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This article is part of our Essential Guide: The essential guide to VMware NSX SDN technology

Which tools does NSX use for virtual network management?

NSX uses VMware services, such as vRealize Operations Manager and VMware Integrated OpenStack, and integrates with third-party platforms for security and virtual network management.

In addition to its own product portfolio, VMware has an extensive list of technology partners whose products and...

services integrate with the NSX network virtualization platform to provide security and virtual network management.

VMware management tools

The principal security and virtual network management tool for VMware NSX is NSX Manager.

NSX Manager has several facets: It can provide edge and security services for virtual networks, present a single-pane-of-glass view of available network services from both native and third-party services, and orchestrate the integration of native and third-party network services. NSX Manager uses policies to construct services, share context -- what's going on in the network -- and handle/log events.

NSX Manager also provides a REST API that other third-party tools can employ to automate NSX usage, which enables NSX to function with other automation, cloud management or security tools.

VMware's NSX network virtualization aims to eliminate the problems commonly associated with physical networks, such as error-prone and time-consuming manual configuration, by abstracting the network layer from the physical hardware. NSX uses microsegmentation to isolate VMs, which brings granular security to the virtual network, and REST APIs, which seamlessly integrate with third-party tools.

VMware currently offers four NSX licenses -- Standard, Advanced, Enterprise and Remote Office/Branch Office -- each with a different feature set.

When paired with other VMware products and services, NSX Manager is capable of supporting security audits, applying access controls to virtual networks, and integrating with other VMware and third-party tools.

For example, the NSX Manager virtual network management tool integrates with vRealize Automation for automated IT service delivery in heterogeneous and multi-cloud environments, as well as Log Insight for log management and analytics; vRealize Operations Manager to plan, manage, monitor, optimize and scale software-defined data centers and cloud environments; and VMware Integrated OpenStack to integrate NSX with cloud deployments.

Third-party management platforms

NSX also integrates with numerous third-party products and platforms for security and virtual network management. For example, the NSX Controller integrates with the Arista Extensible Operating System to share data, such as virtual extensible LAN tables (VXLAN), media access control addresses, gateway data and other topology information. The Dell Network OS integrates with NSX to provide a Layer 2 gateway for VXLAN tunnels managed by the NSX Controller.

NSX integrates with many platforms, such as AlgoSec Security Management, which delivers security management policies to NSX firewalls. Similarly, the Tufin Orchestration Suite interoperates with NSX to automatically design, provision, monitor and audit network security policy changes.

Virtualization is still evolving. Modern enterprises can no longer virtualize individual host server or storage systems and then cobble those virtualized entities together using traditional physical networks. Platforms such as NSX promise to extend virtualization to the network, enabling a greater degree of flexibility, speed and security for the enterprise, while still integrating with many of the current tools and platforms -- such as cloud platforms -- used by the business.

This was last published in January 2018

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