For the last eighteen months, VMware has been pushing NSX as the third pillar of its software-defined data center (SDDC). NSX has three big selling points that VMware promotes: taking control of the network, automation and orchestration, and microsegmentation. The first two are standard SDDC fare: first, pull the function into software, abstract where necessary, and orchestrate to bring operational advantage; second, break down silos and allow a more agile approach. But the last, microsegmentation, is a good place to focus for a moment.
The term “microsegmentation” is taken from the marketing world, where it is used to mean “a more advanced form of market segmentation that groups a number of customers of the business into specific segments based on various factors including behavioral predictions,” according to Wikipedia. Microsegmentation has an analogous definition in the networking world, where it is used to mean an advanced form of segmentation of groups of servers based on various factors. Microsegmentation is in many ways a crossover, or a subset, of both network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN), focused on the data center. The aim is to reduce and control east-west traffic in a way that hasn’t been possible before. But what’s the point?
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