Why Network Virtualization Is the ‘Single Greatest Infrastructure Transformation’

Addressing his keynote audience at VMworld 2016, Rajiv Ramaswami, VMware’s general manager and executive vice president for networking and security, referred to network virtualization as “the single greatest infrastructure transformation I personally have ever seen.” And he cited the enhanced security, automation, and continuity provided by VMware NSX™ as a key enabler.

NSX has seen customer growth of 400 percent over the past 18 months and now has over 1,700 customers, prompting Ramaswami to declare, “We are mainstream.”

He noted that although networking has evolved over the past few years from a vertically-integrated, hardware-centric model to a software-centric model, many customers “still struggle with age-old infrastructure challenges.” Primary among these are security, automation and provisioning, and availability.


According to Ponemon Institute’s 2016 Cost of Data Breach report, the average cost of a data breach is four million dollars, with some cases going as high as one billion. To address this crucial issue, VMware introduced what has become a new industry standard: NSX with micro-segmentation. “For the first time, it is possible to provide fine-grained security with enforcement distributed to every VM in your data center,” stated Ramaswami.


It has never been more important for IT to keep pace with business needs, and traditional networking has stunted progress. “Sure,” said Ramaswami, “it might take you fifteen minutes to provision your VM, but then it takes weeks to get the network resources provisioned because networking and security aren’t automated.” NSX eliminates the manual intervention previously required for networking changes, allowing IT to keep in step with the business.

Disaster Recovery

Another business imperative is application continuity. Technology for automating disaster recovery across compute and storage resources has been possible, but networking lagged behind. Now, with NSX, this crucial piece can also be automated to ensure that the lights are kept on 24/7.

Customer Successes

Ramaswami cited onstage Westbend Mutual Insurance as an example of how VMware customers are addressing these challenges. “They have made a promise to their customers, and a data breach would break that trust. They’re using micro-segmentation as an essential tool for preventing that risk.”

Another customer, Baystate Health, is running its applications across three data centers with the help of NSX, achieving high-availability disaster avoidance and faster response times—with savings of over seven million dollars, compared to traditional approaches.

Old Challenges, a New Vision

Ultimately, IT’s goals have not changed. They still focus on application security, delivery, and continuity (i.e. availability). What has changed, however, are application architecture strategies and the infrastructure that supports them.

Ramaswami invited customers to join VMware on the NSX journey, as IT organizations will likely be running applications on a variety of architectures and frameworks, including containers and public clouds. Regardless of where those apps run or what form they take, VMware will be there to help manage, speed up, and secure them. That, according to Ramaswami, is the NSX vision.

Watch this highlight from Ramaswami’s keynote, in which he demonstrates the best way to get started with, operationalize, and deploy NSX.