What is the VMware Virtual Cloud Network?

A couple of weeks ago, VMware launched the Virtual Cloud Network (VCN). It’s kind of obvious that this is a marketing term and not a specific product or service. However, it’s not all fluff and there is actually some good meat behind this announcement and I’ll dig into it in this post.

Overall Vision

To start, the overall vision for VCN is pretty clear:

The Virtual Cloud Network will enable businesses to connect, better secure, and optimize the delivery of applications and data in an era when a majority of workloads exist outside the data center. With a Virtual Cloud Network, customers will be able to create an end-to-end software-based network architecture that can deliver services to applications and data, wherever they are located.

This can be achieved by using the new networking & security portfolio which includes: NSX in the datacenter and public clouds (AWS & Azure), VeloCloud SD-WAN for transport over wide area networks, Hybrid Connect to efficiently transport VMs between locations and AppDefense to secure VMs and containers. Let’s not forget about vRealize Network Insight to provide all needed insights into the network.

Product Integration

When NSX first started out, it was a pretty singular product and did its job - but didn’t play with others. Today, it’s needed to provide more than just a single solution for a single problem - you need to have something that spans multiple domains and give you a single policy plane and insight into everything. Otherwise you’re going to end up with a lot of point solutions and waste a lot of time managing them all.

While it isn’t quite there yet, the idea is that all the products in the VCN will be able to work together. There is some awesome stuff in the works, like the NSX SD-WAN and NSX Data Center integration recently dispayed. Like vRealize Network Insight that has insights for the VCN. Like AppDefense that can tell NSX Data Center to quarantine workloads when it detects something fishy.

I’m especially curious on how NSX SD-WAN and NSX Data Center will further grow towards each other. It’d be cool if the control planes of both products start being one and the same, so management can happen from either side and it’s basically just 1 solution for both on-prem and in the WAN.

Hybrid Connect

Because the SD-WAN and Datacenter NSX versions are a good fit, the idea that Hybrid Connect should be in the same family is a no-brainer. This is an existing products that has joined the Networking & Security BU. For those who don’t know what Hybrid Connect (HCX) is; it’s pretty awesome. HCX provides migration (hot or cold) capabilities between environments that are not per se the same. For instance you can migrate VMs from vSphere 5.5 to vSphere 6.0 without too much hassle. It has integrated SD-WAN for WAN optimizations when sending the VMs across and encrypts data in-flight so you can send it over public connections.

Name Changes

Due to the expanding number of products in the VMware networking family, this announcement brings some name changes to the existing and new products.

  • NSX is now NSX Data Center
  • NSX for Cloud is now NSX Cloud
  • VeloCloud is now NSX SD-WAN by VeloCloud
  • vRealize Network Insight still has the same name
  • Hybrid Connect is now NSX Hybrid Connect (new)
  • AppDefense still has the same name

I’m looking forward to seeing this portfolio grow together and expand into the vision VMware highlighted with this announcement.