Last year, we wrote about FireHost, a managed cloud host that’s obsessed with security, trying to choose between Cisco‘s Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and VMware‘s NSX for its software-defined networking (SDN) architecture.
Today, VMware came out announcing itself as the winner.
FireHost will be using VMware NSX for its entire fourth-generation cloud architecture, says Jason Rieger, FireHost’s principal cloud architect (and, therefore, a guy with a lot of say in the cloud architecture).
What makes it a nice endorsement, from VMware’s point of view, is that FireHost designed its network with particular emphasis on security. Its poster-child client is hacker Kevin Mitnick, whose web site is still attacked regularly, the company claims. And security, based on NSX’s ability to create isolated network segments for different tenants — has become a key selling point for NSX.
FireHost evaluated “numerous” options, as today’s press release notes, but when we talked to Rieger last year, the choice was coming down to ACI or NSX.
Related: Cisco or VMware? FireHost Goes SDN Shopping
One deciding factor was the integrated nature of NSX’s security capabilities. The security story for Cisco’s ACI revolved around a few dozen partnerships — meaning features were available, but with some assembly required. “NSX is really a networking-and-security framework,” Rieger says.
FireHost was founded in 2009 with the aim of providing a cloud hosting platform more secure (and more compliance-minded) than anything previous. The company’s security operations reflect the military background of founder and CEO Chris Drake (ex-U.S. Army). NSX “allows us to take the metholodogies of those guys and operationalize them, to improve our differentiation in the market from a security standpoint,” Rieger says.
FireHost expects to develop new security services by building on certain aspects of NSX, but Rieger declined to discuss details about what those aspects are. After all, it’s no fun being a security company with a military heritage if you don’t keep at least a few secrets.