VMware Unveils New Networking and Security Innovations for Multi-Cloud

VMware Explore

At VMware Explore US 2022 in San Francisco, VMware has unveiled new innovations across its expanding networking and security portfolio intended to help organizations embrace the cloud operating model.

“Enterprises are facing an unprecedented level of threat and complexity as they operate in today’s multi-cloud world,” said Tom Gillis, Senior Vice President and General Manager of VMware’s Networking and Advanced Security business group. “VMware is radically transforming how our customers consume networking and security – allowing them to realize the agility and efficiencies of the cloud operating model through a cloud-smart approach. With a privileged position in the infrastructure and a scale out distributed software architecture, we’re able to leverage the intrinsic attributes of our platforms and deliver these unique solutions in a consumption-oriented manner.”

New innovations across VMware’s expanding networking and security portfolio include:

  • Project Northstar provides end-to-end visibility and security for multi-cloud networking environments
  • Expansion of network detection and visibility to the Carbon Black Cloud endpoint protection platform, with early access available now
  • Project Trinidad is a development that would broaden and improve VMware’s API analytics and security
  • Project Watch, a new approach to multi-cloud networking and security that delivers advanced app to app policy management

Simplifying Networking and Security for Multi-Cloud

VMware announces a significant improvement to its NSX platform in Project Northstar. Project Northstar, which was just revealed in a technological preview, will revolutionize how businesses use networking and security in a multi-cloud environment. With a centralized cloud-console, Project Northstar will provide multi-cloud networking, security, workload mobility, and end-to-end threat detection and response for standardized and streamlined software-as-a-service (SaaS) consumption.

For private cloud settings and VMware Cloud deployments, this family of services comprises network & security policy management, network detection and response (NDR), network visibility and analytics (NSX Intelligence), advanced load balancing (ALB), and workload mobility (HCX).

“As an innovator in software-defined networking, VMware offers a full-stack of networking and security services in an integrated solution that benefits thousands of enterprise customers today,” said Umesh Mahajan, Senior Vice President and General Manager for VMware’s Networking and Security business unit. “Customers are seeking a uniform policy model across multi-cloud deployments, along with consistent network connectivity, security, and load balancing services. With Project Northstar we continue to shape how enterprises consume networking and security in a multi-cloud world.”

NSX networking and security features may now be used on Data Processing Units (DPUs, also known as SmartNICs) linked to the host hypervisor thanks to the most recent updates to VMware NSX 4.0 and VMware vSphere 8. Modern applications as well as other network-intensive and latency-sensitive applications might benefit from offloading NSX services to the DPU to speed networking and security operations without affecting the host CPUs.

Strengthening Lateral Security

Security teams must pay more attention to east-west network traffic because of the increase in threats that move laterally. Network tap analysis of traffic is no longer adequate. Blind spots may be made worse by contemporary distributed cloud designs. The design of VMware would give users access to endpoint processes, network packets, access points, and the inner workings of both conventional and contemporary apps, enabling them to recognize and thwart threats that others are unable to.

As part of these announcements, VMware is enhancing its network detection and visibility capabilities by integrating Carbon Black Cloud’s endpoint protection product, which is currently accessible to a limited number of clients in early access. With no changes to infrastructure or endpoints, this extended detection and response (XDR) telemetry adds network detection and visibility to endpoints, giving clients additional insight into their environment across endpoints and networks and making it impossible for attackers to hide.

Modern applications are also more vulnerable when east-west communication between microservices is not fully visible. By installing sensors on Kubernetes clusters and utilizing machine learning with business logic inference to detect unusual activity in east-west communication between microservices, Project Trinidad, which is in tech preview, expands VMware’s API security and analytics.

Results from VMware’s most recent Global Incident Response Threat Report show that cyber extortion tactics used by ransomware perpetrators are still evolving. Ransomware will continue to be a problem for businesses, and VMware’s new service, VMware Ransomware Recovery for VMware Cloud DR, enables recovering from an attack faster, more reliable, and less error-prone. By using a novel on-demand isolated recovery environment on VMware Cloud on AWS, this brand-new, purpose-built ransomware recovery-as-a-service solution allows safe recovery and avoids re-infection of IT and line-of-business production workloads. Customers can quickly identify potential restore points using guided recovery workflows, verify restore points using embedded behavioral analysis, and recover data with little loss.

Expanding Security for the Data Center and Cloud Edge

The industry’s first elastic application security edge (EASE), introduced by VMware last year, allows networking and security infrastructure at the data center or cloud edge to adapt as app requirements change.

To help customers preserve their investments in expensive hardware appliances that are incapable of adapting to changing app environments, VMware is introducing:

  • VMware NSX Gateway Firewall – The new stateful active-active edge scale-out capabilities provided by VMware’s next-generation firewall would greatly boost network throughput for stateful services. With IDPS, malware analysis, sandboxing, URL filtering, TLS proxy, stateful firewall, and stateful Network Address Translation (NAT), VMware now provides advanced threat prevention capabilities that extend centralized security controls to physical and virtual workloads at the data center and cloud edge.
  • VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer – The VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer (ALB) is introducing new bot management capabilities while enhancing the security features of its web application firewall, malware detection, security analytics, and DDoS protection. This is done with the intention of delivering multi-layer application security at the edge, closer to applications and users for better efficiency and performance. These improvements at the edge would extend protection from conventional to cloud-native container-based applications deployed across multi-cloud environments, helping businesses maintain a consistent security posture with operational simplicity. Customers may safeguard their north-south APIs thanks to VMware NSX ALB’s ability to implement API security standards in accordance with application delivery flow.
  • Project Watch – Project Watch, a new multi-cloud networking and security strategy that will offer sophisticated app-to-app policy controls to aid with ongoing risk and compliance evaluation, has been unveiled this week by VMware at VMware Explore 2022. Project Watch will assist network security and compliance teams in the technology preview in continually monitoring, evaluating, and dynamically mitigating risk and compliance issues in composite multi-cloud applications.

Securing the Edge for the Distributed Workforce

Enterprise clients have fundamentally altered how they develop and deploy networks and access over the past two years to serve scattered employees. According to the Dell’Oro Group, the market for secure access service edge (SASE) solutions will nearly triple by 2026, with security serving as a significant factor in growth as businesses make strategic investments for the era of dispersed apps and hybrid work.

With the addition of new web proxy-based connection to VMware Cloud Web Security, a pioneer in SD-WAN, clients that wish to transition in stages from their current network and endpoint management solutions to a next-generation SASE offering now have more deployment options.