Barney's Blog

Blog archive

Get Set for Network Virtualization

Server virtualization was invented in 1967 or '68 by IBM (and the server was a mainframe). It became the revolution that it is today by virtue of two companies: Citrix (who turned NT servers into thin client hosts) and VMware (who turned Windows Servers into multiple Windows Servers).

Now the same thing is starting to happen to the network. No, not virtual LANs, which are cool but kind of passé. I'm talking about using software to emulate hardware networking devices, such as NICs, adapters, routers and switches.

First, this can save gobs of money. But if all this is virtualized, it can also be dynamic -- a must for a truly virtual data center and an absolute requirement for a true private cloud.

Microsoft is jumping on this bandwagon and is now talking about how Windows Server 2012 plays in this space. So far, it is really just a cog in the overall machine, and the machine for now is the high service provider area.

Just as virtualization started with big iron, Software Defined Networking (SDN) has to start somewhere -- and the high end is as good a place as any. In fact, these guys have the bucks and the savvy to sort it all out and later it can trickle down to us common folk.

My guess is that in five years we'll see some real SDN products that will simplify your network and make a lot of reconfiguration unnecessary. 

Are you up on SDN and if so, what do you make of the whole thing? Your analysis welcome at dbarney@redmond.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 08/27/2012 at 1:19 PM


comments powered by Disqus

Reader Comments:

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 Dan Iowa

Let's not get too carried away. Having worked on some old mainframe systems from the 1980's I can tell you that what they are claiming to be virtual servers in the 1960s is not really the same thing. I'd call them virtual processing units or virtual processors. Let's face it that is back in the days prior to dumb terminals. There was no internet, and there was no LAN. To be honest, an equivalent concept would have been virtual mainframes that could all talk to each other, but the idea of having mainframes actually talk to each other was not really something anyone was thinking about yet beyond the notion of having one computer dial into a lowspeed modem hooked to another just to download a file, and that was cutting edge when IBM "invented virtual servers".

Add Your Comment Now:

Your Name:(optional)
Your Email:(optional)
Your Location:(optional)
Comment:
Please type the letters/numbers you see above

Redmond Tech Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.