Industry Trends

The Software-Defined Data Center and Fortinet’s new SDN Solution for VMware

By Warren Wu | August 25, 2014

Title It’s the week before Labor Day, and for most of folks in the U.S. that means the end of summer is approaching. But for many of us involved with the data center, it means another exciting virtualization confab is underway in San Francisco with VMworld 2014 at Moscone Center. Of course VMware has long been about more than just server virtualization – over the years, we’ve seen broader focus around VDI and end-user computing, private and hybrid cloud, and more recently network virtualization with NSX.

VMware’s broader message on the latter is the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC), meaning it’s more than just about the network alone, but it’s also software-defined compute, storage, etc. As an old colleague of mine on the vSphere product management team pointed out to me, the ESXi hypervisor has really been software-defined compute and storage for many years now, having long done more than just abstract hardware like the CPU into its virtual equivalents. Securing software-defined network traffic is becoming increasingly challenging – using hardware security appliances that can only inspect at a few fixed, static points in the physical network risks losing visibility or applying the correct rules on increasingly abstracted and dynamic network flows. As soon as virtual switches were introduced in early hypervisors, inter-VM traffic could now bypass the physical network; SDN further exacerbates this with additional constructs like overlay/underlay tunnels and logical (i.e. changeable) ports, IP’s and MAC addresses.

Fortinet is previewing this year our new FortiGate-VMX virtual appliance integrated with VMware’s SDDC platform, interoperable with vSphere, vCloud, and NSX. While Fortinet has long invested in VMware solutions, with nearly a dozen security virtual appliances released in the past few years for vSphere, FortiGate-VMX represents a major leap forward with tight hypervisor integration and orchestration. FortiGate-VMX has direct visibility into all virtualized network traffic in ESX, and is further coordinated to automatically scale up and down to secure elastic workloads and ESX clusters. What this ultimately means is security itself is yet another layer of Infrastructure-as-a-Service that can be agile and software-defined as well, to provide seamless and consistent security for and as part of the underlying SDDC platform.

For more about our new VMware-based solution please check out our launch announcement here. If you are attending VMworld U.S. in San Francisco this year, please come by Booth #410 to learn more about FortiGate-VMX and our other solutions for VMware environments.

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