Virtualized networks have emerged and are continuing to rise in popularity as the go-to approach to modern networking. This trend is expected to continue over the next 10 years via the combined utilization of 4 core technologies – segmented switching and routing, overlay networks, and virtual routers/switches, and software-defined networking. Let’s explore what each of these technologies entails and why SD-WAN technology will be the leading paver of change within the space. Let’s start off with overlay network strategies.
Option 1: Overlay networking (Old technology)
This method of virtualized networking includes using software to establish multiple layers of network abstraction, which is then used to run multiple virtualized network layers on top of the original physical network. An overlay network is created by setting up two endpoints and creating a virtual connection between them. The endpoints could be both actual physical locations and/or virtual or logical locations denoted by a cloud-based software address.
Unlike the other technologies mentioned in this piece, overlay networking actually includes software-defined WANs, whose implementation is increasing in popularity, to create virtual LANs and private networks.
The disadvantage of overlay networking:
One of the biggest disadvantages about overlay networking is that there is a notable separation between the virtual and physical networks, which means that the physical networks are unable to adjust to the growing nature of virtual networks.
Option 2: Segmented switching and routing (Old technology)
Perhaps the most traditional technique by which virtualized networks have been built, the segmented approach depends heavily on real and physical devices to create cloud networks. To meet the speed of upscaling cloud network is currently undergoing, this approach would require constant updates to network hardware. Without these changes, businesses would be unable to foster a network that can meet the growing multi-tenant requirements of cloud computing.
The disadvantage of switching and routing:
As we have already highlighted, scalability is a major problem for this approach given that enterprises and businesses would have to regularly invest heavily on devices like routers and switches, which also has the dangerous simultaneous risk of destabilizing the entire network infrastructure while affecting other customers. This approach is, therefore, not only difficult to scale but very expensive and risky at the same time.
What is deploying virtual switches and routers?
This technology is very dependent on virtual wires provided by network operators – virtual switches and routers are hosted on various servers and are connected by these “virtual wires”. While virtual routers and switches are increasingly being adopted, the core challenge for virtual switches and routers is the ability to deploy them outside the data centers they are located within.
The disadvantage of deploying virtual switches and routers:
The main catch to deploying virtual switches and routers is that while Wide Area Networks (WANs) can be built using virtual switches and virtual routers, the “virtual wires” that we previously highlighted lack the reach and expansiveness required given that they are not offered widely as network operator services. As a result, without virtual wires easily and expansively available, this virtualized network type would not be feasible. The only way for the deploying of virtual switches and routers could be a viable option of the future is if “virtual wire” services were made widely available – if this were to happen, this method could potentially replace traditional VLANs and VPNs. However, it remains an extremely unlikely and tall task that this will situation will come to pass, which leaves the future of virtual switches and routers quite bleak.
Option 3: SD-WAN (New Technology)
The reason why we believe that SD-WAN will pave the way for virtualized networking in the future is that it adopts a wide array of technology, including SDN, the deployment of virtual switches and routers, and Network Functional Virtualization (NFV), which have been typically non-cooperative approaches.
SD-WAN separates the dependency between the provision of network service and the infrastructure it is held on and utilizes the aforementioned virtualization technologies to facilitate changes to network infrastructure. This is important because it completely shatters one of the core fear/barriers that companies have, which is the high cost of legacy infrastructure. Given that SD-WAN can be deployed by any entity, which includes the enterprises themselves, their network operators, and/or the managed services providers they source, maintenance and upgrades to the network instantaneously become much simpler.
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SD-WAN solutions are rapidly becoming the answer to the networking challenges of business from all sectors. If you are looking to implement SD-WAN in Melbourne, Sydney, or anywhere in Australia, reach out to us for a no-obligation consultation.