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Category Archives: Hybrid Cloud

Network Virtualization: The Holy Grail of Workload Agility

This is a guest post from vCloud Service Provider Logicworks which originally appeared on the VMware vCloud Blog. You can read more from Logicworks on their blog, Gathering Clouds.

Everyone is familiar with virtualization. It’s become the IT standard for achieving greater levels of resource efficiency and functionality. While it’s just a tool, the vast majority of new builds utilize it in some way.

This holds true for managed service providers (MSPs) as well. The benefits of virtualization to an MSP are similar to what an enterprise would experience. Given the nature of their business, MSPs put a great emphasis on truly being agile to client requirements, both in terms of build times and modifications of client environments.

Virtualization is absolutely key to that, and has been since the inception of VMware. The ability to resize a component of a client’s infrastructure on-demand and on the fly is an absolute must nowadays.

However, when we talk about virtualization, we mean virtualization of the compute layer, which is what everyone speaks about relative to virtual machines (VMs). And while VMs are an amazing innovation, the really interesting stuff is happening at the storage and network virtualization layers.

Logicworks is very keen on network virtualization, as opposed to the traditional configuration of hardware switches, which is a major reason we joined the NSX Beta Program.

Historically, the challenge with network virtualization’s centered on the limitations of spanning the network virtualization layer from a client’s existing virtual environment to other environments, including other data centers.

One of the major benefits we’re looking to achieve with the NSX beta program is that the technology after the acquisition of Nicira makes it possible to span virtualization between data centers which helps realize the dream of true, still completely active mobile workloads.

One of the challenges that this resolves is lead times in deployments. As it is today, providers still need to log into various switches between different vendors to configure and test them. While this is somewhat automatable, it hasn’t achieved that same degree of automation, which compute virtualization enjoys. Network virtualization gives us the ability, using software and scripts and predetermined runbooks, to deploy clients via API calls to a control cluster instead of logging into physical devices.

In addition, providers also use various vendors’ networks offerings. This means that the set of commands one will have to run on a Juniper device is going to different than on an Extreme device, and complex configurations can be quite a bit different between the two.

If we abstract that away by making the basic configuration of either of those hardware devices as simple as possible, enough to enable network virtualization on top of it, then we can standardize our configurations across our clients. This process becomes more repeatable and much quicker to deploy –like the DevOps model applied to network virtualization, to a degree. If the work being done is as close to possible from one client to another, then we can remove potential errors and increase efficiencies through more automation.

Being on the cutting edge of not-yet-industry-standard technology enables Logicworks to deploy cross-production workloads, and serve as an agile service provider. This dovetails nicely with the next generation of network virtualization in that it mirrors our ability to respond quickly and dynamically to make adjustments in deployments.  For the first time, the capabilities of the technology match exactly what it is that we, as a hosting provider, do every day.

Network Virtualization In Action: Phoenix NAP

Phoenix NAP® is a full service data center and primary network access point (NAP) offering cloud services, dedicated server hosting, colocation, and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). William Bell, vice president of product development, cloud and enterprise services at Phoenix NAP, tells us that the company has implemented VMware network virtualization as a business-critical component of their new Virtual Private Data Center (VPDC).

“Network virtualization forms the foundation of everything else we’re able to do from a service delivery perspective, and it’s a major reason why we were able to extend our services globally to increase our business opportunities.”

 

Phoenix NAP’s VPDC combines leading-edge technologies, including network virtualization from VMware, to enable customers to rapidly extend their current IT environments to the cloud without high costs or lengthy timelines. Using VMware network virtualization technology, Phoenix NAP dynamically create virtual networks with advanced security services that are completely decoupled and independent from the physical network hardware. Phoenix NAP abstracts the network from physical underlying hardware to provide an integrated point-and-click network environment that enables customers to deploy their product closer to their locations. This allows Phoenix NAP to more efficiently utilize existing data center infrastructure, while reconnecting legacy environments within virtualized networks for customers.

“Network virtualization from VMware has freed us from the constraints of physical networking. We have more flexibility in determining where, when and how we advanced cloud services to our customers, and we have the agility to expand and contract those services in near real-time in an automated and programmatic way.”

 

The use of network virtualization reduces the time it takes Phoenix NAP to help customers extend their IT infrastructure to the cloud and more easily adopt infrastructure-as-a-service to improve their business agility.

Roger Fortier, VMware, Inc.

Network Virtualization in Action: NTT Communications

Today we are kicking off a new blog series called “Network Virtualization In Action” where we bring you the voice of the customer discussing their deployments or decisions around network virtualization.

Now it goes without saying that Japan has always been known as a technology hot bed. So it seems only fitting that we announced this week that NTT Communications (NTT Com), the cloud service provider of one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies NTT Group, will deploy VMware network virtualization as a core technology for its new cloud service, Enterprise Cloud (EC).We’re excited that representatives of NTT Com will join VMware’s Martin Casado on stage at Interop Tokyo this Friday, June 15, to share their story.

So why is this technological innovator turning to VMware network virtualization to support its new EC service?  Take a read of this post on the VMware Company Blog for all of the details.

Roger Fortier