Kathy Gibson is at VMware Explore in Barcelona – Arguably the biggest challenge for CIOs and CEOs today is the mounting security threat.

“And now there is a new battleground in security,” says Raghu Raghuran, CEO of VMware. “We call it lateral security.

“Customers have invested in protecting the boundaries of their organisation – but intruders still get through, and it’s really just a matter of when.

“And, once they are in, they are able to move laterally across your systems.

“Conventional security approaches cannot solve this problem,” he adds. “There are not enough security appliances to put between every VM and every server.

“But NSX uniquely solves this problem. It sits alongside the hypervisors and kubernetes to protect your system. It solves lateral security with zero appliances

“This is the last mile of zero trust security,” Raghuran says.

But VMware goes further, with its Project Northstar aiming to control all network traffic regardless of where it connects, Raghuran adds.

Announced in technology preview at VMware Explore US, VMware’s Project Northstar aims to accelerate the enterprise application and cloud journey by simplifying how networking and security services are consumed in a multi-cloud world.

Project Northstar delivers multi-cloud networking, security, workload mobility, and end-to-end threat detection and response from a centralised management console that helps customers achieve consistent policy, automation, and simplified software-as-a-service (SaaS) consumption across private and public clouds.

Today, VMware unveiled VMware HCX+ and enhancements to the VMware NSX ALB PULSE Cloud Service to help enterprises embrace the cloud operating model with centralised management, orchestration, and observability across their cloud networking infrastructure.

“As enterprises move to a multi-cloud world, they must reevaluate how they connect, secure, and manage applications and workloads distributed across private and public cloud environments. Traditional network architecture and tools have not kept pace with the enterprise’s cloud transformation, leading to complexity and operational challenges in managing multi-cloud infrastructure,” says Umesh Mahajan, senior vice-president and GM for VMware’s Networking and Security business unit. “By enabling consistent policy, operations, and automation across multiple cloud environments, Project Northstar represents the future of cloud-smart networking and security services delivered via a flexible subscription model.”

VMware HCX+ aims to be a fully managed workload migration and mobility as-a-service that will provide centralised management, orchestration, and observability for workload migration, repatriation, and rebalancing initiatives across multi-cloud environments. With HCX+, customers will benefit from a dashboard view of their multi-site connectivity and migration activities, helping them accelerate their large-scale workload migration projects seamlessly, securely, and with minimal downtime.

“VMware HCX+ will give us the ability to accelerate and execute large, multi-cloud migration projects with ease. With HCX we can centrally manage workload mobility across our multiple sites with a high degree of operational efficiency,” says Brian Gay, IT systems engineer at Health New England. “We worked with the VMware HCX team during the early stages of the product and provided feedback. We are excited about the success of HCX+ and are eager to see what more it can enable for us.”

VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer’s PULSE Cloud Service will enable customers to simplify and improve agility across their multi-cloud environments, delivering centralised licensing, threat telemetry, and proactive support. VMware is announcing a new unified dashboard that will provide customers with comprehensive visibility and inventory management of all cloud-enabled NSX-ALB controllers across their multi-cloud environments. Customers can gain deeper insight into application performance, infrastructure health, resource consumption, and license usage through the unified dashboard while simplifying operations and troubleshooting issues from a single location.

Project Northstar Services

Project Northstar is a major advancement of VMware NSX that aims to empower customers with a set of integrated on-demand multi-cloud networking and security services. Project Northstar includes:

* Centralised Policy Management: Customers will be able to manage networking and security policies centrally across all their cloud environments, with integrated networking and security operations and troubleshooting.

* Security Planning and Visibility: The NSX Intelligence service will provide a comprehensive realtime view across a customer’s multi-cloud environment. It’s powered by a scalable data lake managed by VMware that ingests data on traffic flow and will provide recommendations for network and security policies across multi-cloud deployments. Network Traffic Analysis (NTA) will provide further insights into threats and detect behavioural anomalies.

* Network Detection and Response (NDR): The NDR service will provide scalable threat detection and response for workloads deployed across multi-clouds. The NDR correlation engine will analyse IDPS, malware, and anomaly events based on threat campaigns, which helps customers prevent alert overload and simplify SOC monitoring processes.

* Advanced Load Balancing: The advanced load balancing (ALB) cloud service and hosted controller capabilities will be supported on VMware Cloud, followed by public clouds and on-prem and will implement the controller as a VMware-managed service that can be used standalone or in conjunction with other Project Northstar SaaS services.

* Workload Migration and Mobility: With VMware HCX+, VMware is working towards offering a fully managed workload migration and mobility as-a-service to customers. With this solution, customers will have the ability to centrally orchestrate secure connectivity across multiple sites and help plan and manage migration and mobility across those sites.

Project Northstar represents a strategic shift to deliver these services across on-prem, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments via a SaaS delivery model.