Network Virtualization: Managed Software Vendors
Virtualizing a network allows you to turn network functions into software and separate them from the hardware they run on.
Benefits and challenges of network virtualization
In addition to more choices of vendors, centralized control, and greater visibility across networks, one of the striking benefits of network virtualization is that it increases vendor choice.
With the advent of network virtualization, there are a number of challenges to address, such as managing large amounts of information generated by more prominent network visibility, recruiting workers with the appropriate skills, and dealing with workers with underdeveloped skills.
Companies are able to use managed service providers to manage the logistics of maintaining their networks. Companies that do not have a strong IT department to take care of their networks will benefit most from this method.
Virtualization of networks has many benefits
Software and hardware options from vendors
By using network virtualization, you can get rid of vendor-specific hardware and use vendor-independent commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers. In this sense, COTS hardware is generally useful, allowing any type of network function to be run as software.
Working with a single networking software vendor has the advantage of providing you with a single point of contact for network issues.
Companies can also design and implement software networking architectures that are interoperable across multiple vendors by working with systems integrators. Due to this, you won’t need to worry about multi-vendor network solutions.
Using a COTS model can also increase a company’s hardware provider options because it can search for a white box provider that meets its budget and resource needs.
By choosing vendor-neutral hardware, money can be saved that can be spent on managed networking services and software. The best thing that a company can do when evaluating the most appropriate model is to conduct due diligence.
One place to control the entire network
It is possible to make proactive and reactive adjustments to the network as demand changes as a result of having a virtual network.
With a hardware-based network, changes often require a complete replacement. The software can also be upgraded remotely and relatively quickly by a network administrator.
Network administrators can view and scatter network changes using software such as SDN controllers and other orchestration programs from anywhere.
An overview of networks’ visibility
In general, a centralized network control point provides visibility into the majority of the network infrastructure and its traffic. Dashboard administrators can use this feature to manage and orchestrate the network displays, displaying information about traffic at different levels of detail, depending on the service.
A software device such as extended detection and response (XDR) can log network traffic, inspect it for anomalies, and produce reports on network traffic behavior. In addition to providing interesting insights into the data, these reports are also useful for interpreting it.
There is no doubt that large networks generate a lot of data that is simply too much for humans or even some software to parse and understand. These attacks pose a heightened security risk due to their unrecognized nature. Automation allows networking to scale and respond to issues at a speed and scale that people are no longer able to achieve, which is why automation has become a priority.
The challenges of virtualizing networks
Managing a virtual network
Due to how they are constructed, virtual machines and containers add complexity to endpoints. Considering that both can be moved between servers, finding data becomes significantly more difficult.
Furthermore, because a server can house multiple virtual machines or containers, an admin has a greater number of endpoints under their domain.
There is also an increase in data traveling across the network due to the added runtime environments. A lack of orchestration to route traffic intelligently can result in bandwidth and latency issues.
No matter how complex the process, network virtualization makes future network improvements easier. The fact remains that without the staff and software to support those functions, it can be challenging.
Options for networking software vendors
Software services can be purchased from a variety of network vendors by companies with COTS network infrastructures. However, integrating software from different vendors can be challenging if the vendors are not allies. Furthermore, the additional complexity makes it more difficult to pinpoint errors in the network.
The Right Networking Staff is Hard to Find and Retain
The availability of qualified engineers is a significant challenge associated with network virtualization.
There is a severe shortage of people who know how to do this stuff. The number of individuals is insufficient.
There are not enough software engineers coming out of the schools. Network engineers aren’t being produced in sufficient numbers.
A lack of qualified staff will stifle market growth since there are not enough individuals to help the adoption of the technology.
Additionally, it is increasingly difficult for companies to retain engineers who have virtual network training.
If your vendor has a software designer providing services to an operator, for instance. Service designers may be employed by the operator today. However, since the provider provides that service to the operator, the operator’s software designer will only be responsible for the onboarding and certification of that service.
[Their work] has nothing to do with the design. In general, their abilities aren’t being used. Furthermore, they leave for Google, Amazon, or even Microsoft.
Companies such as the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and the Linux Foundation offer training classes to up-skill IT experts who are adapting to new network architectures to combat the employee shortage.
Key Takeaways from Network Virtualization
- Through network virtualization, companies can benefit from greater vendor choice, unified management, and more noticeable network visibility.
- Network virtualization challenges include managing the virtual network, finding qualified workers and keeping them, and dealing with all the data generated by increased network visibility.
- Network functions can be operated as software over vendor-neutral hardware, so companies can choose which vendors they want to supply these functions to.
- An organization that manages virtual networks properly must have robust network management software and qualified staff that is difficult to find and stay with the organization.
- A virtual network allows companies to see what is happening in the network, but it takes automation software to handle all that data.