vRealize Network Insight Review

Gives me insight into which servers interact with other elements in the environment, helps me to maintain them


What is our primary use case?

We are attempting to discover legacy network transactions and convert them to micro-segmentation rules with NSX-T.

How has it helped my organization?

It hasn't improved the way our organization functions, yet. It's only been in for two or three months and we're still trying to figure out the best way to pull the data out so that we can start building those firewall rules. But we anticipate that, once that time comes, it will cut massive amounts of time in the process of building those rules.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature for me is the different views that you can get when selecting an application or a VLAN. It shows you the traffic flows. It gives you a visual representation of something that, in text, just may not make as much sense.

That is valuable to me because, from my perspective, I don't own any of the applications, so I don't know how they would communicate normally. This gives me a little insight into which servers interact with what else in the environment and it helps me to maintain them in a more appropriate manner. I can see who's tied to what, and whether or not they're critical.

It's also user-friendly. It's similar to the GUI that most VMware products are moving to, and the consistency across those makes it easy to switch from one product to another. Also, the search bar at the top is plain text and it helps you, it guides you along with your search query, and that helps. The first day you're in there you can start building actual queries.

What needs improvement?

When we talk about those micro-segmentation rules, there's an Export function. It is very macro-segmentation oriented instead. So if you choose an application, it will find the tiers within that application and say that it's communicating on, say, port 80 to a separate VLAN. There might be 200 machines in that other VLAN. You don't want to open port 80 at all of them. So we need a lot more granularity in those suggested firewall rules. It's a good start, but it's still going to require a lot more work on our side to actually make it a real rule, instead of what it's trying to do with the macro rule.

I would like to see better micro-segmentation rules. That's key for me. That's our primary use case for it at this point. We might add others in the future but, at this point, that's what we need, and we're not quite getting it.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has been rock solid. We have never had an issue with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't had to scale it, which is surprising, because with almost all of the other VMware products that we use, we have scalability issues. This solution seems to handle it better than most of their other products.

How is customer service and technical support?

Tech support has been great. We even get access to the BU when we have questions about the API. We're very satisfied with it. 

Which solutions did we use previously?

We did not have a previous solution. We have a project to migrate from legacy networks into NSX-T. This solution was installed to facilitate that move, so that we can get there. It was recommended by our VMware TAM Services and by some of the engineers who were working for NSX-T.

The most important criteria when selecting a vendor are access to information, whether it's documentation, knowledge-base articles, or tech support; and stability. There is nothing more frustrating than having to touch the product frequently to make sure that it's up and running for you.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very easy. The deployment is just OVAs and it is really small, really fast to deploy. Just make 'em talk to each other and everything's happy.

What was our ROI?

If we can get it to provide those firewall rules it will literally save hundreds of man-hours, if not thousands of man-hours. So the ROI would be huge. But we're not quite there. When we get there, I anticipate the ROI will be much better.

What other advice do I have?

I want to say it's a 10 out of 10. If they fix that micro-segmentation thing it will absolutely be a 10. Right now it's about an eight out of 10. I think it's just a big jump. If they can fix that micro-seg, that means so much more to me, so I would give it that extra boost for that. But the usability of it, how nice the interface is, those are great. If they improve the API that might get us to a nine, but if they get the micro-seg, I'll give them the other two points.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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