Introduction to Network Virtualization

Intro to Network Virtualization

The data center demands of today are much different than they were a decade ago. With the Cloud Consumption Model being adopted across the entire industry, the necessity for on-demand provisioning of storage, compute, and networking resources are larger than ever. The shift to cloud and virtual computing just may be the single biggest transition in IT history. It will impact businesses and organizations in several ways as enterprises work to meet the demands of today’s consumer-driven market.

The IT industry has always been known for its buzzwords, and today that buzzword is virtualization. But what does that really mean?

What is Virtualization?

It’s important to define and understand what virtualization is before discussing the different types that are available. Virtualization is a broad term referring to the abstraction of computer resources. It hides the physical characteristics of computing resources from users, whether they are end users or applications. It can include making several physical resources, such as servers or storage devices appear as a single virtual resource.

Virtualization is not a new concept but has become more popular in the last decade or so. The term can be applied to several concepts including:

Network virtualization involves decoupling infrastructure services from the physical platform the service operates on. The IT service in use is not attached to any physical asset; instead, the services exist in a logical abstraction model that runs within virtualization software.

Benefits of Network Virtualization

Organizations that embrace the use of network virtualization will realize the following benefits:

  • Lower hardware costs: With network virtualization, overall hardware costs are reduced, while providing a bandwidth that is more efficient. Also, thanks to automation and centralized control, most operational processes that are required to manage the network are reduced, allowing for reduced operational costs.
  • Dynamic network control: Network virtualization offers centralized control over network resources, and allows for dynamic provisions and reconfiguration. Also, computer resources and applications can communicate with virtual network resources directly. This also allows for optimization of application support and resource utilization.
  • Rapid scalability: Network virtualization created an ability to scale the network rapidly either up or down to manage and create new networks on demand. This is a valuable tool/resource as enterprises move their IT resources to the cloud and shift their model to an ‘as a service’.

What to Look for in a Network Virtualization Solution

IT and business leaders are working to create business agility. In order to accomplish this, CIOs must turn to several emerging technologies to gain a greater amount of IT agility. A sustainable solution should include the following elements:

  • Improved scalability
  • Simplicity
  • Extends beyond the data center
  • Improved network uptime
  • Standards-based solution

One thing is certain: network virtualization and cloud computing are the future. As CIOs begin to have more input into organizational structures, these new concepts will be implemented throughout more organizations. As consumer demand for real-time services continues to grow, enterprises will have no choice but to look at network virtualization as the best solution.


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