An Independant Look at NSX-T

I always look forward to this time of year, the week between Christmas and New Year’s where most of the tech community has shut down, and emails trickle in.  This week is always the week where I update certifications and play with new technologies.   This week I updated my VMware VCP-NV certification.  At the VMware Insiders lunch at VMworld 2018, we were told that the recertification would be changed to require testing every 3 years.  Unfortunately, that has not changed yet, so $250 later I have renewed my certification for the third time.     

With my certification out of the way, now is the fun part, I get to play and get some hands-on experience with newish products.  I have been anticipating NSX-T for quite some time, as NSX-MH fell short on features.   NSX-V is designed for vSphere only deployments, although most of my customers use vSphere there are those that do not, and don’t want to be tied to only using vSphere in the future.   NSX-T changes the game by working with vSphere and KVM, as well as OpenStack, Kubernetes, and Docker.  NSX-T 2.3 introduced Bare Metal server support, since no hypervisor is required Open vSwitch (OVS) is used to allow any Linux host to be an NSX-T transport host.   I am disappointed that Hyper-V integration is not available.  This is likely because OVS only works with Linux.   I asked a VMware SE why Hyper-V was not included, and the response was that there was a very small demand for integration with Hyper-V.  There are 28,687 companies using Microsoft Hyper-V according to iDataLabs, this equates to 13.3% of the virtualization market.  I hope that NSX-T will include Hyper-V in a future update.

With the emphasis on hybrid cloud, VMware was very forward thinking in its integration with VMware Photon Platform, it’s cloud centric operating system.  It also contains the NSX-T Container Networking Interface plugin that allows developers to configure network connectivity for containers, giving them control of IaaS.  

There is not currently a migration path from NSX-V to NSX-T, this is due to the introduction of the Geneve protocol.   This was the first I have heard of Geneve, which stands for Generic Network Virtualization Encapsulation and is co-authored by VMware, Microsoft, Red Hat and Intel.  On a surface level it sounds much like VXLAN, I will have to do some digging to find out the differences.

80% or more of my NSX customers over the past four years have adopted it for the Microsegmentation use case.   NSX-T now provides that same level of security for virtual machines, containers, or bare metal, running on private or public cloud.  Any customer who is looking to modernize their data center and applications should look at NSX-T.