VMware announces new networking platform, Cisco rivals on board


VMware's (VMW -0.6%) VMworld product announcements have commenced. The most noteworthy is the introduction of VMware NSX, a management/virtualization platform that combines Nicira's software-defined networking (SDN) platform with the networking/security tools found in VMware's vCloud Suite (they allow virtual networking appliances to be set up). NSX is integrated with VMware's vSphere virtualization platform.

NSX allows VMware to offer a common platform for managing/configuring physical switches, virtual appliances, and the services delivered over them. It amounts to a fresh shot across VMware partner Cisco's (CSCO +0.4%) bow, since it shifts network intelligence away from Cisco's switches and related management tools, and could make it easier to replace Cisco hardware with commodity gear.

Cisco, which sold off when VMware's purchase of Nicira was announced, is attempting to counter VMware and other SDN players through its proprietary ONE SDN controller and related onePK API, both of which are set to be supported by the company's entire switch/router lineup.

Brocade (BRCD -0.8%) Vyatta virtual router unit has also been targeting the virtual appliance market.

Juniper (JNPR -0.2%), which is taking a more collaborative approach to SDN than Cisco (likely due to its smaller market position), plans to have its switches support NSX. Dell, H-P, and startup Arista are also on board.

Many of the initial hardware supporters are relying on Broadcom's (BRCM -0.6%) Trident II network processor. The chipmaker has long viewed SDN (thanks to its enabling of commodity switch use) as a growth opportunity.

Early users of NSX include Citi, eBay, and GE.

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