VMware has opened up about the partner opportunities on hand for its networking platform NSX, outlining where the top market hotspots are.
ARN took time with both VMware CTO of networking, Bruce Davie and director of sales, Raymond Maisano, discussing partner services opportunities in Australia.
ARN - What are your plans for NSX?
Bruce Davie - What we’ve done to date with NSX is really addressing a couple of pain points within both private and service provider data centres.
Job number one is to keep on doing that and we’ve only just scratched the surface so far. Globally NSX is growing 100 per cent year-on-year, in terms of revenue. There’s a lot of opportunity to keep on growing, penetrating in different industries and customer profiles.
The next really big thing for us with NSX is moving on from single datacentre deployments to multi-data centre deployments, and then to hybrid deployments where some of the workloads are in private data centres and some are in public Clouds.
That’s the hottest topic for us right now. Every customer we talk to wants to have some kind of strategy on how they’re going to address public Cloud workloads.
We’ve started to demo how we can do that with NSX and provide security capabilities that are consistent, whether you’ve got a workload running on your own datacentre or Amazon, Azure, or if you’re a VCloud Air partner.
Wherever you run your workloads, NSX can provide consistent security and networking policies across all of those different environments.
That’s the number one biggest for us in 2016, is to start delivering that capability and keep on expanding. Amazon may be the first Cloud that we’ll try to address with that, but in the long term we’ll have to address some of the more major public Clouds.
ARN - What are the channel opportunities for partners with NSX?
BD - In terms of how it plays out with partners, NSX has a pretty high level of services attached with a typical sale and that’s because it’s a newer technology and they need more professional services to help them deploy it the first time.
There’s a clear opportunity for partners to get that services business. Another thing that’s happened in the last year, that it’s become clear for particular use cases around security, some customers can see the need for NSX put in quickly and don’t necessarily need a high-touch sales team.
We do most of our sales today through specialised NSX sales people - specially trained sales people in VMware.
Increasingly we’re starting to see that shift towards generalist sales people within VMware, and the next step is to have general people driving the sale all the way through. There’s one use case around micro segmentation to provide security within the datacentre.
The money for NSX is typically coming from networking, security or Cloud budgets. If you’re a traditional VMware, this is an addition to what they already do.
If you already selling VSphere, it’s not taking away from VSphere, but giving you access to additional spend, above and beyond what you’ve got access to today.
If you’re a networking partner, this is giving you access to security spend, which is the fastest growing bucket of money in IT.
The fact that NSX is being seeing primarily as a security capability, that’s going to be very attractive for the channel partners because they can get access to that larger pot.
Who are some of the biggest customers using NSX at the moment?
BD: We have about 1200 customers - from across different industries and sizes such as universities, Vodafone, eBay, and Citibank have spoken about what they’re doing with NSX.
One of the most telling things in the past year, is that initially we tended to start with big financial companies, or sophisticated telco providers or web savvy customers like eBay.
What we’ve seen in the last year, is a spread into all these other different verticals like healthcare, retail and public sector. We’re filling a particular market need that’s apparent to a lot of people now.
What makes NSX different to what else is on offer in the market?
BD: There isn’t much that competes against us in the market and that’s because we leverage the hypervisor as a security enforcement point, which is a position that no one else has in the industry.
The reason why it’s so effective, is that sitting in the hypervisor, you can see every packet as it goes in or out of a virtual machine, so you can do a level of security that’s almost been impossible.
It’s very effectively place to do security and it’s our key differentiator. Another place where people try to do security is agent-based type things where you’ll stick something inside the VM itself, but the problem with that approach is that a skilled attacker, if they can compromise the VM, then they can attack the security agent.
We also have a big investment in open source and we have a lot of developers committed to open VSwitch, which is the equivalent place to provide security capabilities within a KVM hypervisor. So we’re able to provide these types of capabilities in both KVM and VSphere environments.
Having a strategic control point, has enabled NSX to really carve out this market. Almost everyone at some point will draw a comparison between us and Cisco, because we are both big in the networking business now, but we don’t compete against Cisco directly because they sell hardware and we don’t.
Most of our deployments today are Cisco hardware and our software. We see it as much more complementary.
ARN - How has NSX been tracking at a local level?
Raymond Maisano: We’ve seen 350 per cent growth year-on-year locally. We’ve had good uptake and seen some dominance in the financial sector with two of the top four banks going through deployments at the moment.
For our partners here, we’ve had a great traditional partner eco system that have focused on the compute side and this is a new market opportunity for them to line up their resources on the services side.
There is a very significant market opportunity not just in the networking and virtualisation side, but also security, which are areas that have traditionally been difficult to penetrate in Australia.
With NSX, we’ve hired a dedicated person to help build up our partner ecosystem for us, Richard Higgins. Part of our expanding team is making sure we’ve got the right development programs for partners.
I think we’re on to our sixth training session with another running and we’re filling our classes. The demand for getting on our training, is greater than our supply.
It works with our current partner ecosystem, and this is a specialisation, so for our existing partners there’s the opportunity to grow into these services and there will be some specialised partners that we bring on either in networking or security specialisation that will become strong VMware partners.
NSX is growing faster than what ESX was, and that gives you an indication of the market opportunity - we can’t do it without our partner ecosystem.