VMware said it will merge its vCloud networking and security product line with the recently acquired Nicira Network Virtualization Platform in a bid to chase the so-called software defined data center. The merged platform, VMware NSX, will launch in the second half.
The move puts some meat on the Nicira acquisition, which sparked a bit of a craze around software defined networks (SDNs). Today, almost every networking player is talking about SDNs, acquiring startups focused on that market and positioning for next-gen systems. Great Debate: Software defined networking: Hype or hope?
For VMware, the software defined data center could mean a bigger profit pie. After all, VMware has already virtualized servers for the most part, needs to move up the data center stack and has key alliances with parent EMC and Cisco Systems among others.
Pitching institutional investors in New York, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger outlined the company's key initiatives.
- In the second half, VMware will launch VMware NSX, which will offer network virtualization across VMware and non-VMware hypervisors. NSX will be positioned as a cloud management and networking system. The framework for NSX will be open. In a blog post, VMware noted:
The VMware NSX platform is assembled with five basic components: Controller Cluster, Hypervisor vSwitches, Gateways, Ecosystem partners, and NSX Manager.
- VMware also will focus on hybrid cloud deployments. The company will launch its vCloud Hybrid Service later in 2013 as a way to link management, orchestration, networking and security. The hybrid cloud services unit will be led by Bill Fathers, former president of Savvis, a cloud and hosting player.
- The other bet for VMware is managing multiple devices via its Horizon Suite, which was rolled out last month.
Going into the VMware powwow, investors were looking for clarity on the company's software defined data center strategy. Barclays analyst Raimo Lenschow noted that vCloud (now part of VMware NSX) uptake has been slower than expected. He said:
We will be looking for VMware to articulate for investors how it plans to execute on its refocused strategic initiatives, at its joint Strategic Forum with EMC next week. The most critical of these initiatives is the Software Defined Datacenter (SDD) vision, embodied by vCloud. We believe VMware has the best-in-class technology and a significant advantage with its vSphere install base, which will enable it to be a long term winner in the space. However, adoption is slower than with server virtualization, and the company continues to seek new methods to get partners educated and customers exposed to vCloud.