Data Centre

Virtualization

VMware’s NSX world domination plan advances with not-just-point release

Version 6.4 brings the NSX GUI to the vSphere client

By Simon Sharwood

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VMware’s made no secret of its ambitions for its NSX network virtualization product, which it thinks has the potential to be bigger than server virtualization as organisations start to spread resources out across multiple clouds and on-premises bit barn.

One way the company’s increasing NSX’s reach is finding ways to bake it into other products, so that its complexities are masked but all the fun of micro-segmentation and distributed encryption without having to wrap their heads around the nuances of networking. Another tactic is NSX-T, the recently-upgraded version of NSX aimed at cloud-native applications because it works with hypervisors other than VMware’s own.

And now VMWare’s given NSX - or NSX for vSphere to adopt VMware’s new language - a rather substantial upgrade to version 6.4. Among the most significant additions are the distributed firewall gaining the ability to discover application-based context at Layer 7, as in concert with the Identity Firewall gaining support for user sessions on remote desktop and application servers it means NSX can now start to understand each user’s traffic flows.

Significant integration with vSphere has also arrived, in the form of the NSX UI Plug-in for vSphere HTML 5 Client. This matters because it puts NSX management tools into the vSphere client many VMware admins use every day. There’s also compatibility with the old Flash-based vSphere Web Client, as VMware hasn’t quite finished its HTML 5 tool. Details of both are here.

The product’s also now able to enforce IP address rules on VMs that don’t run VMware Tools, a change that will make it simpler to put NSX to work

Another sign that VMware wants NSX to be more mainstream is the new “Upgrade Coordinator” that “provides a single portal to simplify the planning and execution of an NSX upgrade. Upgrade Coordinator provides a complete system view of all NSX components with current and target versions, upgrade progress meters, one-click or custom upgrade plans and pre- and post-checks. It’s needed: support for NSX 6.2 ends on August 20th, 2018.

There’s also a nod to modernity with the addition of JSON as an option for document formatting, although XML remains the standard.

The complete release notes for the update are here. ®

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