The second common way new technology is adopted is through independent pieces all configured together by customers, almost like Lego building blocks. In these deployments, NSX will be a component in this system. Even if you're not running VMware, let's say you're using OpenStack or NVP from Nicira, NSX would be an upgrade into that system allowing virtual networking capabilities.
[ MORE SDN: Killer apps for SDN deployments ]
So can all my existing Cisco or other networking gear works with this?
Just like with VMware's ESX hypervisor, it's not like you're buying new hardware or that this obviates hardware. You install this on your existing networking gear, your existing hardware gear. It's a non-disruptive deployment to the hardware, so you can use whatever gear you want. What it is disrupting is the provisioning, and that's where it adds immediate value. It will require some new bits, like a cluster controller and some new software, but this should be a seamless upgrade for most customers.
What advantages does a customer get with virtual networking?
The primary benefit is the time it takes for you to do anything you want to do on the networking side. Virtual networking drastically reduces the provisioning time of network resources. In an age where IT lives and dies by the time it takes to get things done, that's an advantage. The second is the operational overhead; easier deployment of resources reduces the chances of mistakes. And third, there is a capital element here; now customers have a choice of what networking gear they want to deploy, which is something many customers don't have today.
What about the higher-level networking stuff -- the ELBs, firewalls, etc.?
One area we really hope to differentiate on is VMware's long history of being a partner-focused company. We're hoping any existing Layer 4-7 device would be available in this new world. We think we're adding a lot of value to the networking side, and we're hoping to integrate existing network components in with that. VMware will have some load balancers and VM provisioning, but we'll also work with partners to offer choices to customers.
Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.