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The software-defined data center, or SDDC, approach to building next-generation data centers has numerous advantages over traditional hardware-centric data center designs. It is a proven approach that has been used by behemoths like Amazon and Google to dramatically change the way organizations consume IT services.

The SDDC approach enables:

  • Software Defined Agility – instant provision, delivery, and access from data center to device
  • Seamless Hybridity – unified private and public cloud to dynamically deploy any app or workload
  • Intrinsic Security – Enhanced security native to apps, infrastructure, and devices

In an effort to keep up, many enterprise data centers are already realizing the benefits of virtualizing server and storage solutions to consolidate and repurpose infrastructure resources, reduce operational complexity, and dynamically align and scale their application infrastructure.  However, the traditional network has not kept up.  It remains rigid, complex, proprietary, and closed.

Networking has been stuck in the status quo and is now out-of-step with virtualized server and storage resources that can be quickly provisioned but are constrained by networking services that that still require manual provisioning.

NSX delivers for networking what VMware has already delivered for compute and storage. NSX abstracts networking and security services that have traditionally been configured in, bound to, and delivered by hardware into software, where the services can be easily distributed and automated.  It enables virtual networks to be created, saved, deleted, and restored on demand without requiring any reconfiguration of the underlying physical network.

The result is a fundamentally transformed operational model that reduces network provisioning time from days to minutes all while increasing security throughout the organization.  It is the 3rd pillar in a fully virtualized infrastructure that allows IT to move at the speed of the business.  NSX enables:

  • Accelerated network provisioning and streamlined operations
  • Flexible, highly adaptable networking
  • Unrestricted workload mobility and placement
  • Dramatically enhanced network security (dynamic network security, distributed network security)
  • Push-button, zero-compromise disaster recovery
  • Reduced network TCO

I highly recommend checking out VMware’s Hands on Labs to familiarize yourself with the NSX interface and its capabilities.

So now the real question, how do you license it? NSX, just like the industry-standard vSphere, is licensed on a per-processor basis meaning that each host leveraging NSX will need to be licensed accordingly. For example, if you have 3 hosts with 2 physical processors then you will need 6 licenses of NSX. Pretty simple.

The challenge is choosing which version works best for your organization.  In true VMware fashion, NSX has three suites (Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise) you can choose from depending on the features and benefits your organization wants to leverage.

See below for a complete breakdown of each suite:


The SDDC will continue to be pushed to the forefront as organizations look to face-off with both their competitors as well as the cloud.  The SDDC is here to stay and VMware’s invests in making IT a value-add rather than a cost center is clear.

Whether it’s storage or networking, taking the next step to extending virtualization beyond the compute layer is a winning move for any organization.


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