Network virtualization solutions decouple network services from pre-existing and traditional hardware, allowing it to be provisioned virtually. Any hardware services can be recreated virtually, allowing for increased flexibility and agility. One of the most common use cases for network virtualization is to use multiple operating systems from a single device. This allows you to use applications that only run on specific devices, or to easily test new software across multiple products.
Management of hardware infrastructure can be complex and more time consuming than software deployments. It is also more costly – you will require multiple devices, all of which perform a very similar function. These costs and complications can be greatly reduced when implemented as software solutions. As software infrastructure, it is possible to create, provision, and manage any services with ease.
In this article, we will explore some of the top network virtualization solutions – by that, we don’t just mean hypervisors, but also backup solutions optimized for virtual environments, hyper-converged infrastructure, and virtual machines (VMs) with specific use cases, too. We will touch on each solution’s key features and suggest what type of organization would benefit most from their implementation.
How Does Network Virtualization Work?
Network virtualization requires a piece of software called a hypervisor to sit on top of a physical or host server. A hypervisor will take the capabilities of your physical server and assign them to your virtual one.
Once you have a hypervisor installed, you can build virtual machines (VMs) to run in the way that you need them to. You can think of a VM as a software-based computer – this makes them very agile and allows you to run multiple VMs independently from one another on a single hypervisor. For instance, you can have Linux, Windows, and MacOS running on a hypervisor, then pick and choose the services you need from each of the operating systems.
What Are The Benefits Of Virtualization?
There are three main benefits to virtualization:
- Cost savings – virtual environments require much less infrastructure to run, thereby saving on maintenance and buying costs.
- Agility and speed – VMs are simple and quick to manage. If, for instance, you need to test a piece of software across multiple environments, VMs make this roll out simple.
- Decreased downtime – if a host becomes unavailable for any reason, you can simply move the VM to a different host, allowing you to keep operating as usual.
What Are The Different Types Of Hypervisors?
There are two types of hypervisors:
Type 1 Hypervisors (bare metal hypervisors) are installed directly onto the physical host server. These are most used are most secure and have benefits such as reduced latency.
Type 2 Hypervisors (hosted hypervisors), sit on top of the host OS, rather than being installed directly to the physical server. These hypervisors are more commonly used by end-users.
What Is Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI)?
Hyper-converged infrastructure, or HCI, is a type of software that virtualizes every element of a traditionally hardware-based system. This results in a much more flexible solution that is easy to deploy to a range of use cases. All HCIs will include:
- A hypervisor
- Software-defined storage
- Virtualized networking