Enterprise IT Watch Blog

Apr 9 2010   7:00AM GMT

The network evolution: Virtualization and the cloud force new strategies

Guest Author Profile: Guest Author

Today’s guest post comes from Rivka Little, site editor of SearchNetworking.com and my former colleague from my day’s in TechTarget’s networking group. I asked her if she’d be willing to write a guest post for this month’s look at all things networking, and she agreed, taking on challenging topic of how networks are going to matter as we enter the age of the cloud, virtualization and other technologies that promise to push IT out of the office. You can read more of Rivka’s reporting and analysis at The Network Hub blog.

The network has been forgotten. At least that seemed to be the case over the last couple of years amid the hubbub surrounding server virtualization and cloud computing.

But stark realities have brought the network back into focus. Server virtualization and cloud computing aim to dynamically deliver applications and data — provisioning and de-provisioning resources on demand. There is no doing that without a new kind of network.

Networking teams are no longer solely responsible for architecting, implementing, securing and managing LANs and WANs. Now they find themselves implementing unified data center fabrics that converge storage and data center networks so that applications can flow freely from its resting state through to the WAN and LAN.

Networking teams also find themselves responsible not only for routing and switching between physical machines, but deep within the server. They are managing traffic both within the server between virtual machines and among physical servers in multiple data centers.

This will eventually lead to the creation of virtualized network components that sit atop of physical switches and routers. Among SearchNetworking readers surveyed in 2009, 40% said managing virtualization would be a top priority for the networking team in 2010.

Networking pros will also use these virtualization management skills in building out cloud computing networks. Network architects find themselves building both private clouds and hybrid clouds that interconnect private data center resources with those in public facilities.

Among SearchNetworking members, 35% say their companies are considering building an internal cloud in 2010 while another 30 percent say their networking resources will be affected by supporting external cloud services.

The shift to the cloud model will require users to push intelligence away from the data center core and into the layers of the network. Enterprises will seek intelligent edge switches with baked in access control, security, visibility and management. Routers and switches will act as servers that have built-in application-specific firewalls and bandwidth management. This type of manageability will mean the ability to burst up and shrink down bandwidth according to application demand.

Finally, all this shifting in technology comes along with a serious change in culture for networking teams. More than ever before, IT organization silos are fading and networking, systems and storage teams are pressed to work together to enable unified fabrics, virtualization and cloud computing networks. As this transition occurs, networking pros will have to make their voices heard and claim their central role. That shouldn’t be too difficult as networking technology has already surfaced as the lifeline of these emerging technologies.

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  • Guide to the future of Enterprise-Class Networking - Enterprise IT Watch Blog
    [...] this month, Rivka Little, site editor for SearchNetworking, wrote a guest post about evolving networks and how¬† it’s no longer enough to move bits from one end of the tube to the other: [...]
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