By R2 Unified Technologies
When Is the NSX V End of Life (And What to Do About It)?
Virtualization has revolutionized the way modern organizations handled storage, networking, and computing. Adapting that methodology to data centers signaled a massive shift in how we think of that technology and IT infrastructure. The resulting abstraction of various workloads from hardware made it more efficient for businesses to provide digital resources as needed.
NSX-V became popular as one such network virtualization solution. The growth of cloud computing meant an evolution was required, which led to the development of NSX-T and the resulting NSX-V end-of-life deadline of December 31, 2023.
How Does VMware NSX Work?
The NSX network virtualization solution lets organizations build software-defined networks within virtualized data centers. That includes constructing firewalls, routers, ports, and switches in a virtual space. You provision virtual networks without needing to rely on the underlying hardware.
From there, organizations can connect virtual machines to virtual networks using virtual routers. You also configure access rules on the virtual firewalls. There’s essentially no need to interact with any hardware, which explains why so many companies use NSX-V as their virtualization platform.
Micro-Segmentation with NSX-V
The traditional approach to setting up access between multiple networks in a virtual environment requires deploying an edge gateway on a virtual machine or using a physical router. NSX-V uses a distributed firewall to handle parameters for security policies, MAC addresses, VMs, and other objects.
You can configure rules through Active Directory (AD) users if you have NSX-V deployed with an Active Directory Domain Controller (ADDC). Every object is considered an individual segment with a localized security perimeter of a network with a demilitarized zone (DMZ). Using the distributed firewall lets organizations segment virtual data centers. You can segment based on factors like VM names, VCenter objects, and user identity.
Primary Uses for NSX-V
- Security micro-segmentation
- IT Automation
- Developer Cloud
- Multi-tenant infrastructure
- Disaster recovery
- Cross cloud
- Multi-data center pooling
- Securing end-users
Why Did NSX-V Reach End-Of-Life?
VMware released NSX-V after purchasing the company Nicira back in 2013. The product quickly went mainstream as a vSphere-only solution. As the cloud became more dominant, the limitations of NSX-V became clear. It could not provide the kind of support most enterprises needed for native cloud workloads and containers. Even dealing with bare metal servers could be a struggle.
The growth of the cloud and container market led VMware to develop a new iteration of NSX called NSX-T. The goal was to build a product capable of supporting physical, containerized, and cloud workloads in one solution. The rewriting of NSX-T with new architecture allowed it to run as an agent capable of giving organizations what they needed to handle modern IT technologies.
It became more difficult for VMWare to develop its NSX-T roadmap while providing ongoing support to NSX-V customers. The conflict led to the announcement in 2018 of an NSX end-of-life deadline of January 16, 2022. If you’re reading this article and still running an instance of NSX-V, you need to consider upgrading to NSX-V or another network virtualization solution.
What are the Dangers of Running an Unsupported NSX-V Installation?
Organizations could no longer purchase new NSX-V instances after June 21, 2022. VMWare, along with IBM, did extend support for NSX-V through December 31, 2023. It only applies to software purchased through either the IBM Cloud for VM Solutions or Kyndral bring your own license (BYOL) clients. The support does not apply to individual BYOL users.
Continuing to run NSX-V without support leaves you open to potential exploitation because of security vulnerabilities. You also become more vulnerable to compliance issues. If something goes wrong, your IT team may be stuck trying to come up with solutions.
Even if you’re eligible for extended support, you don’t want to wait until the last minute to migrate to a more stable network virtualization solution. It’s a good idea to start assessing your NSX-V infrastructure and start planning for a shift to NSX-T.
How Does NSX-V Differ From NSX-T?
The most significant difference between the two is that NSX-T helps organizations move beyond basic network virtualization through VMware vSphere and start working with the cloud and containerized workloads. The flexibility of NSX-T gives IT shops what they need to start modernizing security and networking. It’s a multi-cloud solution that lets you connect your networking seamlessly.
NSX-T uses the Generic Network Virtualization Encapsulation (GENEVE) protocol. It helps companies resolve many issues they run into using older encapsulation protocols. It works similarly to a protocol like VXLAN but is more adaptable.
Why Should You Migrate From NSX-V to NSX-T?
Companies who switch over to NSX-T will continue enjoying support from VMware after the final December 31, 2023 deadline. It comes with more modern features than NSX-V that align with cloud-native applications.
- Scale-out networking — NSX-T makes it possible to create and manage multiple instances of the software across many different locations.
- Full-stack networking — NSX-T is designed to handle modern distributed applications and workloads.
- Improved intelligence and security — Organizations gain access to a robust interface that simplifies network automation.
- Intuitive dashboard
- More expansive monitoring capabilities
Planning a migration from NSX-V to NSX-T requires a thorough understanding of the NSX architecture. Not all features are a one-to-one match, meaning your company will need to figure out which migration tools they need and develop alternative network architecture.
Your organization’s best bet is to partner with a managed service provider who understands the intricacies of the software. R2 Unified Technologies has experience helping companies move over from NSX-V to NSX-T. Our team of professionals will help you develop a migration plan and help you transfer your vital networking processes.
Make sure you get your company situated before VMware ends its support for NSX-V. Contact R2 Unified Technologies today and let us help you develop networking and computing processes.