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BLOG: Will VMware NSX reinvent data centre networking and security?

Jon Oltsik | Aug. 28, 2013
Great vision but IT skills, baggage, and intransigence present major obstacles ahead.

Common (and somewhat simplistic) wisdom is that NSX has the potential to marginalize Cisco but I just don't see it. Cisco still owns the enterprise market and has its own vision for SDN and network virtualization. And Cisco has been successful at warding off VMware in the past. In a 2011 ESG research study, 25% of enterprises claimed that they used native virtual switches from their hypervisor vendors while 46% used virtual switches from their networking vendor (i.e. Nexus 1000v) and another 24% used a combination of both. In other words, the majority of enterprises made Cisco part of the virtual switching equation. Maybe this time these Cisco advocates will alter their strategies but there is no historical evidence to suggest this type of behavior.

Ultimately, VMware's vision is caught in a kind of Alvin Toffler "Future Shock" vortex of "too much change in too short a time." In other words, IT needs to buy into concurrent technology, organizational, and process changes for NSX to really catch on. I agree with VMware that software agility, efficiency, and flexibility will ultimately make network and security virtualization too compelling to ignore. That said, I can't see VMware driving these major systemic IT changes anytime soon.


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