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VMware NSX and Palo Alto Networks - The Perfect Pairing in the Software Defined Data Center

Posted On: August 16, 2016

Topic: Data Centers

blog_cookies.jpgThe move towards the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) was born of businesses’ need to move faster, even in a time of heightened data security concerns. Innovations in network virtualization have enabled SDDCs that work as well or better than hardware-based data centers.

With software defined networking (SDN), it is possible to virtually provision entire networks, not just individual servers and machines. Tools such as VMware’s NSX have simplified the virtual provisioning process greatly, moving networking to software. With NSX, IT departments are able to provision networks faster and with greater flexibility. Simply put, SDN is good for business.

But do these benefits come at the expense of security? The answer is no, but with a caveat – you need the right SDDC solution. VMware and Palo Alto Networks have partnered to provide a powerful, integrated SDDC solution. This new solution actually circumvents many of the problems hardware-based data centers traditionally experience:

  • Lack of traffic visibility: East-west or server-to-server traffic is notoriously difficult to track and regulate. The solution is Palo Alto Next Generation firewalls, which are automatically deployed on all of VMware’s ESXi servers. Because the VMware and Palo Alto Network platforms automatically share contextual traffic information, IT administrators are able to easily visualize and monitor east-west traffic. Troubleshooting is faster because information on traffic is more visible.
  • Manual configuration blues: As any IT manager who has ever configured a network knows, manual configuration is labor-intensive and time-consuming. A single malfunctioning part can wreak all kinds of havoc when you’re dealing with a standard network. A virtualized network, however, creates a software-based network on top of your existing hardware. This allows you to take advantage of the hardware you already have while rendering your network less vulnerable to hiccups. When your network provisioning is virtualized, you don’t need to break the bank paying for new hardware every time a change needs to be made.
  • Lagging security infrastructure: User behavior is constantly changing and so are threats to security. With the NSX platform, users can take advantage of Palo Alto Network’s arsenal of next-generation security features. These include cutting-edge firewalls that classify all traffic and flag unidentified applications. Network administrators can use sophisticated tools to regulate which applications can be used over the network. Features are also in place to protect against malware and custom, unknown threats. PAN’s system performs critical security functions without compromising network performance. As network threats evolve, new security provisions can be added without slowing down the system.
  • Missing or irrelevant security features: Some virtual network security platforms aren’t keeping pace the speed of provisioning. Incomplete or irrelevant feature sets within virtualized network security platforms are common. If a security platform is missing critical features—or includes tools that are now irrelevant—that’s a sign. Palo Alto Networks knows that adaptation is the key to an effective security strategy and provides NSX users with security features that are fully up to date.

Better Together

VMware and Palo Alto Networks have partnered so that organizations are able to realize the full potential of the Software Defined Data Center while still providing needed risk protection. OneNeck IT Solutions’ team of SDN experts highly recommends the combined solution to all businesses looking to move to a software-defined network. We know that migrating SDN can be scary. But with the right advisors, the move can be seamless.