Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Future of Network Virtualization with NSX

Bruce Davie, who lead the team that created MPLS, spoke about some of the new features in NSX 6.2.  He started talking about hardware VTEPs (VXLAN Tunnel Endpoints) and how they are currently just L2 bridges. It looks like they will be adding all of the Firewall, Load-Balancing, and Routing capabilities soon.

Bruce also showed a great demo of the Root-Cause analysis for physical paths that is being included with the vRealize Operations product.   With the growing use of overlay networks to carry traffic around the datacenter, the borders have really blurred and troubleshooting is understandably more complicated.   In his demo he showed a leaf spine archetecture using ECMP that had a switch port go down.  vRealize can now show the entire physical path as well as the logical path and was able to easily show which specific switch and port were causing the issue!

Also, he spoke about the new distributed load balancing features being introduced with NSX 6.2.  I love this idea of scale out network services.. and something I did not realize, was that the load balancers are context aware in their decisions.   For example, the balancing can happen based on actual network or CPU load of a node rather than just equally splitting the connections per node.

It was a great talk and really opened my eyes to how far NSX has come in just 18 months.

vCenter Appliance as a "First Choice"

This session discussed how the Appliance under v6.0 has been brought to parity with the Windows vCenter installations as far as the maximum size supported.  The appliance has come a long way from it's first iteration that had a maximum of 5 hosts and 50 VMs.  Today the numbers are the same for both platforms at 1000 hosts and 10,000 VMs.

Here's a summary of my notes:
  • Faster Deployment and lower TCO
    • No Windows or SQL licenses required
    • Single VM covers both the database and the vCenter services
  • Security Hardened SUSE 11 SP3
    • They have a dedicated team @ VMware to tuning the appliance for security and resiliency
  • Large sized appliance actually outperforms the Windows vCenter in transactions / sec
  • New features coming in 6.0 U1 (Q3-Q4)
    • Converting to external PSC will finally be supported
    • VAMI appliance configuration page is back and written in HTML5!
  • Migration tool (Fling) available to Migrate 5.5 and 6.0 from Windows to the Appliance
    • The was a demo that shows the web interface, which allows you to migrate just the configuration data, or the data plus historical stats (performance data