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Quick Bit: Virtual & Cloud Networking – Where It ISN’T Going…

In my Four Horsemen presentation, I made reference to one of the challenges with how the networking function is being integrated into virtual environments.  I’ve gone on to highlight how this is exacerbated in Cloud networking, also.

Specifically, as it comes to understanding how the network plays in virtual and Cloud architectures, it’s not where the network *is* in the increasingly complex virtualized, converged and unified computing architectures, it’s where networking *isn’t.*

What do I mean by this?  Here’s a graphical representation that I built about a year ago.  It’s well out-of-date and overly-simplified, but you get the picture:

virtualnetwork-whereThere’s networking at almost every substrate level — in the physical and virtual construct.  In our never-ending quest to balance performance, agility, resiliency and security, we’re ending up with a trade-off I call simplexity: the most complex simplicity in networking we’ve ever seen.   I wrote about this in a blog post last year titled “The Network Is the Computer…(Is the Network, Is the Computer…)

If you take a look at some of the more recent blips to appear on the virtual and Cloud networking  radar, you’ll see examples such as:

This list is far from inclusive.  Yes, I know I’ve left off blade server manufacturers and other players like HP (ProCurve) and Juniper, etc.  as well as ADC vendors like f5.  It’s not that I don’t appreciate their solutions, it’s just that I have a couple of free cycles to write this, and the list above appear on the top of my stack.

I plan on writing in more detail about the impact some of these technologies are having on next generation datacenters and Cloud deployments, as it’s a really interesting subject for me coming from my background at Crossbeam.

The most startling differences are in the approach of either putting the networking (and all its attendant capabilities) back in the hands of the network folks or allowing the server/virtual server admins to continue to leverage their foothold in the space and manage the network as a component of the converged and virtualized solution as a whole.

My friend @aneel (Twitter)  summed it up really well this morning when comparing the Blade Network Technology VMready offering and the Cisco Nexus 100ov:

huh.. where cisco uses nx1kv to put net control more in hands of net ppl, bnt uses vmready to put it further in server/virt admin hands

Looking at just the small sampling of solutions above, we see the diversity in integrated networking, external fabrics, converged fabrics (including storage) and add-on network processors.

It’s going to be a wild ride kids.  Buckle up.