As server virtualization moves into the enterprise and cloud data centers, networking needs to follow with virtual appliances. According to Business Week, the networking industry appears to be stuck in the 1990s — while servers and applications have gone virtual, migrating into cloud computing environments, networking technologies remain bound to physical hardware and data center racks.
“For the past decade of networking, the basic infrastructure setup consisted of applications running on servers that were then segmented by switches into virtual local area networks. Those switches then connected to routers and a potential plethora of appliances, depending on the application needs—physical devices such as load balancers, firewalls, unified threat management devices, Secure Socket Layer accelerators, virtual private network (VPN) concentrators, intrusion detection systems (IDS), data loss prevention devices, and so on.
“To be sure, some networking devices and appliances are now available in virtual form. Switches and routers have begun to move toward virtualization with VMware’s vSwitch, Cisco’s Nexus 1000v, the open-source Open vSwitch, and routers and firewalls running in various VMs from the company I helped found, Vyatta. For load balancers, Citrix has released a version of its Netscaler VPX software that runs on top of its virtual machine, XenServer; and Zeus Systems has an application traffic controller that can be deployed as a virtual appliance on Amazon EC2, Joyent, and other public clouds.”