VMware NSX Turns Two, Expands to the Cloud

Cross-datacenter vMotion? You can do that (soon) thanks to NSX 6.2.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Aug 31, 2015
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VMware first announced its NSX network virtualization technology during VMworld 2013. Now, two years later at VMworld 2015, the company claims to have over 100 production deployments and continues to evolve the technology.

With the new NSX 6.2 release, VMware is adding over 20 new features. One stands head and shoulders above the rest: Cross-vCenter Networking.
 During the VMworld Day 1 General Session Keynote, Yanbing Li, Vice President and General Manager, Storage and Availability at VMware, demonstrated the true power of NSX 6.2 and left the audience spellbound and applauding.

Li did an (apparently) live demo migrating from an on-premises VMware vSphere host to an off-premises vCloud Air deployment in Virginia. That's a live vMotion migration from private server virtualization to a public cloud deployment, which is something that has never been publicly demonstrated before. Li emphasized that NSX 6.2 is the key that enables the cross-datacenter vMotion to work.

The Cross-vCenter vMotion is enabled by way of the VLXAN protocol, which, by the way, VMware also helped to develop back in 2011. VXLAN is a Layer 2 overlay scheme over a Layer 3 network.

Additionally with NSX 6.2, VMware is adding Open vSwitch Database (OVSDB) support. VMware is a leading contributor to Open vSwitch and OVSDB. In fact, VMware engineers are listed on the IETF RFC for OVSDB.

"Open vSwitch is an open-source software switch designed to be used as a vswitch [virtual switch] in virtualized server environments," the IETF RFC explains. "Open vSwitch is open to programmatic extension and control using OpenFlow and the OVSDB (Open vSwitch Database) management protocol."

Going a step further, VMware is now also improving visibility into NSX environments with the new TraceFlow feature.

"Traceflow is a troubleshooting tool that helps identify if the problem is in the virtual or physical network," the NSX 6.2 release notes state. "It provides the ability to trace a packet from source to destination and helps observe how that packet passes through the various network functions in the virtual network."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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