Network virtualization is an emerging technology that enables datacenter managers to ease VM (virtual machine) provisioning challenges, improve automation, and support the scalability demands of large datacenters.
Network virtualization (NV) is in its very early stages of adoption and encompasses several competing standards, a large number of technology suppliers, and multiple open source options.
Key questions about the NV market include:
Definition of network virtualization
Network virtualization uses tunnels to create virtual networks on top of traditional (Ethernet) physical networks. Leveraging protocols such as VXLAN or NVGRE, NV provides Layer 3 tunneling which separates the virtual network from the underlying physical network hardware, thus enabling provisioning of virtual networks and accompanying services between servers in the datacenter.
Benefits of network virtualization
Implementation of network virtualization provides a number of key benefits for datacenter managers, including:
Network virtualization is offered by a significant number of technology suppliers. Each supplier has as different take on network virtualization with accompanying strengths, weaknesses, protocols, and pricing options.
There are a number of open source options for network virtualization, including OpenDayLight and Open vSwitch. Other NV technology suppliers include: ADARA, Big Switch, IBM, NEC, Cisco, Redhat, HP, and Arista.
NV market variables
Forecasting the market for network virtualization market involves a number of key variables, including:
Current and future market adoption
Current adoption of NV technology is in its very early phases with a few leading-edge organizations in production use and more communications service providers and enterprises in the pilot phases. Running NV software as an overlay to existing network infrastructure provides a relatively easy way to alleviate VM networking challenges. As a result, I expect NV adoption to increase strongly during the 2015-2016 timeframe. The future adoption of NV technology will be dependent on a number of key variables, including pricing, standards, and the impact of open source. I forecast that spending on the SDN software market (of which NV is a subset) will reach nearly $1.2 billion worldwide by 2018.
— Lee Doyle, Principal Analyst, Doyle Research