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VMworld 2018 Shows VMware Focus on SDN

Announcements at this week's VMworld conference in Las Vegas can be seen as a microcosm snapshot of the general industry trend away from hardware-centric solutions to the software-defined, a sweet spot for VMware's virtualization offerings.

The show serves to sharpen VMware's focus on the extension of software-defined networking (SDN) to cover local-area networks (SD-LAN) and even datacenter infrastructure (SDDC).

Nowhere is that focus more apparent than in the company's NSX offering, officially characterized as the company's network virtualization and security platform. "VMware NSX Data Center is the network virtualization platform for the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC), delivering networking and security entirely in software, abstracted from the underlying physical infrastructure."

During Monday's keynote address, NSX was interwoven throughout a series of announcements by CEO Pat Gelsinger, who at one point said, "we have over 7,500 customers running on NSX, and maybe the stat that I'm most proud of is 82 percent of the Fortune 100 has now adopted NSX. You have made NSX the standard for software-defined networking.

VMware's Focus on Sofware-Defined Everything
[Click on image for larger view.] CEO Pat Gelsinger Highlighted VMware's Focus on Software-Defined Everything (source: VMware).

At the conference, the company highlighted the new VMware NSX-T Data Center 2.3 edition, which it said extends advanced multi-cloud networking and security capabilities to the AWS and Microsoft Azure clouds along with on-premises environments.

"VMware is further extending multi-cloud support with support for NSX-T technology in VMware Cloud on AWS environments," the company said. "With this support, which is currently in preview, VMware Cloud on AWS customers will be able to implement micro-segmentation with the distributed firewall, grouping constructs, and advanced matching criteria such as security tags across software-defined data centers in VMware Cloud on AWS."

VMware strengthened its software-defined ties with AWS on several fronts, also announcing Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) on VMware. "Amazon RDS on VMware is a service that will make it easy for customers to set up, operate, and scale databases in VMware-based software-defined data centers and hybrid environments and to migrate them to AWS or VMware Cloud on AWS," VMware said. "Amazon RDS on VMware automates database management regardless of where the database is deployed, freeing up customers to focus on developing and tuning their applications. Available in the coming months, Amazon RDS on VMware will support Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL, and MariaDB databases."

While touting those and other software-centric innovations, Gelsinger foreshadowed even greater capabilities coming up with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

"In the past we would have described the software-defined data center but in the future we're calling it the self-driving data center," he said. "We are taking that same acronym and redefining it, right, because the self-driving data center is this deep infusion of AI and machine learning into the management and automation, into the storage, into the networking into vSphere, redefining the self-driving data center."

Fundamentally, Gelsinger said, the self-driving data center powered by AI and ML is going to be "an enormous advance."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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