Archive for October, 2014

VMware NSX vs Cisco ACI

Written by Mo Elamin. Posted in Blog, VMWare



The age of Software Defined Networking (SDN) is here, this is often talked about as a game changing technology, is forcing two industry kingpins and former allies against each other: Cisco and VMware.

Although both companies are coming at SDN from different directions, their software defined aspirations virtually guarantee confrontation. So I thought maybe a good idea to compare and contrast their approaches.

VMware estaplished itself on the SDN market early on, with the $1.2 billion acquisition of startup Nicira mid- 2012. Nicira’s network virtualization strategy fit well into VMware’s overall product set, allowing for integration with vSphere.

Just over a year after the Nicira acquisition, VMware announced its network virtualization platform called NSX in August 2013. Enabling VMware customers who to move down the Network virtualisation path a way to do this with Vendor they trust in the virtualisation arena.

VMware’s NSX product moves much of networking to hypervisor-level code, reducing the role of the network to an IP underlay. Also the number of vendors who supports VMware NSX is vast, including Checkpoint, F5, Arista Networks.


Network giant Cisco was slow to the SDN revolution, maybe because it has the most to lose from the arrival of SDN given the technology promises, of removing the necessity for smart packet handling hardware and centralising everything within controllers.

In fact, Cisco’s SDN strategy had been muddy for almost two years. Although the company rolled out various products and initiatives under an SDN umbrella, there was nothing that felt like a cohesive strategy that customers could get a hold of – until now.

Most recently they announced Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), Cisco acquired Insieme Networks, which it funded as a “spin-in” startup, Cisco has unleashed a full-court press to get its ACI message to the masses.

Application Centric Infrastructure embraces hardware and consists of three key parts: Cisco’s new Nexus 9000 or 9300 switches, a policy model and an application policy infrastructure controller (APIC).

The network’s application-aware policy model is the foundation of security within Application Centric Infrastructure. It essentially “dictates what can talk to what on this network — it all gets enforced in hardware at the edge.


NSX and ACI are rather different. On the one hand, NSX touts rich virtual switch functionality, abstracting the network using a controller and overlays. On the other, ACI melds both hardware and software into a policy-driven network infrastructure built around the needs of specific applications.

Both approaches will impact IT operations. Are these solutions and SDN in general worth exploring? Yes. NSX and ACI are evidence that software defined networking is real, However VMware has the upper hand since it’s NSX solution is already available on GA and they have over 100 paying customers. (Real enough)…

Cloud Volumes and what it brings to VMware

Written by Mo Elamin. Posted in VMWare

VMware acquisition of CloudVolumes, a product which enable real-time desktop application delivery. Delivering desktop applications to users, especially in Windows environments, can be very challenging. Adding or removing applications based on the user context, incompatibilities or conflicts with existing apps, all problems that interfere with successful application delivery.

Cloud Volumes is changing the way how virtual machines are managed and updated. With a click of a button, you can deliver any number of applications and any amount of data to any number of virtual machines within milliseconds or seconds.

This promises to change the game for desktop virtualisation and addresses the application delivery and performance challenge. With real-time application delivery, personalised desktops and application environments can be created at a reduced infrastructure cost by using a single gold image for multiple users or groups. As a result, customers will no longer have to choose between cost and a personalised experience.

CloudVolumes will also enable VMware to build real-time application delivery across all three of its technology focus areas that include end-user computing, software-defined data centre and hybrid cloud services.

Below VMware End User Computing team run through a quick demo of instant application provisioning to Horizon View VDI desktops

vCLOUD is no more… vCAC rules

Written by Mo Elamin. Posted in Blog, VMWare

Just back after an exhausting but exciting few days at VMworld, biggest shock to me, was the death of Vcloud director, I have heard that there is a new strategic direction and Vcloud director wasn’t it. The new way forward is going to be vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) and Vcloud director will be focused on Public cloud and Service providers.

A lot of people will say that vCAC is not as rich in features as the vcloud director. VMware is saying it will enrich vCAC and vcenter with some of these features. Exact details on which features of vCloud Director (vCD) will go into which part of VMware Inc.’s vCloud Suite are not available yet, but it’s a safe bet capabilities like multi-tenancy management would be pushed into vCloud Automation Center (vCAC), while constructs like the Virtual Data Center would fall into vCenter.

  Customers with existing vCD deployments will have options for licensing as well as technical upgrades. How the licensing convergence will work depends on how they acquired vCD in the first place — as a standalone product or as part of the vCloud Suite.

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