I’ve written before about the difficulty as a user of getting hold of VMware’s NSX and about other problems with the release, but a small recap is in order. Founded in 2007, Nicira was bought by VMware in 2012 for its SDN platform. This consists of deep integration that combines the open VXLAN standard with vSphere’s vShield-like products and some other bit of magic to yield a fully functioning microsegmentation system. Although Nicira is available for OpenStack, too, VMware’s focus has always been on the vSphere implementation and using NSX, combined with some of the vShield products to replace VMware’s own vCNS (vCloud Networking and Security). This $1 billion acquisition has been with VMware for as long as Nicira existed as a company. By now, we would expect it to simply be another part of the VMware product line.
Many years ago, when VMware was a little-known start-up, one of the biggest factors in the growth of its hypervisor was the ability of systems administrators to get ahold of the product and play with it. The trial licenses enabled the full product set, which was unusual at the time, and were simply time-limited. The VMTN subscription included non-production licenses for testing. This, combined with the previously unknown willingness of VMware staff to interact on the company’s forum led to an immense community of enthusiasts who wanted to use the product and practically begged their bosses to bring it in.