VMware NSX and cisco ACI - Nataraj

VMware NSX and Cisco ACI

This is one of the hottest topic discussed in the industry and where VMware and Cisco are locked in on SDN trying to be ahead of each other, but fundamentally what’s changed in the industry is networking is a lot simplified now.  Well industry is looking it as a  hardware vs software battle but what’s changing in the networking world is that once we have done racking and stacking and physical server cabling most of the day to day activities are simplified that would mean that now we might need a lot less people with “config t” experience.

I am not sure how many customers would go ahead and use NSX for North South Traffic but for sure they could right away enable East West traffic management with NSX(provided vmware eases out the licensing policies)


Pros of VMware

VMware NSX is a lot simplified from the below aspects

1) The design and implementation is a lot easier

2) Welcome to the software world where every thing is done now through the software.

3) You don’t need to unlearn anything to learn and implement if you know vSphere and ESX(VDS)

Cons of VMware NSX

Works well with the software world but in real life large organizations is a mix of Physical and Virtual worlds

Is NSX license price an over kill for the software ?. It might further delay the adoption of NSX in the enterprise while in the  network world  it all about ports port based licensing and NSX is  CPU licensing  (there is perpetual licensing as well) while VMware and Cisco advances on the SDN hope fully they would iron out these issues and make the technology accessible with simplified and easier licensing models.

Cons of Cisco ACI

1)  Cisco’s might have to compete head on with a software only solution rather than bundling with the hardware. APIC controllers are CentoOS linux running on a clustered mode.

2) The APIC hardware (3 controllers) is just one SKU (cisco might change this in the future )

3) This is a policy world and getting to know it might take a little longer time and some times might limit it specific people.

4) There is a learning curve and some times it’s get confusing to the non network engineer to get things started (that happened with me) i took some time to understand the constructs and boundaries of ACI.

Things to watch out

1)  One thing to be very careful is that both software solutions give enough control over the network and if the control is in the hands of a wrong people would make things very miserable

2) Well implementation is easy but troubleshooting is an experience by itself. Both NSX and ACI has its own set of challenges when you get into troubleshooting.

3) Design, Design and Design is what’s required, you should have a very good understanding of the solutions before you would implement these solutions.



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