Notes from VMworld: Easing the Pains of Virtualization

Vendors at VMworld demonstrate solutions for automation, orchestration, and visibility for virtualized networks.

By Jude Chao | Posted Aug 26, 2013
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By now, server virtualization is commonplace and network virtualization looks set to follow, especially since VMware has unveiled its NSX network virtualization solution. In fact, plenty of vendors are already gearing up to address major pain points of a virtualized network environment, as VMworld 2013 demonstrates.

Virtual Network Visibility

Network visibility, as Enterprise Networking Planet Data Center blogger Art Cole discussed last week, is a major perceived barrier to the adoption of software defined networks, or even less drastic models of network virtualization. That looks set to change, with a crop of network visibility solutions that enable views into virtual traffic.

Gigamon's VMworld booth featured the vendor's Traffic Visibility Fabric, a framework enabling visibility into both physical and virtual networks. The vendor has plans to extend their solutions for SDN deployments: APIs and programmatic interfaces are currently under development. Arista and ExtraHop, meanwhile, are on hand to demonstrate their Persistent Monitoring Architecture, announced last week. Riverbed is showcasing a virtual network visibility solution. So are Silect and Net Optics, among others.

Automation and Orchestration of Virtualized Networks

Also key to the virtualization and SDN conversations are the automation and orchestration needs of the complex and ever-changing networks of the near future. Here, as with virtual network visibility, plenty of vendors are stepping up to provide solutions. Both Puppet Labs' Puppet and Opscode's Chef are making appearances on the VMworld show floor in their enterprise states, Puppet Enterprise and Enterprise Chef.

Cloud Passage Halo takes an interesting approach to automated security and compliance for cloud environments, with containerized agents – "daemons" – and a SaaS delivery strategy that the vendor claims offer far greater scalability and far lower server impact than traditional security strategies. Intigua also uses virtual container technology, but for different reasons. The company, which offers a solution to automate the operations management layer of a virtual network, containerizes its agents to isolate them from the underlying OS. This, the company says, reduces the risk of unwanted changes, misconfigurations, and other common issues.

And this barely scratches the surface of what VMworld 2013 has to offer. Stay tuned for in-depth coverage of the best of the conference and more roundups in key areas like virtual network security and the latest in virtual networking gear.

ENP editor Jude Chao Jude Chao is Executive Editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Follow her on Twitter @judechao.

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