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The Benefits of a Virtualized Approach to Advanced - Level Network Services

The Benefits of a Virtualized Approach to Advanced - Level Network Services

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Published by Michael Leonard
Advanced-level network services are a necessity for a scalable virtual data center and a key to cloud service delivery. These services provide application acceleration and server load balancing to improve user productivity, and ensure optimal resource utilization, and they provide for monitoring quality of service a well as security services to isolate applications and resources in logical zones in data centers and cloud environments to ensure regulatory compliance and reduce risk of data breaches.
Advanced-level network services are a necessity for a scalable virtual data center and a key to cloud service delivery. These services provide application acceleration and server load balancing to improve user productivity, and ensure optimal resource utilization, and they provide for monitoring quality of service a well as security services to isolate applications and resources in logical zones in data centers and cloud environments to ensure regulatory compliance and reduce risk of data breaches.

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Published by: Michael Leonard on Feb 20, 2011
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WHITE PAPERThe Benefits of a Virtualized Approach to Advanced-LevelNetwork Services
Sponsored by: CiscoLucinda BorovickFebruary 2011
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Advanced-level network services are an integral component of today's scalable virtualdatacenter design. These services provide application acceleration and loadbalancing that improve user productivity, ensure optimal resource utilization, andmonitor quality of service. They also provide security services to isolate applicationsand resources in consolidated datacenters and cloud environments that ensurecompliance and reduce risk.Deploying advanced-level network services in a virtualized datacenter environmenthas traditionally been extremely challenging. Typical deployments of services such asload balancing, WAN optimization, application security, and network monitoring andcontrol have been performed using dedicated hardware in static network topologies.These deployments typically do not provide sufficient flexibility to support virtualizedworkloads, and enterprises are challenged to support on-demand virtual machine (VM)provisioning, workload mobility, and public or private cloud deployments. Perhaps worstof all, deploying advanced-level network services using a traditional appliance-centricapproach does not provide for consistency of features and policies across the entirenetwork in an automated fashion because policies are applied at the level of theindividual device and not necessarily at the level of the entire network.This inability of advanced-level network services to flexibly accommodate large-scalevirtualization limits organizations' ability to efficiently deploy new applications,increases operational costs, and acts as a roadblock to wider-scale adoption of virtualization and cloud computing. While enterprises have been rapidly adoptingserver virtualization and cloud computing in order to realize the benefits of reducedserver sprawl, reduced operating costs, and greater levels of application availability,they have often done so in spite of — and not because of — the flexibility, or lackthereof, provided by their underlying network.One solution is to implement virtualized advanced-level network services (i.e.,services that are deployed as software) in a virtualized manner and not as pointappliances in the network. Such virtualized services can provide the same set of features and functionality available previously, but in a more scalable, unified, andcost-effective manner. Yet this is only a partial solution because the virtual servicesmust also have visibility and support for the virtual applications and allow for application mobility and on-demand capacity expansion.
IDC defines
network services
as servicesthat are designed tofacilitate and optimizenetwork operations,primarily at thenetwork level.Examples include theability to set upVLANs and security atthe network level(IPsec).
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IDC defines
advanced-level network services
 as network services thatare primarilyconcentrated at theapplication levels of theOSI stack, consisting of services such as loadbalancing, WANoptimization, applicationsecurity, and networkmonitoring and control.
 
 
2 #226863 ©2011 IDC
Vendors and IT organizations have been taking piecemeal approaches to this bycobbling together homegrown solutions, focusing on vendors' point solutions, andimplementing siloed virtualization deployments. This is because few vendors haveoffered virtualized network services in a standardized, holistic way until now. CiscoUnified Network Services (UNS) represents one of the industry's first approaches toincorporating virtualized advanced network services to more fully and seamlesslysupport virtualization/cloud technologies and enable enterprises to more widelyrealize their benefits while still incorporating advanced-level network services such asload balancing, WAN optimization, network security, and network monitoring andcontrol into their networks. And because these services are implemented in avirtualized manner and are not dependent on point appliances, organizations canensure that features and policies can be applied in a consistent manner across their environment, even in multitenant environments found in application hosting providersor enterprises supporting private cloud deployments for multiple business units.
SITUATION OVERVIEW: CURRENTNETWORKS LIMIT VIRTUALIZATION ANDCLOUD ADOPTION
Growth in Server Virtualization
Previous-generation application infrastructures were built using dedicated server hardware in the enterprise datacenter, usually with one or more physical servers per application. As the number of applications grew, so too did the server, network, andmanagement infrastructure required to support them. Beginning several years ago,enterprises addressed this physical server sprawl by introducing virtualization,consolidating the workloads that had been previously scattered on multiple serversdown to a single server.This trend has accelerated in recent years to the point where the worldwide installedbase of physical servers has largely leveled off since 2008, while the virtual server installed base continues to grow at more than 30% per year. IDC expects that theinstalled base of virtual servers will be approximately equal to the installed base of physical servers by the end of 2011 (see Figure 1). Further, IDC estimates that only9% of workloads and 2.1% of physical servers were virtualized in 2005. IDC expectsover 22% of physical servers and a full 69% of workloads to be virtualized by 2013.
 
©2011 IDC #226863 3
FIGURE 1
Worldwide Server Shipments and Installed Base
Source: IDC, 2011
Virtualization has helped enterprises reduce physical server sprawl, driveconsolidation, and increase server utilization. This has helped reduce up-front capitalcosts, reduce operating costs in power and cooling, extend the life of manydatacenters, and drive greater levels of application availability. It has also yieldedbenefits in flexibility, agility, and control by introducing a virtual layer between theOS/application layer and the underlying hardware. However, even as virtualizationhas helped reduce the number of physical servers, the number of virtual serverscontinues to rise, resulting in increased complexity and server personnelmanagement costs.
 Adoption of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing builds on and extends the benefits of virtualization while addressingsome of the issues with virtualization in terms of complexity and server personnelmanagement costs. Cloud computing enables higher levels of automation,orchestration, provisioning, and deployment, and it can help IT departments morerapidly scale their compute resources to more flexibly adapt to changing businessrequirements. It also provides elasticity: It helps organizations put the right amount of resources in the right place at the right time.Cloud computing allows IT organizations to reduce complexity in their environment,ease workload for internal IT staff, and reduce the number of skills that need to bemaintained in their organization. It can help IT departments more rapidly scale their compute resources to more flexibly adapt to changing business requirements. In fact,
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Server shipmentsPhysical installed baseVirtual installed base

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