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How Important Is Networking Support?
Networking Support is as important as the server and storage infrastructure which more often than not takes the front page. Vendors are increasingly highlighting their virtual networking capabilities only because they wish to show themselves as complete data center solution providers. As with servers and storage, networking is becoming increasingly virtualized and is able to offer the same attributes promoted by the server and storage marketers.
In fact, the vendors leading the herd now, talk in terms of the virtualized networking fabric. For instance, Cisco Systems has its “Data Centre Fabric Vision” and HP has its “FlexFabric” virtual I/O network. Both of these products offer the same traits found in all virtualization technologies: agility, scalability, reduced cost, centralized management and so on. The key difference to note here is that Cisco partners with others to provide a complete data center solution, whereas HP has all the ingredients under its direct control.
Networking support and virtualization switching stretch operational benefits. The common factor in all investment decisions for a CIO considering a new or upgraded data center is the business requirement. CEOs always expect security to be tight and meet external standards and they will want to see each element of a decision contributing positively to the company’s overall financial goals.
Networking support is the last bastion of the physical network that will migrate to virtualization. Whether it be a single or mixed vendor approach that is taken, the key benefits that organizations have enjoyed with server and storage virtualization will be found in networking virtualization too. CIOs face two battles to convince themselves that their virtual layer 2 and 3 switching will bring their company benefits: (1) the battle to understand and trust the virtual networking support concept and (2) the battle to convince their team that this direction is a worthwhile step forward for everyone involved. The benefits brought about by network support are well worth the fight.