Sunday, March 31, 2013

Redefining Networking

The networking industry as we know and love is shaken. New concepts emerge almost daily, buzz words abound, various “visions” in their nascent forms mixing reality with fantasy. Beneath the surface of chaos, fundamental changes are taking shape.

Like many network professionals, I feel the need to navigate through the frontal tide of confusion, and grasp the essence of change. Initially, as I swallowed a lot of information, I was easily confused and swayed one way or another. Let’s face it, most materials out there are vendor affiliated, which is inherently partial and biased. But over time, a clearer picture has emerged. However pure and simple, it has given me consistency and continuation in the thought process. I hope it will help you establish your own framework as well, and chart your own course forward.

Virtual Networking – the beginning of change
Let’s start with why, why the change, why now. To me, change is not about doing what networking already does, in a different way. Fundamentally, networking enables communication and supports compute, which enables applications. Compute has gone through its own revolution which is virtualization. Compute virtualization brought networking into the hypervisor environment, thus creating an overlap between two previously separate domains. This rudimentary form of virtual networking can be seen in the form of current generation virtual switches.