7 Best Network Virtualization Software for 2023

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All forms of IT virtualization aim to create an abstraction layer between the physical hardware and the services and applications that use the hardware. In network virtualization, network functions, software resources and hardware resources are delivered virtually, independent of hardware. Network virtualization software streamlines the process of moving virtual machines between domains; there’s no need to spend time reconfiguring your network.

By using this software, you can construct an overlay network that runs multiple isolated virtual networks over the same physical infrastructure. It combines the available resources in a network by splitting up the available bandwidth into channels, each independent from the others and can be assigned (or reassigned) to a particular server or device in real time. As a result, it helps address many of the networking challenges within modern-day data centers. It also assists with consolidating any on-demand programming and provisioning of business networks while eliminating the need to make physical changes to the primary infrastructure.

There are several types of network virtualization, including network function virtualization (NFV), software-defined networking (SDN), and overlay virtual networks. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on your organization’s needs and infrastructure. Understanding the virtualization type is crucial for selecting the most suitable solution for your business.

Network virtualization has helped organizations achieve significant advances in speed, agility, and security by automating and simplifying many processes that go into running a data center network and managing networking and security in the cloud. In addition, it allows enterprises to streamline how they roll out, scale, and regulate workloads and resources to manage ever-increasing computing requirements effectively.

Beyond its potential to improve security, network virtualization represents an unprecedented business opportunity that could transform the global economy. Because commerce today relies on networks, the potential use cases of network virtualization apply to almost every sector of the economy. It’s no wonder that the market for virtualization software, in general, is projected to grow at a CAGR of 21.5%, according to a report by Mordor Intelligence. 

Here are our seven picks for the top network virtualization software.

Top network virtualization software comparison

FeatureVMware NSXCheck Point Virtual SystemsCisco Enterprise NFVMicrosoft Azure VMoVirtVagrantRed Hat OpenStack Platform
Virtualization TypeNetworkNetwork & SecurityNetworkHypervisorDatacenterEnvironmentNetwork
Platform SupportVMwareAnyCiscoWindowsLinuxMulti-platformLinux, OpenStack
Core FunctionalitySDN, SecurityFirewall, VPN, IPSNFV InfrastructureVM ManagementVM Management, DatacenterVM & Environment ManagementNFV, SDN, Service Orchestration
Multi-hypervisor Support
Distributed Firewall
Load Balancing
VPN Support
API & Automation
Open SourcePartial
Third-Party Integrations

Jump to:

VMware logo

VMware NSX: Best for zero-trust security

VMware NSX is a leading network virtualization software that provides an agile and secure infrastructure for cloud-native applications. It offers a comprehensive platform to manage virtualized networks, providing networking, security, and automation capabilities. 

With VMware NSX, organizations can quickly provision networking and security services with the built-in console in vCenter. This makes it easy to deploy zero-trust security between virtual machines.

NSX also allows organizations to create micro-segmentation policies that provide granular control over traffic flows within the data center. This helps to reduce the attack surface of applications and ensures that only authorized traffic is allowed through the network. In addition, NSX enables organizations to automate their network operations with advanced analytics and machine learning (ML) capabilities.

Overall, VMware NSX is an ideal choice for organizations seeking a comprehensive network virtualization solution that provides agility, automation, and cost savings while ensuring zero-trust security between virtual machines.


There are three editions of VMware NSX:

  • Professional
  • Advanced
  • Enterprise Plus

Each plan comes with a free trial and the option to test-drive the software via the Hands-on Lab feature. However, the vendor does not publish actual pricing information.


  • Multisite networking and security.
  • Advanced threat protection.
  • Lateral security.
  • L2-L7 network stack and overlay services.
  • Distributed firewalling.
  • Virtual private network (VPN) included.
  • Network automation.
  • Multi-cloud and on-premises support.
  • Network and micro-segmentation.


  • Provides a software-defined networking strategy that spans data centers, clouds, and application frameworks.
  • Brings networking and security closer to the application, regardless of where it runs.
  • Instant and programmatic provisioning for fast, highly available, and secure infrastructure.
  • Maximizes time savings and minimizes risk when managing distributed, multi-cloud environments.
  • A comprehensive suite of L2-L7 networking services, including routing, switching, load balancing, and firewalling.


  • Resource intensive.
  • Could better integrate with open-source products
Check Point logo

Check Point Virtual Systems: Best for network automation

Check Point Virtual Systems allows organizations to save money and simplify their network management by consolidating multiple security gateways into a single physical device. This solution not only helps you streamline your operations but also ensures an optimal level of protection for your data.

The product offers a wide range of features that make it ideal for network automation, such as automated policy enforcement, secure remote access, and unified management. It also supports advanced technologies such as cloud-based services, mobile devices, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Check Point Virtual Systems is also highly scalable and can be easily integrated with existing systems and applications. In addition, its intuitive user interface makes it easy to use and configure, even for those with limited technical knowledge.


The pricing for Check Point Virtual Systems is not publicly available. Prospective customers can contact Check Point Software Technologies for more information on pricing and licensing options, or request a free demo.


  • Unified management.
  • Secure remote access.
  • Intrusion prevention system.
  • Data theft prevention.
  • Application control and URL filtering.
  • Anti-malware protection.
  • Mobile device security.
  • Cloud-based services support.


  • Good for automating network virtualization.
  • Highly scalable and multi-tenant architecture enables organizations to deploy multiple virtualized security gateways on a single hardware device.
  • An intuitive user interface makes it easy to use and configure, even for those with limited technical knowledge.
  • Provides advanced technologies such as cloud-based services, mobile devices, and IoT devices.
  • Single point of management for security policies across virtual and physical environments.


  • New software versions are usually very resource intensive.
Cisco logo

Cisco Enterprise NFV: Best for Cisco infrastructure

Cisco Enterprise NFV is a top choice for network virtualization software because it’s designed specifically for Cisco-based infrastructure. It offers a range of features that are optimized for Cisco hardware and software, including:

  • Support for Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).
  • Integration with Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS).
  • Support for Cisco Network Services Orchestrator (NSO).


The pricing for Cisco Enterprise NFV is not publicly available. Prospective customers can contact Cisco Systems (or request to be contacted) for more information on pricing and licensing options.


  • Integration with Cisco ACI and UCS.
  • Dynamic service provisioning.
  • Auto-scaling of compute and storage resources.
  • Intelligent Network Automation (INA) for policy-based service provisioning.
  • Integration with Cisco NSO for unified management of physical and virtual networks.


  • Optimized for Cisco infrastructure.
  • Ability to quickly scale resources up or down as needed. Intelligent Network Automation allows for policy-based service provisioning and dynamic service provisioning.
  • Integration with Cisco UCS and NSO enables unified management of physical and virtual networks.


  • Some users have complained about the lack of modularized upgrade offerings.
Microsoft logo

Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines: Best for Windows Server environments

Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines is a virtualization system developed by Microsoft that enables users to create and maintain virtual machines (VMs). It’s a native hypervisor, meaning it can be used to virtualize hardware resources such as processors, memory, storage, and networking. It’s one of the most popular choices for network virtualization software due to its robust features and compatibility with Windows Server environments.

Microsoft Azure is an excellent choice for businesses looking for a reliable network virtualization solution that works well in Windows Server environments.


The pricing for Microsoft Azure varies depending on the version and type of license used. Customers can choose from a per-processor or per-user licensing model. In addition, new customers can start with a free account with $200 credit to use within 30 days.


  • VM management.
  • Storage management.
  • Virtual fiber channel.
  • SR-IOV networking.
  • Live migration of virtual machines between hosts.
  • Built-in high availability and scalability.


  • Compatible with Windows Server environments.
  • Live migration of VMs between hosts allows for easy scalability and high availability.
  • Built-in storage and network virtualization make it easy to manage resources.
  • Supports overlapping addresses, which makes it easier to support and requires less network reconfiguration by the hosting provider
  • Physical infrastructure maintenance and upgrades can be done without causing downtime of customer workloads.


  • It can be resource intensive.
  • Not as feature-rich as some other solutions.
oVirt logo

oVirt: Best open-source virtualization management solution

oVirt is an open-source virtualization management platform that provides a comprehensive solution for managing enterprise infrastructure. It was created by Red Hat and is based on the trusted KVM hypervisor, making it one of the most reliable and secure options available. 

oVirt offers a wide range of features, including virtual machine and floating disk management, container image interface support, and Ansible integration. It also has an easy-to-use graphical user interface that makes it simple to create, manage, and monitor virtual machines.


oVirt is available for free, and there are no licensing fees.


  • VM management.
  • Container image interface support.
  • Ansible integration.
  • Storage and network virtualization.
  • High availability and scalability features.


  • Free to use with no licensing fees.
  • Easy to use and manage.
  • Comprehensive virtualization management features.
  • Integrates with Ansible for added automation capabilities.
  • Supports multiple hypervisors, including KVM and Xen.
  • Highly scalable and customizable with plugins and extensions.


  • Not as feature-rich as some other solutions.
  • It may require additional hardware resources to support the VMs being managed.
HashiCorp Vagrant logo

Vagrant: Best for rapid development and testing

Vagrant by Hashicorp is a great tool for automating the development and deployment of VMs. It provides an easy-to-use command line interface for creating, managing, and deploying VMs in any environment. Vagrant simplifies the process of creating and maintaining multiple virtual instances by providing a single command line script that can be used to quickly deploy and configure VMs.

Vagrant sets up machines on VirtualBox, VMware, AWS, or other providers using industry-standard provisioning tools like shell scripts, Chef, and Puppet. These can then be used to automatically install and configure software onto your VM in a quick and hassle-free manner.


Self-managed Vagrant is available for free. However, if you want to use Vagrant with a provider like AWS, DigitalOcean, or VMware, you’ll need to pay for the provider’s services. The pricing for these services varies depending on the provider and the services you choose. You can find more information about the pricing options for each provider on their respective websites.


  • VM management.
  • Compatible with the most popular virtualization platforms.
  • Supports multiple operating systems.
  • Rapidly configures software on VMs.


  • Quick and easy to set up and configure VMs.
  • Allows for rapid development and testing of applications.
  • Integrates with industry-standard provisioning tools.
  • Detailed documentation.


  • The command line in Vagrant and its initial deployment features is perceived by some users as difficult to grasp.
Red Hat logo

Red Hat OpenStack Platform: Best for large-scale deployments

The Red Hat OpenStack Platform is a comprehensive virtualization platform that enables enterprises to quickly, efficiently, and securely deploy cloud services and applications. It provides an open environment that allows organizations to build, test, and deploy their own custom software solutions using Red Hat’s Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) function, without worrying about complex network infrastructure configuration or security. NFV also helps organizations to increase resource efficiency and improve cost savings by utilizing the same hardware for multiple applications.


The cost of the solution depends on a number of factors, such as the size of your organization, the number of virtualized network functions you need to support, and the level of support you require. The vendor does not publish actual pricing information. You can contact Red Hat for more information about the pricing options for the solution.


  • Virtualization of network functions and services.
  • High availability and scalability.
  • Automated provisioning of resources.
  • Integration with Ansible, OpenStack, and Kubernetes.
  • Supports a wide range of virtualized environments such as VMware, KVM, OpenStack, and more.


  • Based on open-source software.
  • Highly scalable and customizable with plugins and extensions.
  • Integrates with Ansible for added automation capabilities.
  • Supports multiple hypervisor technologies, including KVM and Xen.


  • The software can be complex to set up and configure.
  • It may require a significant investment in hardware and infrastructure to support the virtualized network functions.
  • It may also require specialized skills and expertise to manage and maintain.

Key features of network virtualization software

No matter what network virtualization software solution you choose, there are some key features that all good solutions should provide, including multi-platform and multi-hypervisor support, distributed firewalls and VPN, load balancing, and Application Programming Interface (API) integrations and automation.

Platform support

Platform support refers to the compatibility of the network virtualization solution with different operating systems, hypervisors, and hardware platforms. A good solution should support a wide range of platforms, including popular ones like Windows, Linux, and VMware, to ensure seamless integration with your existing infrastructure and minimize potential compatibility issues.

Core functionality

This encompasses the primary features and capabilities of the network virtualization solution, such as creating, managing, and monitoring virtual networks, as well as provisioning and configuring virtual network devices. It’s important to evaluate the core functionality of a solution to ensure that it meets your organization’s specific requirements for network virtualization.

Multi-hypervisor support

Some network virtualization solutions can work with multiple hypervisors, allowing you to manage and orchestrate virtual networks across different virtualization environments. This feature is beneficial if your organization uses more than one hypervisor or if you plan to migrate to a different hypervisor in the future.

Distributed firewall

A distributed firewall is a feature that provides granular security controls at the virtual network level. It enables you to create and enforce security policies for each virtual network, isolating them from one another and protecting your organization’s resources from potential threats. This feature is essential for maintaining a secure virtual network environment.

Load balancing

Load balancing is the process of distributing network traffic across multiple servers or resources to ensure optimal utilization and performance. A network virtualization solution with load-balancing capabilities can help you manage traffic efficiently and avoid potential bottlenecks in your virtual networks.

VPN support

VPN support is a feature that enables secure, encrypted communication between remote users and your organization’s network resources. A network virtualization solution with VPN support allows you to extend your virtual networks to remote users, ensuring secure access to critical resources.

APIs and automation

APIs and automation features allow you to integrate the network virtualization solution with other tools and systems, such as monitoring, orchestration, and management platforms. This helps streamline operations, reduce manual intervention, and improve overall efficiency. A solution with robust API and automation capabilities can save your organization time and resources in managing your virtual networks.

How do I choose the best network virtualization software for my business?

Choosing the best network virtualization software for your business can be a daunting task. It’s important to evaluate each solution based on its core features, platform support, scalability, cost, and security capabilities. 

Also consider the complexity of deployment and management and the expertise required to set up and maintain the solution. 

Finally, assess whether the solution has APIs and automation capabilities to help streamline operations. 

Taking all these factors into account can help you make an informed decision that meets your organization’s specific requirements for network virtualization.


We created this list to provide an overview of the best network virtualization software solutions available. We conducted extensive research and evaluated each solution based on the key features noted above. We also considered customer sentiments and ratings from online reviews. Ultimately, our goal was to provide an objective list of network virtualization solutions to help organizations make informed decisions when choosing a solution for their needs.

See also

Kihara Kimachia
Kihara Kimachia
Kihara Kimachia is a writer and digital marketing consultant with over a decade of experience covering issues in emerging technology and innovation. In addition to appearing regularly in Enterprise Networking Planet, his work has been published in many leading technology publications, including TechRepublic, eSecurity Planet, Server Watch, Channel Insider, IT Business Edge, and Enterprise Storage Forum.

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