HP, Juniper All In With VMware's NSX Network Virtualization Platform

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HP Networking and Juniper Networks are throwing their weight behind VMware's emerging software-defined data center strategy, with both vendors revealing this week plans to leverage VMware's new NSX platform alongside their own next-generation networking solutions.

VMware's new NSX network virtualization platform was one of the virtualization giant's marquee announcements at the 10th annual VMworld conference, taking place this week in San Francisco.

The platform, based on VMware's vCloud Networking Security (vCNS) technology and that of Nicira, the software-defined networking (SDN) startup VMware bought for $1.2 billion last July, is meant to break through what VMware calls "physical network barriers," turning the high-end functions of switches, routers, firewalls and load-balancers into software that can run on commodity hardware.


[Related: VMware Expands Software-Defined Storage With New VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN)]

VMware positioned NSX as one of three pillars for its burgeoning software-defined data center strategy, a strategy that's poised to go toe-to-toe with that of VMware partner and networking market king Cisco.

VMware said more than 20 vendors are already part of the NSX partner ecosystem, with HP and Juniper being two of the biggest in that pool.

Hewlett-Packard, for its part, announced the HP-VMware networking solution, which will federate HP's Virtual Application Networks SDN Controller with the VMware NSX platform. According to Bethany Mayer, HP's senior vice president and general manager, Networking, the joint HP-VMware solution arms network administrators with a common control plane from which they can view and automate both physical and virtual networks.

"This is a big announcement for both companies," Mayer told CRN. "The idea here is that we have federated our SDN controller with the NSX virtualized network platform, and the goal there is to give the customer full visibility and control from the hypervisor all the way to the physical devices."

Mayer noted that, while virtualization overlays like VMware's NSX platform are well suited for ensuring network scalability, they don't necessarily provide users with full visibility into the underlying hardware components of that network. That, she said, is where HP's controller comes in.

"The problem with just having an overlay is that the customer can't necessarily know what's going on beneath the overlay, and that can cause a change in quality of service," Mayer said. "So being able to have them federated together, the customer gets very good programmability, automation and control, as well as visibility into their entire infrastructure."

Mayer said the HP-VMware networking solution will be available sometime in the second half of 2014, and it will be sold through both HP and VMware channel partners.

NEXT: Juniper's NSX Play

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