VMware has announced that the number of Virtual Cloud Network customers now exceeds 15 000, including 89 of the Fortune 100 and eight of the top 10 telecommunications companies, and has grown on average 50% each fiscal year since May 2018.

VMware’s Virtual Cloud Network solution is an integral component of VMware Cloud Foundation, which is offered on all major hyperscale cloud providers – AWS, Azure, Alibaba Cloud, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud and Oracle Cloud – and enables VMware to make private clouds as efficient and agile as public clouds and support business continuity efforts.

The company also announced new networking and security innovations that will significantly enhance any company’s ability to deliver the public cloud experience on-premises. With the VMware NSX-T 3.0 and VMware vRealize Network Insight 5.2, enterprises gain higher levels of automation and insight for networking functions that span services from Layer 2 switching all the way to Layer 7 application firewall, load balancing and IDS/IPS filtering.

Seven years ago, VMware set out on a software-defined networking journey, de-coupling network functions from physical devices. This helped reduce application deployment times from months to minutes and made microsegmentation economically and operationally feasible to help stop the internal, lateral spread of malware.

Two years ago, VMware introduced the Virtual Cloud Network, extending virtual networking and security capabilities from edge to core to cloud for any workload running in virtual machines (VMs), containers, or bare metal.

Today, VMware believes its Virtual Cloud Network solution is the industry’s only complete Layer 2-7 virtual networking stack, delivering capabilities for switching, routing, firewalling, and SD-WAN completely in software for enterprise and telco/5G environments.

“Our Virtual Cloud Network solution is helping our customers provide the public cloud experience on-premise, removing the inefficient IT ticket requests and long waits for networking and security changes,” says Tom Gillis, senior vice-president and GM: networking and security business unit at VMware. “Across private, public and Telco clouds, and from the data center to the branch office, the Virtual Cloud Network has simplified networking, and saved customers time and money.

“Our data shows customers can experience as much as a 59% reduction in capital expenditures and 55% reduction in operational expenditures over traditional networking solutions.”

New features

Automation and replacement of legacy network and security infrastructure continue to be the key drivers for adoption of the Virtual Cloud Network. VMware is delivering new innovations against its vision for the Virtual Cloud Network as the enabler for delivering the public cloud experience on premises:

* Delivering the Public Cloud Experience: Adoption of cloud computing and support for digital business initiatives demand improved data center network agility and business continuity. NSX-T 3.0 introduces NSX Federation, enabling enterprises to deliver a cloud-like operating model with fault isolation domains and global policies that are synchronized across all locations. A fault isolation domain allows customers to better ensure that networks aren’t brittle. They will now be able to contain any network problems to a single zone minimizing the severity and impact of problems when they arise. VMware vRealize Network Insight 5.2 introduces flow-based application discovery across multiple VMware platforms using machine learning to better understand categorized applications by tier.

* Making Security Intrinsic: VMware is taking internal security to the next level following the introductions of the industry-first service-defined firewall and NSX Intelligence with the general availability of intrusion detection and prevention (IDS/IPS) capabilities for the service-defined Firewall. NSX Distributed IDS/IPS takes advantage of VMware’s unique intrinsic understanding of the services that make up applications to match IDS/IPS signatures to specific parts of the application. NSX Distributed IDS/IPS signatures are application specific and only applied to the appropriate servers, resulting in fewer false positives and significantly higher throughput. These capabilities enable efficiency and flexibility that cannot be matched by legacy and proprietary hardware-defined systems and are a major differentiator of the software-based scale-out approach of VMware NSX

* Full Stack Networking and Security for Modern Applications: Applications and microservices run on a wide variety of heterogenous endpoints such as VMs, containers, and bare metal servers, creating a challenge to consistently connect and secure them. NSX-T treats containers and VMs as first-class citizens, having supported Kubernetes platforms for more than two years. With the NSX-T 3.0 release, enterprises can extend its full stack container networking services including switching, routing, distributed firewall, micro-segmentation, and load balancing to the newly released VMware vSphere with Kubernetes and VMware Cloud Foundation 4 platforms, the VMware Tanzu portfolio, and non-VMware Kubernetes platforms.

* End-to-End Visibility and Analytics: VMware vRealize Network Insight, available as on-premises software or SaaS, provides end-to-end network visibility and analytics to optimize network performance and troubleshoot the entire Virtual Cloud Network, including the virtual overlay and physical underlay, and spanning data centers, multi-cloud environments, and branch locations. New flow-based application discovery leverages unsupervised learning, statistical techniques, enriched network flows, and advanced application labelling algorithms to discover application and tier boundaries, providing insights into network communication density, applications patterns, and enhanced security recommendations. Other enhancements include, AWS Direct Connect support, VMware SD-WAN application and business policy statistics, enhanced Kubernetes visibility and support for VMware NSX-T 3.0.

* Networking for Next-Generation Telco Clouds and 5G: With the Virtual Cloud Network, operators can build scalable networks to support 5G and edge strategies. VMware NSX plays a key role in accelerating network performance and efficient end-to-end network operations in the network core, serving as an SDN layer for virtual network functions. NSX-T 3.0 introduces capabilities such as L3 EVPN for VM mobility, multicast routing for scalable networking, and accelerated data plane performance. Additionally, VMware SD-WAN acts as an intelligent overlay in conjunction with 5G’s network sliced underlays to deliver more cost-effective, high-performance, application-aware services at the network edge

* Virtual Cloud Networking for Azure Edge Zones: VMware is working with Microsoft to offer SD-WAN solutions for Azure Edge Zones, which deliver Azure services and enable customers to seamlessly deploy and run Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) including VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud. The VMware SD-WAN solution is fully integrated with the Azure portal and will enable Zero Touch Provisioning across Azure Edge Zones while shielding customers from operations and VNF life cycle management complexities. VMware SD-WAN makes intelligent decisions based on network conditions and steers traffic on the optimal network path that meets SLAs and helps optimize the user experience for applications such as Office 365 or Microsoft Teams.

Empowering a remote workforce

With VMware NSX and SD-WAN, organizations can support business continuity with more secure, reliable access for traditional and SaaS applications, including VoIP, UCaaS, collaboration, and VDI, from providers such as Microsoft, Zoom, Vonage, Ring Central, Windstream.

With VMware NSX, customers can protect their remote workers who are using virtual desktops to access enterprise applications. NSX allows customers to easily microsegment and comprehensively enhance the security of their VDI environment without making any changes to their existing network infrastructure.

VMware SD-WAN delivers an optimal teleworking experience for work-at-home users. VMware SD-WAN recently released significant enhancements for enterprise routing and security, analytics, and management as well as specific enhancements for business continuity and work from home deployments.