VMware Adds NSX, Pay-As-You-Go Pricing To Lure Customers To Its Public Cloud

VMware earlier this week added NSX software-defined networking to its vCloud Air public cloud, and some partners see this as a shrewd move to showcase the technology's versatility to customers.

VMware's main selling point for NSX is "micro-segmentation," which is designed to prevent an attacker who gains access to an application or virtual machine from moving laterally to other parts of the network. In a press release Tuesday, VMware said this is "unique" in the public cloud market.

NSX also enables Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) and Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) routing in vCloud Air, which is seen as a key to making hybrid clouds simpler to manage, according to VMware.

All of these advanced networking features will be available by the end of June, VMware said.

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Jason Nash, CTO at Varrow, a Greensboro, N.C.-based VMware partner, told CRN he sees NSX on vCloud as a way for VMware to get more customers familiar with the technology's benefits.

"Right now you'll get a bit of micro-segmentation, virtual networks and dynamic routing support. That's a great start," Nash said.

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The network security angle is especially important; Nash said more than 90 percent of his NSX discussions with customers are focused on this particular point.

Nash expects that VMware customers will eventually be able to apply security and network policies via NSX in their own data center, and to move those workloads with those policies to vCloud Air.

"I see this as the 1.0 release, but it shows the NSX foundations are now there, and they can build upon that," said Nash.

Jamie Shepard, senior vice president of strategy and health care at Lumenate, a Dallas-based VMware partner, said putting NSX in vCloud Air will make it easier for customers to deploy and use public cloud while keeping their security and compliance concerns in check.

Shepard expects VMware to bring additional features to vCloud Air in the future.

"This is phase one. VMware's not trying to do everything all at once, they're more focused on what their customers needs are with regards to public cloud adoption, while integrating the whole vRealize Suite for automation and self-service portals," Shepard said.

VMware said it's also beefing up its vCloud Air disaster recovery service, making it easier for customers to replicate workloads from its public cloud to their data centers after an incident happens. They can also roll back to earlier snapshots of their data center if they get hacked or their data gets corrupted.

In another big cloud milestone, VMware is now offering pay-as-you-go pricing and letting customers sign up for vCloud Air online using a credit card.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor said it's going to offer volume discounts on vCloud Air services for customers that pay up front, and will make that available in the second half of the year.