Networking / January 9, 2015

Visibility in the Virtual World – Webinar Recap

Updated October 14, 2021.

If you’ve been in networking for as long as I have, you have likely really enjoyed the last 3-4 years of innovation and experimentation in the industry. This renewed energy has been driven in large part by cloud-hosted applications, server virtualization, and their impacts on traditional models of networking.  While we are still in the first generation of network virtualization, the pairing of the technology with modern switches and new overlay protocols promises a degree of agility that would have been unfeasible in most cases with traditional (exclusively) physical networks.

This reminds me of another market transition, which was Voice over IP.  We had to go back to the drawing board and invent entirely new architectures and protocols, and even some new organizational charts, to make the leap from TDM to VoIP.  Just as the cost savings from packetized voice (and later, video) were compelling enough to drive an infrastructure overhaul, so are the potential financial and flexibility benefits of network virtualization to support the increasingly cloudy and virtualized enterprise.

I am a senior networking analyst for emerging technology analysis firm 451 Research, and the co-host of the Gigamon webinar, Visibility in the Virtual World. One of our many services at 451 is TheInfoPro (or TIP), a group of talented analysts who work closely alongside enterprise customers to identify key pain points, projects, and long term trends. One of the perks of being an analyst is being able to listen into the ‘TIP calls’, and hear first-hand what keeps networking professionals awake at night. One particular TIP call stands out among the many I’ve participated in, when one of our TIP analysts asked a director of networking what he thought about the growing trend towards virtualization of the network. His response was immediate, “It is not going to happen here. There is no way I am letting myself get VoIP’ed”.

His comment was telling. With every new technology transition, we initially sacrifice some of the predictability we depended on in the prior paradigm in exchange for the new features and benefits. His concerns of organizational changes signal an expected shift in the balance of power between server teams and networking teams that is by no means inevitable.  Reported utilization and load data from servers can drift when these same servers are under duress, while traffic data is incontrovertible. This brings us to the topic of the webinar, which is how to monitor (and secure) the hybrid physical and virtual networks of the near future.

A robust network visibility and monitoring infrastructure that encompasses physical network infrastructure, virtual network services, and cloud assets will prove critical to eliminate potential performance bottlenecks and points of failure in the new hybrid networks of the future.  If you haven’t already, please jump over to the webinar for deeper detail of how to tackle these forthcoming challenges.

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