BFSI and healthcare to be major adopters of VMware’s NSX

Bruce Davie, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at VMware Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ)
Bruce Davie, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at VMware Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ)

As organisations embrace mobility and virtual desktops to improve operational efficiency, there are more endpoints than ever connected to their networks. This trend coincides with increasing mobile-specific threats. In a traditional network design, these endpoints have access to nearly everything in the data center. This means that a single compromised endpoint is enough for an attacker to move laterally (east-west) across the environment, increasing their foothold in the network and locating valuable customer information to steal. “NSX reduces east-west traffic within the data center and prevents attackers from moving laterally in search of information,” says Bruce Davie, vice president and chief technology officer (CTO) at VMware Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ). In an exclusive conversation with Ankush Kumar, Davie talked about the company’s focus on NSX and its scope from security perspective across major verticals including healthcare, BFSI and Government.

As you have recently taken the charge as VP & CTO, give us an overview of your roles and responsibilities ? And what are the key focus areas on your priority list?

Yes, I started as VP & CTO for APJ in March 2017 and prior to that I have been in VMware for five years, working in the networking team. And that is recently as CTO for networking, this is a shift from being a research & development person to now being the field facing person. I really have two main responsibilities as CTO, one is to communicate our vision to our customers and then together take inputs from our customers about our technology strategies. My VP job is responsible for the pre-sales system engineers across Asia. I have a team of around 250 system engineers that either directly or indirectly report to me across the Asia Pacific region and I am trying to lead the technical direction of VMware as we direct with our customers across the region.

What is your business strategy and where would you want to make significant shift in the line of VMware businesses ?

I think the strategy that I am trying to work on is to become more strategically connected to our customers around the overall vision that VMware has for helping customers with their digital transformation. Essentially, I am trying to talk to our customers about how they can modernize their data center to be more agile or how they can leverage other clouds in addition to their progressive structure to be able to innovate more quickly as they try to adapt to the rapidly changing digital landscape. So it is a collection of strategic trust that we are working on with our customers both through my own direct engagement and through the organization.

What are the latest innovations happening in the data center market. How are you helping customers in solving issues related to data centers?

Clearly there are lots of rapid adoptions of new technologies in the Indian data center market. Many of our customers top priority is to develop applications quickly and cost effectively. And when customers look at their data centers, they are trying to figure out how they can spend less of their energy on what should be straightforward tasks of provisioning and configuring infrastructure and spend more of their time on enabling innovations in their business. With our unified data center management software, the fully virtualized data center is automated and managed by intelligent, policy-based data center management software, vastly simplifying governance and operations. A single, unified management platform lets customers centrally monitor and administer all applications across physical geographies, heterogeneous infrastructure and hybrid clouds. One can deploy and manage workloads in physical, virtual and cloud environments with a unified management experience. IT becomes agile, elastic and responsive to a degree never before possible.

How important is security for the datacenters ? Can network virtualization be an answer to rising security threats ?

There is always a cost in not having enough security in the data center because the cost will be potentially a lot of customers trust. We see customers willing to spend money to improve security based data center. And historically a lot of that spends went into trying to protect the initial intrusions through the parameter of the data center. But increasingly our customers are recognizing that parameter focused approach isn’t sufficient and there is a lot of focus on how do we have more time controlled and more visibility over what’s going on inside a datacenter. So trying to protect an initial intrusion from spreading within the data center when a company is hacked is important. However the initial intrusions might not be any critical initially, but over time the attack has spread from system to system until they find the critical data. That’s one of the very apparent benefit of NSX instead a lot of adoptions. NSX enables the creation of entire networks in software and embeds them in the hypervisor layer, abstracted from the underlying physical hardware. All network components can be provisioned in minutes, without the need to modify the application. NSX embeds security functions, right into the hypervisor. It delivers micro-segmentation and granular security to the individual workload, enabling a fundamentally more secure data center. Security policies travel with the workloads, independent of where workloads are in the network topology.

What are the sectors that will be the major adopters of network virtualization ?

We see a lot of implementations of NSX into many different verticals, so maybe the banking and financial industry is pretty quick to adopt network virtualization as they are quite concerned about their security. We had a lot of success in healthcare vertical, and I see that even the government departments around the globe are using it as they have a lot of data that is very sensitive. So mostly those sectors that are custodian of critical customers data are most likely to go for network virtualization solutions.

Can you share few key highlights of VMware business in the last few quarters? What has been the significant growth areas?

When we reported last financial information, the couple of things that were highlighted was the rapid growth of NSX which was around 50 percent year over year. Another one was the growth of vSAN which was growing at 150 percent year on year, so we have a virtualized storage approach. Those were two of the big growth engines probably that I can comment on.

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