July 31, 2016
VMware is one of two developers at the forefront of the software defined networking (SDN) market. Their SDN solution, VMware NSX, is a software overly application that virtualizes the network and enables centralized management. In addition, NSX can also enable micro-segmentation of the network.
NSX was already a proven, viable solution for a wide range of environments—at the end of June, VMware made a move to purchase one of their technology partners and integrate their services natively into NSX. The partner was a small startup out of Sunnyvale, California named Arkin. The most idyllic part of this merger is that the Arkin solution was already designed to work specifically with NSX. By bringing them on board, NSX gains two new and significant capabilities:
- Advanced Metrics and Analytics
- Micro-segmentation Assistant
What is Software Defined Networking?
Software defined networking is the virtualization of the network. Much like in virtualized servers, the intelligence in networking equipment is removed from the switches and routers of the network and transformed into software. Rather than running new fiber throughout the data center, the networking team can spin up a new network in minutes from the management platform on their computers.
Additionally, NSX can be used for micro-segmentation. Because NSX allows you to establish networking rules for each virtual machine (VM) on the hypervisor, you can effectively create small firewalls around each individual VM. This prevents any malicious files that do make it into the network from spreading from VM to VM.
The Two Benefits Arkin Brings to the Table
Advanced Metrics and Analytics
NSX both simplifies network management and paves the way for networks to become far more complex. Companies gain the ability to spin up networks in minutes, which in turn, creates environments consisting of multiple networks being assembled and disassembled throughout the year.
In this type of environment, visibility into the networks is critical to the success of the business. Arkin software solutions delivers real-time metrics and analytics on the state of the network. It covers virtual machines, network streams, overlay-to-underlay mappings, and firewall rules in a clear user-friendly interface.
When undertaking any new project, the first step is the hardest, and taking the first step to micro-segment your network can be daunting. It is difficult to recognize which applications require what policies to successfully micro-segment.
The Arkin application is a perfect assistant in this endeavor. It analyzes the virtual machines on your network and begins to group them based on their compute requirements. Then, once the environment is segmented by application type, Arkin provides recommended templates for each of the groups it has created. These templates are, of course, modifiable, but it provides the network administrator with a launching point to fine-tune their network.
A Smart Move by NSX
The choice to purchase and absorb Arkin was a logical one. Arkin delivers a level of functionality poised to greatly benefit VMware, and Arkin is already designed to integrate specifically with the NSX application. This is a big step in the right direction for VMware as SDN continues to gain favor and appeal in the marketplace.
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