The arrival of NSX by the end of the year may ignite strong debate in the enterprise about adoption of software-defined networks, and the corporate VMware deployment team may find itself arguing with the Cisco networking group there on this topic. "The Cisco people will fight this," predicts MacDonald. It may well be that small- to mid-sized companies will wonder why they need NSX software-defined networking at all.
Server virtualization has become widespread in the enterprise, and VMware is now holding out a path toward network virtualization and software-defined networks. But MacDonald says because there's no public pricing yet for NSX, it's uncertain what the total cost of ownership of adopting VMware's network virtualization will be.
MacDonald adds that VMware, which is seeing a leveling out of server virtualization adoption, appears to be pushing forward into network virtualization as a means to generate new revenue growth. But the era of SDNs is just beginning and it may take several years for any of this to gain wide-scale acceptance, he points out.
To be sure, VMware and Cisco are cooperating on a number of technical areas associated with new VMware products, such as the early version of the VMware vSAN software-defined storage product -- a "virtual SAN" introduced Monday as well.
VMware storage product manager Alex Jauch spoke at the same VMworld conference session with Cisco product managers Roger Barlow and Kishan Ramaswamy to explain how vSAN can work on top of Cisco's UCS products, including the Cisco ISR G2 and the UCS E-Series blades, to enable redundancy in storage clusters across the network.
The vSAN offering is currently available free with vSphere 5.5, also announced Monday, and customers can register to get involved in the vSAN beta.
Raghu Raghuram, executive vice president for cloud infrastructure and management at VMware, said in unveiling the company's software-defined data center strategy that VMware is focused on creating the path that VMware's many enterprise customers can use to reliably transition into public and hybrid cloud deployments.
To that end, VMware is opening new data centers in Santa Clara, Dallas and Sterling, Va., in addition to its Las Vegas data center for its vCloud Hybrid Service, while making vCHS generally available. In the future, VMware expects to offer "disaster recovery as a service." In addition, data center and services provider Savvis is also supporting this VMware technology model in its Chicago and New York data centers.
Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org