Accelerating Network Virtualization with VMware NSX and EMC Service Assurance Suite

*The following is a guest blog post from Venky Deshpande from VMware NSX product management, discussing the integration that the VMware NSX Network Virtualization Platform has with the EMC Service Assurance Suite.  These solutions are going to featured at VMworld August 24-28 in San Francisco, CA.  go to for more information

Network Virtualization – A Critical Component of SDDC
As more organizations seek to fully implement Software-Defined Data Centers – which are characterized by server virtualization, storage virtualization and network virtualization – the “traditional” network and its inherent inefficiencies increasingly represents a barrier to IT’s ability to meet today’s dynamic business needs:

  • Network service provisioning is slow, manual and error-prone
  • Workload placement and mobility are limited
  • Network changes required to support a rapidly changing environment are often complex and hard to implement efficiently and effectively

Overcoming these challenges requires a Software-Defined Data Center approach.

By allowing virtual networks, like server virtual machines, to be programmatically created, cloned, migrated, deleted, and restored on-demand to enable applications to be quickly provisioned and deployed, VMware NSX™ network virtualization platform provides the network virtualization pillar that delivers to the network the same benefits that VMware delivered to compute infrastructure.

Network virtualization with NSX provides fast provisioning of network services, service automation and increased visibility into virtual environments. Combine this functionality with a management solution that assures the availability and performance of services and applications delivered over virtual and physical IT infrastructures, and you can transform your IT service delivery environment into an agile, scalable data center with unparalleled data center-wide visibility and control.

This is exactly what VMware and EMC have partnered together to deliver. The VMware NSX network virtualization platform provides you with the flexibility needed to provision logical networks, while the EMC Service Assurance Suite provides the visibility and insight needed to ensure the availability and performance of critical business services delivered over this dynamic infrastructure. The integration between the EMC Service Assurance Suite and VMware NSX delivers on the promise of network virtualization.

EMC Service Assurance Suite with VMware NSX – Solution Overview
The VMware NSX platform provides the following standard options for network monitoring tool vendors to integrate:

  • Standard SNMP MIB support
  • Port Mirroring (SPAN/Remote SPAN)
  • Syslog

The EMC Service Assurance Suite takes advantage of SNMP MIBs and NSX APIs to collect information about the NSX environment that includes virtual topologies and various statistics about network services. This allows the Service Assurance Suite to build virtual topology views on top of the physical topology information that it already has.

Traditional networks spread configuration and forwarding state across multiple, diverse network devices, resulting in impaired visibility and a potential impact on troubleshooting. NSX consolidates all states for all NSX components and enables virtual network elements, and the mapping between virtual network topologies and the underlying physical network, to be readily accessible through standard protocols and Restful NSX APIs.

The integration of NSX with the EMC Service Assurance Suite assures availability and performance of services and applications delivered over both virtual and physical IT infrastructures. The EMC Service Assurance Suite provides end-to-end management from the tenant through the virtual network infrastructure, all the way to the physical infrastructure components.

The Service Assurance Suite discovers all of the underlying components of the NSX environment, including their relationships to the physical infrastructure, providing end-to-end discovery and visibility. The Service Assurance Suite also discovers and presents topology views of the NSX platform, which consists of a control cluster, logical switches, logical routers, transport zones, and edge gateways, in addition to the controller nodes and NSX Manager. You have unparalleled line of sight into your virtual and physical network infrastructure that helps in quickly correlating failures, performing impact analysis, and reducing Mean-Time-To-Resolution (MTTR).

Customer Environment with NSX
As shown in the diagram below, there is physical network infrastructure that provides data for monitoring tools using standard protocols such as SNMP/ Port Mirroring. Similarly, the NSX components in the environment will provide all the data for virtual networks and network services.


When it comes to operations, network administrators want to have visibility in all network components that help them in isolating issues quickly and reducing downtime. Once the network is virtualized using NSX, the visibility requirement is more prominent because of traffic encapsulation and the dynamic nature of virtual networks.

End to End Visibility of Virtual and Physical Topology
The EMC Service Assurance Suite extends the visibility from the physical network infrastructure to virtual networks by providing the following key capabilities to the network administrators:

  • End to End visibility of Virtual and Physical topology
  • Reporting Availability/Failure of the Virtual and Physical components
  • Stats collection for the Virtual and Physical network components
  • Impact analysis of the Virtual and Physical failures

Let’s take a look at a Physical switch port failure scenario that impacts connectivity to a hypervisor. The Service Assurance Suite can help identify the impact of this failure and also draw end-to-end topology for the impacted application VM running on that hypervisor. This visibility allows network operations teams to quickly isolate outages and take remediation actions to avoid downtime and quickly restore service.

There is tremendous opportunity presented by Software-Defined Data Centers and VMware NSX is a fundamental building block to enable deployment of virtual network architectures. In order to fully operationalize these virtual networks for production environments, EMC Service Assurance Suite enhances the inherent management benefits of NSX by providing complete mapping between the virtual and physical domains helping to accelerate deployments of these logical architectures.

This is one of the many use cases that you will see demonstrated at VMworld 2014 in San Francisco this week, please visit both the EMC (#1405) and VMware (#1229) booths to get more details and demonstrations of this exciting solution.

About the Author: Venky Deshpande

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