VMware NSX-T Data Center 2.4 Released New Features

There is much excitement in the world of software-defined networking. VMware’s NSX product has gained tremendous momentum over the past couple of years especially and there is a lot of work and development that has been going into extending the features and capabilities of the product. NSX-T however, has been where the focus has been for VMware for some time now. The writing has been on the wall for a while now that NSX-T is the way forward for VMware and software-defined networking, both cross-platform AND with VMware vSphere. NSX-T of course is the software-defined networking platform that solutions such as VMware Cloud on AWS is built on top of. It sports the newest UI and other enhancements. As of yesterday a milestone release of NSX-T has been dropped by VMware, NSX-T 2.4. This is a historic release of NSX-T and provides amazing new functionality that simply takes VMware’s software-defined infrastructure forward even further. Let’s take a look at VMware NSX-T Data Center 2.4 Released New Features to see what is new and exciting in this milestone release.

VMware NSX-T Data Center 2.4 Released New Features

With the release of VMware NSX-T Data Center 2.4, VMware has notably pushed the envelope even further in the following areas:

  • Simplicity
  • Automation
  • New Security Features
  • Performance, Scale, Resiliency

Let’s take a look at each of the enhancements in these areas and see how NSX-T Data Center 2.4 is a game changer with the new improvements.

VMware NSX-T Data Center 2.4 Simplified Operations

VMware has made mention that this release of VMware NSX-T Data Center 2.4 is focused on making the provisioning of SDN as simple as spinning up a workload in AWS. With that being said, NSX-T Data Center 2.4 has vastly improved UI, dashboards, APIs, and system interaction to allow the interaction with the NSX-T Data Center 2.4 infrastructure as easy and intuitive as possible.

A number of new operational enhancements with this release makes the installation, upgrade, and operation of NSX-T Data Center 2.4 much easier, all the way from Day 0 through Day 1 and then through Day 2 operations for administrators.

Day 0 Simplified – VMware has reworked he NSX manager appliance so that it can support a 3-node cluster configuration that takes care of policy, management, and central control services on a cluster of these NSX manager appliance nodes. New Ansible modules have been introduced to allow the automation of installation workflows to simplify and rapidly speed up the installation process.

Day 1 Simplified – The latest NSX-T 2.4 UI brings much simplified workflows that means less user input and configuration with default configurations fitting most use cases.

Day 2 Simplified – With the ongoing operation of NSX-T Data Center 2.4, many of the UI enhancements feature auto-completion, suggestions and common search phrases contained in the UI. Being a software-defined network solution that is very application-centric and driven, a single API call or a few clicks is all that is needed to provision a new network or service within NSX-T Data Center 2.4.

VMware NSX-T Data Center 2.4 More Powerful Automation

One of the major new enhancements with NSX-T Data Center 2.4 is with automation. In today’s DevOps world, automation is king with everything. With NSX-T Data Center 2.4, automated interactions with NSX has become even more powerful.

VMware has introduced a new Declarative Policy Model with NSX-T 2.4. With this new declarative model that is much more powerful, administrators can specify what the connectivity and security needs of the applications are, and then NSX-T makes that possible, instead of configuring the networking components step-by-step to make this possible. This makes the software-defined networking approach with NSX-T Data Center 2.4 more application centric instead of network focused. After all, in most environments, the applications are the focus and NSX-T makes this much easier to realize and accomplish.

New Declarative Policy Model included with NSX-T Data Center 2.4 (image courtesy of VMware)

VMware NSX-T Data Center 2.4 New Security Features

The new security features of the NSX platforms in general have continued to be enhanced with each new release. With legacy NSX environments, NSX has been relegated to lower levels of the network stack for firewalling capabilities. However, with NSX-T Data Center 2.4, NSX-T has added new security capabilities such as Layer 7 application context-based firewall abilities, identity-based firewalling, FQDN/URL whitelisting, guest introspection, and E-W service insertion.

The FQDN or URL whitelisting feature applies to E-W traffic in the distributed firewall allowing customers to whitelist FQDN/URLs going from a VM to a specific FQDN or URL.

With NSX-T Data Center 2.4, there are new enhanced analytics and visualization capabilities as well as added support for Splunk and vRealize Log Insight.

VMware NSX-T Data Center 2.4 New Performance, Scale, Resiliency

VMware has focused the scale and performance abilities of NSX-T to include the ability to satisfy the demands of cloud-scale and multi-cloud environments. There is a new DPDK-based hardware-accelerated data plane. IPv6 capabilities have been bolstered in NSX-T 2.4 as well, bypassing the IPv4 shortage that can certainly be a limitation. The new converged model for the NSX manager also makes the new scale and performance capabilities of NSX-T 2.4 possible. It can support literally hundreds of thousands of routes.

Migrating from VMware NSX-V to NSX-T

There is certainly going to be a migration path from NSX-V to NSX-T moving forward and will no doubt be some migration documentation available officially from VMware. Look for some labbing and blog posts here as well as I walk through some of the scenarios. If organizations are performing new installation of NSX in their environments, it should certainly be the NSX-T variant as this is definitely the path forward.

Final Thoughts

The day has come for NSX-T to shine as the primary SDN platform moving forward. The VMware NSX-T Data Center 2.4 Released New Features news contains many great new enhancements for the NSX-T Data Center 2.4 release that makes this release of NSX-T a feature parity release with NSX-V. The simplified architecture, enhanced automation capabilities, increased security features, and new performance, scalability, and resiliency add up to this being the most powerful NSX platform in existence today. There will certainly be a migration path forward for existing NSX-V customers, however, new NSX installations should most certainly be NSX-T based. Stay tuned for further posts around NSX-T Data Center 2.4. Also, read the official VMware blog post announcing NSX-T 2.4.

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Brandon Lee

Brandon Lee is the Senior Writer, Engineer and owner at Virtualizationhowto.com and has over two decades of experience in Information Technology. Having worked for numerous Fortune 500 companies as well as in various industries, Brandon has extensive experience in various IT segments and is a strong advocate for open source technologies. Brandon holds many industry certifications, loves the outdoors and spending time with family.

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