VMware NSX-T 3.1 Project Antrea and SmartNics Support Announced

Today at VMworld, VMware is announcing enhancements to the their future-ready networking stack they are noting as advancements in Virtual Cloud Network Innovations that will help to solve many of the problems and challenges that have existed with traditional networks for years. Since the pandemic started earlier this year, organizations have been racing to provide end users and the distributed workforce with access to applications and productivity tools remotely in a secure and easy way. Networking is often one of the most difficult challenges to this objective. We will take a look at VMworld 2020 announcement – VMware NSX-T 3.1 Project Antrea and SmartNics support announced.

VMware NSX-T 3.1 Project Antrea and SmartNics Support Announced

Today at VMworld, VMware is making several announcements in the realm of Virtual Cloud Network Innovation that includes several new enhancements capabilities. We will take a look at the following three areas in the context of the next wave of virtual cloud network innovation.

  • VMware NSX-T 3.1
  • Project Antrea
  • SmartNic support

Each of these new announcements will help to advance VMware’s virtual cloud network portfolio with new and exciting features and capabilities for modern workloads.

VMware NSX-T 3.1

VMware NSX-T 3.1 provides a powerful automated cloud network framework for delivering the next-generation of virtual cloud network innovation. NSX-T 3.1 will provide larger-scale global deployments and disaster recovery use cases and also will included automated deployment workflows. The recently introduced NSX Federation capability in NSX-T 3.0 will have double the scale in NSX-T 3.1.

Additionally with NSX-T 3.1, there are new API-driven advanced routing and multicast capabilities. New Terraform Provider support for these new functions will be added as well. To go along with the release of NSX-T 3.1, vRealize Network Insight 6.0 takes the vRNI platform to the next level with new assurance and verification capabilities. In addition to these new features, vRNI 6.0 will include expanded VMware SD-WAN visibility.

As with each new release of vRNI, it will allow for the following:

  • Better planning for virtual and physical networks
  • Improved network uptime and resiliency
  • Faster troubleshooting
  • Proactive identification of protential network problems based on intent
  • Easier support of SLAs

VMware Edge Network Intelligence is a new AIOPs solution based on technology acquired from Nyansa. This will provide automated and actionable intelligence that allows ensuring and supporting the network performance of users and IoT devices despite their location.

Project Antrea

The next-generation of cloud-native applications are built upon containers. This allows for a microservices architecture. Kubernetes is the defacto standard for managing production containers. Microservices and Kubernetes both have their own set of challenges and requirements from a network perspective. It is imperative to have a networking stack that is able to support the needs of the modern microservices environment.

VMware is extending the virtual cloud network to connect and protect these environments. It is doing this by using VMware Tanzu Service Mesh that makes use of VMware NSX. It also supports Project Antrea. Project Antrea is an ope source proect that enables Kubernetes networkign and security wherever Kubernetes runs. This includes on-premises vSphere, public clouds as well as edge environments.

Tanzu Service Mesh includes new featuers that allow improving application continuity, resiliecy, and security. The new VMware container networking with Antrea is a commercial offering consisting of signed images and binaries and full support for Project Antrea. VMware container networking with Antrea will be included in VMware NSX-T, and vSphere 7 with Tanzu.

SmartNic and VMware NSX Advanced Threat Prevention

An exciting new advancement in software-defined firewall technology along with programmable intelligence is the ability to run VMware NSX on leading SmartNics. This means that VMware NSX can run right on the SmartNic to provide advanced security for bare metal and highly sensitive workloads. This also provides an easy way to “air gap” the infrastructure which allows separating applications and hypervisors from the security controls on the SmartNic.

VMware NSX Advanced Threat Prevention is another new announcement that combines NSX Distributed IDS/IPS with advanced malware detection and sandboxing. It also leverages AI-powered network traffic analysis (NTA). This technology uses machine learning (ML) technology to identify threats and minimze false positives. This allows applying virtual patches on every workload. This allows a more effective response to emerging threats as they appear.


VMware Tanzu Service Mesh and VMware Container Networking with Antrea are available. VMware NSX-T 3.1, vRealize Network Insight 6.0, VMware Edge Network Intelligence, and VMware NSX Advanced Threat Prevention are expected to be available in VMware’s Q3 FY21 which ends on October 30,2020

Wrapping Up

The new VMware NSX-T 3.1 Project Antrea and SmartNics Support Announced at VMworld 2020 provides some exiting new capabilities for modern networking for modern applications. The new solutions and enhancements will no doubt allow businesses to solve many of the network challenges related to cloud and modern applications.

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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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