Advanced-level network services are a necessity for a scalable virtualized data center and a key to cloud service delivery. These services provide application acceleration and server load balancing to improve user productivity, and ensure optimal resource utilization, and they monitor quality of service. They also provide security services that can isolate applications and resources in logical zones in virtualized data centers and cloud environments to ensure regulatory compliance and reduce risk of data breaches.
While enterprises have been adopting server virtualization and cloud computing in order to realize the benefits of reduced server sprawl, reduced operating costs, and greater levels of application availability, they are doing so while struggling with inflexibility in the underlying network. Deploying advanced-level network services in a virtualized data center environment is challenging. It has been done using dedicated hardware in static network topologies. This does not provide the flexibility to support virtualized workloads, and as a result organizations are challenged to support on-demand virtual machine (VM) provisioning, workload mobility, and public or private cloud deployments. This limits organizations' ability to efficiently deploy new applications, increases operational costs, and acts as a roadblock to adoption of virtualization and cloud computing.
While enterprises have been adopting server virtualization and cloud computing in order to realize the benefits of reduced server sprawl, reduced operating costs, and greater levels of application availability, they are doing so while struggling with inflexibility in the underlying network.The solution is to implement virtualized advanced-level network services that run as software on a compete platform. Such virtualized services can provide the same features and functionality as appliances, but in a more scalable, unified, and cost-effective manner. A complete solution needs to provide visibility and support for the virtual applications and allow for application mobility and on-demand capacity expansion. IT organizations have been pushed in to taking a piecemeal approach to adding these services by cobbling together solutions using point-products, and deploying physical appliances in each data center. This is because a virtualized network services solution that implements services in a standardized, holistic way has not been available.
Cisco has changed the cloud service delivery model with Cisco Unified Network Services (UNS) incorporating virtualized advanced network services to enable organizations to realize the benefits of in their virtualized cloud-based networks. Because these services are implemented in a virtualized manner, organizations can ensure that features and policies can be applied consistently even in multitenant environments found with cloud service providers or enterprises supporting private cloud deployments for multiple business units. They can also ensure that these services follow virtual machines as they migrate from one server to another or even from one data center to another, maintaining performance and availability.
To Learn More
To learn more about the growth of server virtualization and the adoption of cloud computing as well as the need for virtualized advanced network services see this paper by IDC, The Benefits of a Virtualized Approach to Advanced-Level Network Services.
Backstory: While on the Cisco Cloud and Managed Services team I was marketing the virtualized network services and we commissioned this paper from IDC that talks about the value that they deliver. This blog also appears on the Cisco Data Center site.