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Making Real Networks From Virtual Things

Virtual switches and routers, when combined with user- and service-specific tunneling, could boost network agility.

Tom Nolle

January 5, 2015

1 Min Read

Talk about virtualization is so pervasive these days that you have to wonder if anything is real anymore. Network architects in particular must be asking this question, because at the root of every network strategy is the reality that you have to sell services and carry traffic.

To justify virtualization of routing, switching, and other functions, we not only have to support those two goals but do so in a way that's better than the real boxes of today could. The questions are "Can that be done?" and "How?" and the path to answers may start by recognizing that no single technology shift will do it all.

The basic idea of virtualization is to create the behavior or features of a physical device by taking a software-based abstraction of those features and hosting it on a pool of resources. The principles are the same as those already being adopted in cloud computing -- a virtual server is created by hosting a virtual machine on a real resource pool. The key point here is that the abstraction of network functionality can take two basic forms -- a single virtual element can provide all the features of a real device, or a system of interworking elements can combine to create those features. We can see examples of both these approaches developing today.

Read the rest of this story on No Jitter.

About the Author(s)

Tom Nolle

President & Founder, CIMI Corporation

Tom is a software engineer and architect with more than 30 years experience in telecommunications and network technology. He has been an independent consultant specializing in telecom, datacomm, media, technology, market forecasting, and regulatory policy analysis since 1979, and CEO of CIMI Corporation since 1982. Tom writes regularly for No Jitter and multiple TechTarget publications, and publishes his own public blog dedicated to telecom, media, and technology strategy professionals. He also creates a series of reports on technology, market, and economic conditions. Most recently, Tom launched CloudNFV, a multi-vendor initiative the ETSI standard for Network Functions Virtualization using principles of cloud computing and the Telemanagement Forum's GB922 Services domain, which grew to become the ExperiaSphere open source management and orchestration project.

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