VMware Acquires Startup That Focuses On Making NSX Software-Defined Networking Better

NSX software-defined networking is rapidly becoming VMware's most important product, and now the vendor is moving to make it more valuable for enterprise customers.

VMware said Monday it's acquiring Arkin, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based startup whose software lets organizations keep track of traffic flows and security issues in virtualized and physical environments.

Terms of the deal, expected to close by the end of June, weren't disclosed.

[Related: Cisco And Nutanix Talking About Hyper-Convergence Partnership, But Details Not Yet Finalized]

Sponsored post

Arkin, founded in 2013 by a team that includes two former VMware managers, is a VMware partner that has built its technology to work with NSX software and with physical networking equipment from Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dell, Juniper and Arista.

VMware said it plans to integrate Arkin with its vRealize Suite of cloud management tools, adding network virtualization support to an offering that previously only worked with compute and storage.

Partners said Arkin fits with VMware's growing focus on networking and security. At the center of this strategy is NSX, which VMware pitches both as a way to make networks easier to manage and as a network security technology that controls "east-west" traffic flowing within a data center.

Ron Flax, vice president at August Schell, a Rockville, Md.-based VMware partner that sells NSX, said one of Arkin's biggest strengths is the graphical view it provides of an organization's physical and virtual networking environment.

Flax said VMware could use Arkin to show customers how NSX can boost network security, and to enable automated creation of distributed firewall groups and policies.

Scott Miller, director of data center at VMware partner World Wide Technology, said Arkin's accurate mapping of application dependencies solves one of the toughest challenges associated with software-defined data centers.

"This is a great enabler for VMware to help their clients truly consume vRealize Suite and NSX," he said.

Dominick Delfino, vice president of worldwide systems engineering at VMware, said in a blog post that Arkin will help speed sales and deployments of NSX.

Arkin "helps IT organizations to simplify planning and operations for NSX, allowing them to quickly scale NSX to thousands of applications," said Delfino in the blog post.

Arkin uses NSX metadata to do real-time analysis of "virtual machines, network streams, overlay-to-underlay mappings, and firewall rules," said Delfino.

"By correlating the cross-domain data, operations teams have full context and visibility of traffic flows while monitoring and troubleshooting issues," Delfino said.

VMware is seen as the centerpiece of Dell's pending acquisition of parent company EMC, which is expected to close by October. With sales of vSphere -- the vendor's main server virtualization product -- in steady decline, VMware is focusing on emerging technologies like NSX and VSAN virtual storage.

While partners told CRN they're surprised to see VMware making acquisitions at this stage of the game, they said it illustrates NSX's importance to the vendor's strategy of data centers running compute, storage and networking as virtualized software.

"This deal sends a strong message that VMware is maintaining their focus on the software-defined data center space. This is definitely a good message for customers," said Scott Trinque, president of EchoStor, a VMware partner in Hopkinton, Mass.