Virtualization abstracts dedicated, physical resources, which can be allocated to specific tasks. Types of virtualization are storage, application, desktop, server, and networking.
Virtualized services can run either within traditional virtual machines or in containers. A virtual machine has a guest OS and the service. A container is a complete standalone package, with the service and all its dependencies on the system.
Virtualization enables new network services to be created and deployed in minutes, instead of in days. These services can be scaled up or down quickly to match demand.
Organizations of all sizes can benefit from automation. You can save time, eliminate manual work, and reduce OpEx. Virtualized services use hardware resources more efficiently and only as necessary, leading to savings in CapEx.
Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) enables remote management of infrastructure and rapid scaling of resources. Automated service delivery with orchestration enables administrators to create and deploy services called Virtual Network Functions (VNFs). NFV should support VNFs from many vendors to meet specific business needs.
A hypervisor provides management for virtualized services. It enables connections between virtual services and external interfaces. It should include platform management, a virtualization layer, a programmable API, and a health monitoring system.
Network traffic can traverse functions such as SD-WAN, firewalls, WAN optimization, and load balancing. These are common services at branch locations. Instead of running on a dedicated appliance, these functions can run on general-purpose x86 platforms or on purpose-built platforms. VNFs can run on virtual machines or in containers.
There are two main hardware options that support NFV. The first is a standard, off-the-shelf x86 server. The second is a “purpose-built” platform designed to support NFV applications. Purpose-built platforms include compute, storage, and networking capabilities. They are more efficient than x86 servers but can add to the cost of the overall solution.
Cloud-based management offers greater ease of use and functionality than on-premise options. Automated tools are essential for effectively administering a virtualized network to keep up with changing business demands. These include tools to create, monitor usage, and perform ongoing management tasks, such as service placement and removal.