VMware NSX is a network virtualization platform that enables the implementation of virtual networks on physical networks and within virtual server infrastructures.
NSX is part of the Software-Defined Network (SDN) category, which extends the concept of server virtualization popularized by VMware in the network space.
VMware NSX can be used to implement micro-segmentation in virtualized environments, isolating individual loads in a trusted area and helping reduce an organization’s attack area.
Enterprise networks are one of the last areas of IT that have not been influenced by software abstraction. VMware NSX Hypervisor provides a platform for managing virtualized network deployments.
VMware NSX is best known for delivering zero-confidence security between virtual machines; however, VMware would like to emphasize the value of moving more intelligence away from network hardware devices to software-based controllers.
What are VMware NSCX objectives?
VMware NSX can play entire physical networks, from simple to complex, as software. Implements virtual networks in a distributed architecture, enabling them to deploy in any environment, from bare metal servers in traditional data centers to public and private clouds.
It also allows applications to run from anywhere on the web, even though virtual machines and containers are away from the cloud. It also has network functionality (NFV) capabilities and, as such, includes essential network functions such as switching, routing, and load balancing.
The network virtualization platform gives value to the physical network. The software-defined networking and security policies perform in cohesion to aid the network traffic and network function virtualization platforms.
A virtual private network, on the other hand, can help with the network virtualization on the physical network virtualization platform. Network automation with software-defined networking, virtual networking, and security help the data center with virtual switches.
A virtual switch provides a virtual network interface card for the need of both physical and virtual networks.
VMware NSX allows networks to be customized to your requirements. This procedure can be automated so that your network expands when needed, allowing it to meet a temporary or cyclical increase in network capacity – security is an area where virtual networks can be vulnerable.
Therefore, they require your IT security staff to be proactive about offline threats. On the other hand, VMware NSX has a micro-segmentation, which divides virtual networks and their applications into separate trust zones isolated from each other.
When cyberattacks bombard a network segment, the threat is limited to that segment. It can then be isolated and adequately resisted.
How does VMware NSX work
Many organizations should look for ways to increase their security infrastructure. Security teams need to achieve three main goals to secure virtual networks: to restrict the movement of external threats, respond quickly and efficiently to intrusions, and prevent information loss.
So, here is how VMware NSX security work:
- Purpose 1: Restrict the movement of threats
Lateral threat movement (also known as east-west movement) is a common attack strategy in which the threat finds an entry point to a vulnerable entity such as a virtual machine or virtual network function and then secretly travels to the network topology to infect other components.
In the absence of internal defense, such infections move laterally quite rapidly. Security teams that review incident logs and use legacy security tools can be difficult to detect quickly.
The solution lies in micro-segmentation, one of the critical usage cases supported by VMware NSX. Security architects can use micro-segmentation to isolate workloads from each other and prevent interactions between workload and workload unless explicitly approved.
This technique does not require human intervention and is very effective in preventing intrusions, even before they are detected.
- Purpose 2: Respond to intrusions quickly and efficiently
While micro-segmentation can effectively isolate workloads from each other, a given workload may need interaction with different workloads or certain network services to function correctly.
For example, financial applications often need to communicate with DNS servers located in different trust zones. Applications can also live in different trust zones than the underlying data. For example, a web ordering system may need to send and receive sensitive customer information to and from a trusted segment database.
Security personnel can create policies that authorize these necessary interactions. The trick is to ensure that cyber attackers do not disguise themselves as components with authority to cross the trust line.
To this end, advanced threat prevention, including intrusion prevention, is necessary to significantly ensure traffic moves between trust zones when trust levels vary.
Intrusion Prevention (IPS) systems help security teams monitor their malicious traffic networks to ensure that only known, good services are working. When malicious signatures are detected, IPS can take appropriate corrective action.
- Purpose 3: Prevent information loss
To make an effective defense, security architects must get into the minds of their opponents. Many cyber attacks are motivated by the desire to steal customer information or intellectual property that can be earned through corporate blackmail or illegal sales.
Unfortunately, attackers often find an open front door: a network connection to the public Internet. Therefore, the last line of defense must ensure that even threats avoided by the other two security measures can not filter information out of the perimeter.
Security teams usually deploy next-generation firewalls to all network entry points to prevent intrusions, but intrusions will occur sooner or later. For this reason, it is advisable to add next-generation firewall features, especially DNS security and URL filtering.
DNS security uses predictive analytics to thwart attacks that attempt to use DNS to steal data. In contrast, URL filtering uses machine learning to block access to malicious sites that deliver malware and steal credentials.
Features of VMware NSX
VMWare NSX delivers the following features and benefits:
The configuration and configuration of the network infrastructure are done automatically via code. The infrastructure is customizable to your requirements, and virtual components can be added as needed.
Multi-cloud and on-premises support
Virtual networks appear the same no matter where they are located, making them more manageable to support.
Virtual networks are split into segments that are separate from each other. Any negative impact of a network attack is contained in the affected component.
Minimal costs and resource costs
With networking and security implemented through software, acquiring and maintaining expensive network equipment is no longer required.
Switching and routing
All this is done through code and with applications and virtual machines also logically attached to the network. Virtual Networks features scale-out guidance with an active firefly system.
These are either package-based or socket-based, with the L4-balancer using the first and the L7-balancer responsible for the second.
Difference between VMware NSX-v and VMware NSX-T
VMware NSX comes in two versions, in general:
NSX for vSphere (NSX-v)
- This older version requires both VMware vSphere and VMware vCenter. VMware NSX-v only supports vSphere hypervisor environments.
NSX Transformers (NSX-T)
- This newer version supports various virtualization platforms and environments with multiple hypervisors. NSX-T supports a variety of network virtualization stacks, including KVM, Docker, Kubernetes, OpenStack, and Amazon Web Services (AWS). VMware NSX-T does not require a vCenter server.
VMware has made a brave gamble on NSX and the ability of traditional network teams to work side by side with virtualization and security operations. Whether your purpose is micro-segmentation, automation, or simplified procedures, NSX delivers a new perspective to virtualized networking.
As revealed by webscale providers and telecom customers, the potential is excellent for improved capability and functions.
Intrusions are inevitable in NSX environments, but it is possible to minimize the scope of potential damage by deploying practical security tools that limit threat movement, allow security teams to respond quickly and effectively, and prevent information loss.
While each capability improves VMware NSX security, only the combination provides a highly effective response to today’s advanced threats.