VMware's New NSX-T Product: 5 Things Partners Need To Know

NSX-T Makes Its Debut

VMware's new NSX-T product, which the company launched on Thursday, has the networking world buzzing.

"It's an advanced version of NSX," said Ron Flax, vice president and chief technology officer at August Schell, a Rockville, Md.-based solution provider and longtime NSX partner. "NSX-T is really a completely holistic refresh of that original idea of virtual networks and security for open source."

Rajiv Ramaswami, COO, Products and Cloud Services for VMware, said its new NSX-T product enables networking and security management for new application frameworks and architectures that have diverse endpoints and technology stacks.

Here are five things VMware channel partners need to know about NSX-T regarding its targeted market, competitors and if it will replace the company's NSX product.

Is NSX-T Replacing NSX?

NSX-T is not a replacement product for NSX, but it was built primarily for non-vSphere environments. VMware still expects to the majority of its sales in 2017 will be through its NSX product line, according to Ramaswami.

"NSX-T is very focused on non-vShpere environments – for example, a developer cloud where people are working on KVM and OpenStack for instance. For those environments, we expect initial adoption of NSX-T," said Ramaswami. "From a channel partner perspective this year, the focus will continue to remain very much on the NSX product, not on NSX-T."

What Products Will Compete Against NSX-T In The Market?

Ramaswami said NSX-T would compete against Juniper Networks' Contrail product as well as products from Nuage Networks, a subsidiary of Nokia. Contrail is Juniper's software-defined networking management and control software solution.

Another competitor was Santa Clara, Calif.-based Plumgrid, although VMware acquired the IP assets and employees from the SDN startup in December. "There are people out there like Contrail, Nuage -- there used to be Plumgrid, but we acquired the Plumgrid assets last year. So that's one that's no longer there," he said.

Is NSX-T Hypervisor Agnostic?

Ramaswami said NSX-T is hypervisor agnostic, saying it is compatible to work on any hypervisor, not just vSphere.

"It's for forward-looking customers who are looking at building out their own private cloud, they're own automation system or looking at OpenStack," he said.

How Far Along Are NSX-T Deployments?

Ramaswami said VMware has a few beta customers who have deployed NSX-T, but it's still "very early days for us … NSX-T is going to start off small."

What Is the Future Of NSX-T?

The product's roadmap will eventually focus on container environments that are based on open source software.

"You're going to see us focus with NSX-T on those non-vShpere, KVM environments and OpenStack environments followed by container frameworks over time," said Ramaswami.

Additionally, VMware launched a new beta program on Thursday for customers interested in container networking and security for application frameworks that support the Container Network Interface (CNI) project.

"We are working closely with the [open source] community to create what we call, CNI, which will allow us to plug in NSX-T into all of the container frameworks," said Ramaswami.