Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: William Schmarzo, Elizabeth White, Mehdi Daoudi, APM Blog, Stackify Blog

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
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. 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.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at 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. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...