Blog

Introducing Advanced Networking with Nutanix Flow

By Mike Wronski

IT modernization is all about agility and automation. With networking being the fabric that links applications, services, and users, it is no surprise that modern architecture needs a different networking model. Legacy networks that combine many VLANs and broadcast domains are typically very statically defined, rooted in hardware, and cumbersome to deploy, modify, extend, and secure. Trying to use those traditional constructs in hybrid or multicloud environments along with self-service provisioning, cloud-native development, or automated disaster recovery services can take the cost and agility benefits right out of other advances made by datacenter modernization efforts.

At our 2020 .NEXT conference we’re announcing the planned availability of Flow Networking for our AHV virtualization solution, bringing virtual private cloud (VPC) and other advanced virtual networking constructs together to bridge traditional and cloud-native network models. The use of a software-defined approach simplifies the infrastructure and removes the need for costly hardware segmentation solutions or more complex and static physical network architectures. Flow Networking takes the pain out of creating, managing, and connecting virtual networks  between multiple Nutanix environments, including the recently announced Nutanix Clusters for AWS.

Flow Networking makes overlay networking simple by automating deployment and simplifying configurations to ensure proper network connectivity is maintained and does not require time-consuming manual configuration of networks, routing, or IP address assignment. You will be able to quickly create new VPCs and subnets, and define DHCP, NAT, routing, and security policy right from the familiar Prism Central interface. 

Common Use Cases for Software-Defined Networking

IT Software Lifecycle Management and Automation - Organizations are moving quickly towards the adoption of DevOps concepts and technologies like Puppet, Chef, and Ansible to help automate their application management. API-backed software-defined networking based on the VPC model takes the complexity out of ensuring the network is properly configured.   Deployment blueprints can include definitions of an application’s networking requirements and orchestrate the creation of those virtual networks, which means instant connectivity instead of waiting for network administrators to create and provision VLANS. Moving to this model not only reduces the time required to deploy and upgrade applications it helps remove tensions between virtualization and networking teams by providing a clear delineation between the physical and virtual environments.

Self Service for Developers and Application Owners - The ease of provisioning and application-level integration when using the public cloud has driven business units and developers to demand that same level of service from their on-premises IT infrastructure.  Though very similar to the above automation use case, self-service takes things a step further to empower these users to take more control of their applications. By using automation and orchestration tools like Nutanix Calm, IT organizations can offer a comprehensive self-service solution that includes orchestration of the required networking components - making it easy to ensure proper isolation and configuration without burdening operators with manual tasks. 

Automated Disaster Recovery Failover and Testing - With IT being strategic to most business operations, business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) planning must always be a high priority.  Additionally, the rise in sophisticated cybersecurity attacks that can cripple business operations are increasing the importance of well-designed BCDR plans that include frequent testing and validation. Modern applications are complex and typically interact with multiple data sources and services over the network. To meet business recovery objectives, organizations must have the ability to automate the testing and recovery runbooks. 

Multi-tenant Networking - Many may associate the concept of multi-tenancy with large IT service providers. Though this is still a large use case and service providers will embrace functionality, the scale of enterprise IT organizations now has them operating in similar ways and with similar demands for tenant-level segmentation. Service providers look to fully isolate tenants while maintaining the economies of scale found in the shared resources provided by a cloud model. Similarly, large enterprises frequently are faced with on-boarding acquired companies or other activities that necessitate isolation due to overlapping network space for example.

Our initial release for Flow Networking is feature-packed and is targeted to include VPCs with distributed switching and routing, VPC-to-VPC connectivity, service insertion, and policy-based routing, access control lists (ACL), NAT, and VPN services, but that’s not where it ends. We will continue to expand the feature set to ensure customers can continue to build, connect, and efficiently manage their software-defined networks with Nutanix.

Flow Networking is targeted for general availability in early next year and can be evaluated as part of a technology preview.  Interested in trying it out? Learn more at nutanix.com/products/flow/networking.

© 2020 Nutanix, Inc. All rights reserved. Nutanix, the Nutanix logo and the other Nutanix products and features mentioned on this post are registered trademarks or trademarks of Nutanix, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other brand names mentioned on this post are for identification purposes only and may be the trademarks of their respective holder(s). This post may contain links to external websites that are not part of Nutanix.com. Nutanix does not control these sites and disclaims all responsibility for the content or accuracy of any external site.

This post may contain express and implied forward-looking statements, which are not historical facts and are instead based on our current expectations, estimates and beliefs. The accuracy of such statements involves risks and uncertainties and depends upon future events, including those that may be beyond our control, and actual results may differ materially and adversely from those anticipated or implied by such statements. Any forward-looking statements included in this post speak only as of the date hereof and, except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update or otherwise revise any of such forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances