Heavy Reading Research

Too Much Data, Too Small Networks

Large data centers have hit a wall in regard to network scalability, with many struggling to cope with the growing volume of information traveling between virtualized server and storage environments – particularly in multi-tenanted architectures designed to support cloud services where traffic isolation between multiple virtual machines running on a single physical server is essential for customer data security and compliance requirements. Network virtualization platforms remain at the base of the end user adoption curve to date with few customers willing or able to talk about real world deployments, but there remain compelling reasons why telcos, cloud service providers and Internet hosting companies in particular should look beyond 40/100Gbit/s throughput upgrades to specifically address the virtualization layer. Heavy Reading Service Provider IT Insider, "Network Virtualization Comes of Age in the Data Center," analyzes how network virtualization technology able to abstract virtual workloads from the underlying physical infrastructure could present significant management benefits for data center operators and an opportunity to run network applications and services in software only, opening up potential for software defined network (SDN) initiatives to drive down hardware upgrade and maintenance costs. It discusses how protocols, such as Shortest Path Bridging (SPB) and Transparent Interconnect of Lots of Links (TRILL), can be utilized to overcome the scalability and virtual machine (VM) portability and migration issues associated with the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), and the extent to which the Cisco and VMware backed Virtual eXtensible LAN (VXLAN), Microsoft recommended Network Virtualization Generic Routing Encapsulation (NVGRE) and Stateless Transport Tunneling (STT) protocols use MAC in IP encapsulation to support VLANs able to span multiple, geographically distant data centres via the wide area network (WAN). Finally, the report makes a detailed examination of individual vendor network virtualization platforms and go-to market strategies that tie in overlay and SDN technology with broader data center hardware and software portfolios, and predicts how evolving end user demand and ongoing standardization initiatives will drive transformation in the way suppliers approach commercial data center network sales opportunities in the future.

— Martin Courtney, Analyst, Heavy Reading Service Provider IT Insider

Network Virtualization Comes of Age in the Data Center, a 27-page report in PDF format, is available as part of an annual subscription (6 bimonthly issues) to Heavy Reading Service Provider IT Insider, priced at $1,595. Individual reports are available for $900.

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