WHITE PAPERThe Benefits of a Virtualized Approach to Advanced-LevelNetwork Services
Sponsored by: CiscoLucinda BorovickFebruary 2011
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.
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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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.