems, there is a class of distributed monitoring points that is often ignored. This paper describes this class of threats, suggests approaches to deploying monitoring devices, and provides best practices in leveraging the collected data to reduce downtime.

Cooling Strategies for Ultra-High Density Racks and Blade Servers

Cooling Strategies for Ultra-High Density Racks and Blade Servers

Rack power of 10 kW per rack or more can result from the deployment of high density information technology equipment such as blade servers. This creates difficult cooling challenges in a data center environment where the industry average rack power consumption is under 2 kW. Five strategies for deploying ultra-high power racks are described, covering practical solutions for both new and existing data centers.

Power and Cooling Capacity Management for Data Centers

Power and Cooling Capacity Management for Data Centers

High density IT equipment stresses the power density capability of modern data centers. Installation and unmanaged proliferation of this equipment can lead to unexpected problems with power and cooling infrastructure including overheating, overloads, and loss of redundancy. The ability to measure and predict power and cooling capability at the rack enclosure level is required to ensure predictable performance and optimize use of the physical infrastructure resource. This paper describes the principles for achieving power and cooling capacity management.