What is Network Virtualization?
Network virtualization is a process that enables different networks to be combined, isolated, and managed as a single virtual network. This process allows virtual networks to be entirely independent of physical hardware and can be used to create multiple networks on a single physical infrastructure.
Network virtualization has become increasingly popular as businesses seek to maximize their use of physical infrastructure while reducing costs. This technology allows companies to run multiple networks on a single physical infrastructure while providing each network with dedicated bandwidth, security, and performance.
The following scenarios are made possible by network virtualization:
A virtual network can be formed by combining two or more physical networks.
A physical network can be divided into separate, self-contained virtual networks.
VMs can connect to or migrate between domains without requiring network reconfiguration.
How network virtualization works
The network hypervisor is the critical component of network virtualization. This hypervisor offers the necessary abstraction layer and monitoring and administration functions. Administrators can use this software to design, provision, and manage virtual networks.
Because network virtualization is driven by software, administrators can do activities manually. Or have a computer perform them using orchestration and automation technologies, which allow virtual networks to be constructed and controlled automatically.
Network virtualization can be used to create virtual local area networks (VLANs), virtual private networks (VPNs), and virtual wide area networks (WANs). VLANs segment a physical network into multiple logical networks, while VPNs provide secure remote access to a network. WANs are used to provide comprehensive area connectivity over a long distance.
Major network virtualization tools
Primary network virtualization tools include the following:
- Affirmed Networks' Virtual Evolved Packet Core
- Cisco Application-Centric Infrastructure
- Cisco Elastic Services Controller
- ECI's Mercury Network Function Virtualization
- Gigamon GigaVue-VM
- SolarWinds Virtualization Manager
Network virtualization benefits
Network virtualization benefits include the following:
- Reduced time to provision and configure a network, sometimes from weeks to minutes;
- greater agility in network scaling or service deployments
- ability to deploy and operate workloads within the virtualized network regardless of the underlying physical topology
- significant improvements in operational efficiency through automation and orchestration
- Enhanced network security within the data center and across the enterprise.
Network virtualization can also create virtualized networks connected over the Internet. These networks are often called “cloud-based” networks because they are hosted on a cloud platform. Cloud-based networks provide the same features and benefits as traditional networks but are more cost-effective and flexible.
Advantages of Network Virtualization
There are several advantages to network virtualization. Network virtualization allows businesses to create more efficient use of their physical infrastructure. By combining multiple networks into a single virtual network, businesses can reduce costs while providing each network with its dedicated bandwidth, security, and performance.
Network virtualization also provides businesses with greater flexibility and scalability. Businesses can quickly and easily create new virtual networks and increase or decrease the number of virtual networks as their needs change. This allows businesses to quickly scale their networks to meet the demands of their customers.
Network virtualization can also help businesses improve network security. By isolating each network into its virtual environment, businesses can better control their network traffic and protect their networks from malicious attacks.
Finally, network virtualization can help businesses reduce latency and improve performance. By creating multiple virtual networks, businesses can better distribute their network traffic and reduce latency. This can result in improved response times and better performance for their customers.
Disadvantages of Network Virtualization
While network virtualization offers many benefits, there are also some potential disadvantages. One of the most significant disadvantages of network virtualization is its cost. Creating and managing virtual networks can be complex and time-consuming, and businesses may incur additional costs for the hardware and software required to create and manage their virtual networks.
In addition, businesses may also have difficulty managing their virtual networks if they do not have the right personnel or resources. Virtual networks can be complex and challenging, so businesses must ensure they have the right personnel and resources to manage their virtual networks effectively.
Finally, businesses may also experience some performance issues when using virtual networks. Virtual networks are not as reliable and stable as physical networks, so businesses may experience slower performance or outages occasionally.
How Network Virtualization Can Strengthen Business Networks
Network virtualization allows you to implement a network that includes all the characteristics above in your corporate environment as enterprises implement software-defined networking (SDN) technologies such as software-defined vast area network (SD-WAN) software to support hybrid cloud settings.
Or to help them deliver apps and information fast, the notion of network virtualization is becoming increasingly significant.
Network virtualization is the capacity to control and prioritize traffic in network segments that many external networks may share. This capability enables administrators better to use performance, resources, availability, and security.
Network virtualization is an effective way for businesses to maximize their use of physical infrastructure and reduce costs. This technology allows businesses to create multiple virtual networks on a single physical infrastructure while providing each network with dedicated bandwidth, security, and performance.
However, businesses need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of network virtualization before deciding if it is the right solution for their needs. If businesses do decide to use network virtualization, they should ensure they have the right personnel and resources in place to manage their virtual networks effectively.