Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Stefan Bernbo, Pat Romanski, Moshe Kranc, Elizabeth White, Derek Weeks

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog

Containers Expo Blog: Article

The Role of the Network in Virtualization

From Silos to a Service-Oriented Infrastructure

Evolving to a Service-Oriented Infrastructure
Virtualization is just one part of a multi-phase journey toward full automation and a policy-based, adaptive infrastructure. Organizations typically begin with some level of storage consolidation, data center consolidation, server standardization, and branch consolidation, all of which immediately contributes to improved asset utilization and efficiency. Virtualization has moved beyond the early adopter stage, especially in server virtualization, where companies are beginning to incorporate hypervisor technology into production systems and are experimenting with ways to use this technology to move applications transparently from one physical environment to another. According to Gartner, more than half the companies participating in 2007 IT infrastructure surveys were well along the infrastructure consolidation path. IDC concurs, predicting that virtualization will become a mainstream technology over the next few years.

At the same time, companies are recognizing the need for more advanced tools and processes to ensure that virtualization technologies can be implemented in production environments without increasing operational complexity. While virtualization brings many benefits, it also brings the IT staff new operational challenges. Service-orchestration solutions help address some of the challenges associated with maintaining separate physical and virtualization operational domains, while also easing the progression toward a more automated service-oriented infrastructure (SOI). (Figure 1)

Virtualization: Before and After
Let's examine a typical enterprise before it implements virtualization, where its choice is to share all or nothing. If a single physical application switch is used, applications must compete for resources, changes to one application can affect the others, and the device configuration is overly complex. Adding more physical switches creates an inefficient isolation of applications and results in device sprawl, under-utilized resources, and complexity in upgrading.

Conversely, with a virtualized architecture, abstraction and partitioning allow one physical switch to provide multiple virtual contexts, enabling isolated, secure applications with guaranteed resources and role-based access. This results in dramatic reductions in provisioning cycles, operating expenses (OpEx), and power requirements.

We can compare the evolution of data networking and the Internet with the new virtualized IT. In early data networking and wide-area communications, the problem was heterogeneous "network silos" comprising disparate transport and operating systems. The various protocols included ATM, FDDI, Ethernet, Token Ring, AppleTalk, Banyan Vines, Novell Netware, and DECnet that were costly, complex, and difficult to scale. Internet 1.0 delivered "information over IP" and provided a pervasive neutral medium with standard protocols for communicating globally and sharing information.

Similarly, within the enterprise, the problem is heterogeneous "infrastructure silos" - storage networks, applications, network equipment, servers, and interconnection technologies typically segmented by department or physical location - that are costly, complex, and difficult to scale. The solution is Internet 2.0, or "infrastructure over IP," providing a pervasive neutral medium, standard protocols, and built-in advanced capabilities for collaborating, sharing resources, and lowering costs.

Benefits of Virtualization
A significant advantage that comes with virtualization is reduced power consumption. Consider a typical enterprise that requires 10 Gbps load balancing, 20 Gbps firewall protection, 10 virtual contexts, and high availability. Using virtualized integrated modules that use approximately 11kW per hour, the enterprise will see an 85% reduction in power, providing more than $90,000 in OpEx savings over three years. Rack space is also reduced by nearly 30 rack units, with additional savings gained from reduced cabling, port consumption, and support costs.

Provisioning is also greatly simplified. To add one server to a Web farm in an existing silo'd infrastructure, multiple steps involving multiple departments and skill sets are required as illustrated in Figure 2. With any delay across the multiple layers of coordination, this simple expansion can take up to 90 days. New service turn-ups can stretch beyond 180 days. The "serial workflow" problem must be eliminated to streamline new service provisioning.

Automating infrastructure provisioning via the network uses virtual service templates and physical "pods" of servers, storage, and network equipment to accomplish the steps previously done by physical organizations and people. See Figure 3.

End-to-end service virtualization via the network pays off in several other ways besides reduced power consumption. Improved utilization, total cost of ownership (TCO), time savings, and flexibility are other benefits. For example, let's assume a traditional monolithic data center that experiences 25% year-over-year growth and 20% efficiency. In the second year of use, it will reach its power and capacity limits, suffer low asset utilization and escalating costs due to high operational overhead, and provide a low business value. Building a new data center can cost up to $250 million, plus an additional $25 million a year in operating expenses.

What happens when virtualization is deployed? Using metrics that Cisco discovered during its own data center redesign, utilization increases to 60% and lost capacity is regained. With virtualization, utilization rates increase dramatically, extending the life of the existing data center an average of four-and-a-half years. The average cost to maintain a new data center is $40 million a year, so over that period of extended life, savings will grow to $180 million. Other benefits become apparent as well, including the deferral of purchasing new capacity, improved asset utilization, better power efficiency, and lower TCO.

Phased Implementation
An enterprise committed to moving to a service-oriented network infrastructure will achieve the greatest success by following a phased approach that allows for gradual consolidation and virtualization, leading to the ultimate goal of automation. Figure 4 outlines the key elements of this phased approach.

  • Consolidation Phase: Starting with isolated resource islands and disparate networks, the first evolutionary step is to consolidate the computing and storage islands into enterprise-wide networks. One way is to consolidate data center resources into fewer physical locations. Another is to consolidate storage resources into single SANs, using virtual SANs (VSANs) to allow the consolidation of SAN islands onto a single fabric while ensuring scalability and security.
  • Virtualization Phase: Virtualization allows computing, network, and storage resources to be dynamically partitioned, provisioned, and assigned with ease to different applications. Logical server partitioning, blade server deployments, and application-aware load-balancing services are all part of this phase. Storage resources are pooled into one or several shared storage resource pools. Server processing resources are pooled into one or several shared processing resource pools. This virtualization improves agility and makes it easier for the data center to keep up with changing business conditions. Resource virtualization requires the support of intelligent networks that are aware of applications and can respond to changing conditions to optimize the performance of each application. Content switching and application-oriented networking are examples of application integration.
  • Automation Phase: The final step is flexible service automation, which allows an intelligent network fabric to detect and respond rapidly and automatically to the applications' changing needs, and to provision processing and storage and security resources as needed. Automated service provisioning, automated security responses, and self-healing systems are the cornerstones of this phase. Automating these processes not only speeds an enterprise's response to new customer needs, but also significantly lowers TCO by lessening the need for manual intervention and reduces the under-utilization of allocated processing and storage resources. It also improves reliability by reducing complexity and the need for human intervention.

More Stories By Peter Linkin

Peter Linkin brings over 16 years of experience in the Application Integration and Middleware business to his current responsibility as a senior Marketing Manager at Cisco for Data Center Solutions. Prior to joining Cisco he was Senior Director of WW Product Marketing at BEA Systems, where he helped lead their entry into the SOA and Application Platform spaces, and previously held senior product management and marketing responsibility for pioneering middleware technologies at Vitria, Lucent and Hewlett-Packard. He has been a frequent speaker at industry conferences and contributor to specialist publications. Mr. Linkin holds degrees in Physics and Business Economics from the UK.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datanami has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datanami is a communication channel dedicated to providing insight, analysis and up-to-the-minute information about emerging trends and solutions in Big Data. The publication sheds light on all cutting-edge technologies including networking, storage and applications, and the...
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EnterpriseTech has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. EnterpriseTech is a professional resource for news and intelligence covering the migration of high-end technologies into the enterprise and business-IT industry, with a special focus on high-tech solutions in new product development, workload management, increased effi...
In this presentation, Striim CTO and founder Steve Wilkes will discuss practical strategies for counteracting fraud and cyberattacks by leveraging real-time streaming analytics. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Steve Wilkes, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Striim, will provide a detailed look into leveraging streaming data management to correlate events in real time, and identify potential breaches across IoT and non-IoT systems throughout the enterprise. Strategies for processing massive ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TMC has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo and Big Data at Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Global buyers rely on TMC’s content-driven marketplaces to make purchase decisions and navigate markets. Learn how we can help you reach your marketing goals.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...