Network virtualisation - the practical reality

John Crawford 
Systems Engineer

Data centre networks used to be a lot more simple. We had a few basic pieces: rack switches, core switches and of course the servers. You could literally see how the servers connected to one another and the outside world just by walking the floor.

Then virtualisation came along and the model of the server-cable-switch has gone. We now have dozens if not hundreds (soon to be thousands!) of virtual servers on each switchport and these virtual devices can move, multiply and disappear without any notification to the switching.

So essentially the network edge as a physical entity is gone and now the first - and often only - switch a virtual server will encounter is realised completely inside the server itself. So as network operators what do we know about these new 'virtual switches'? How do we continue to provide optimal connectivity, security and visibility to this explosion of endpoints?

Expectation is high and public cloud has shown that networks can be instantaneous, malleable and largely transparent to their consumer. That is the new bar and we want to go further and let our users express the service they need from the network, including its security policy, in a language that doesn't depend on knowing classical primitives such as 'VLAN', 'ACL', etc.

In this talk we will make real the virtual network and explore its evolution and perhaps some of its future. We'll look at real world uses and explore how virtual networking is a catalyst to new software architectures that can span across data centres, both on our own premises and into the public cloud.

All talks:

If you require information about any aspect of the conference please contact: Fi Coyle: / +353 1 6609040