Deploying and managing networks at a higher level of abstraction using network virtualization software is a now prerequisite for most IT organizations. For Deluxe, a printer of checks and other business documents, having a more fluid approach to application workloads not only makes the company more flexible, but it also will save it money.
According to Brad Skeel, senior manager for enterprise cloud ops and engineering and server support for Deluxe, having the option to deploy application workloads on a private versus public cloud will significantly reduce the total cost of operating the organization’s IT environment.
“We’re driving towards a more fluid approach to where application workloads are deployed,” Skeel said.
In terms of making the financial case for investing in VMware NSX network virtualization software to allow Deluxe to achieve that goal, Skeel said the return on that investment is measured in terms of that potential savings impact of being able to access a public cloud. Within that context, Skeel said being able to microsegment virtual networks spanning both private and public clouds is critical because Deluxe operates in a highly-regulated industry. Without that microsegmentation, Deluxe would not be able to take advantage of public clouds.
But as critical network virtualization is, in terms of enabling hybrid cloud computing, there are tangible benefits that IT organizations should not ignore when calculating the return on their network virtualization investments. They include being able to reduce physical firewall costs by offloading functions to a virtual firewall that is less expensive to acquire.
In addition, NSX can be employed to automate logical routing, switching, load balancing, and other physical network functions in a way that lowers operating costs by reducing the number of administrators required to perform those tasks at scale.
Finally, NSX can play a critical role in segmenting networks in a way that helps optimize the use of switch ports on servers.
Of course, one of the primary benefits of using software from a vendor such as VMware, which doesn’t also sell network hardware, is that it provides IT organizations with more options in terms of what vendors they can employ.
In some cases, for example, it may make sense to use higher-end networking equipment from either Cisco or Juniper Networks alongside less expensive “white box” switches that cost substantially less. At the very least, network virtualization provides internal IT organizations with a level of purchasing power when it comes to negotiating the price of physical networking equipment that many of them have never enjoyed before.
Regardless of the path pursued, the intangible return on investment (ROI) benefits that network virtualization provides in terms of enabling IT agility are priceless. Instead of having to wait weeks for physical network resources to be provisioned, an IT organization that invests in network virtualization can now rapidly provision network resources to support almost any application requirement. The real challenge going forward, in fact, may not be justifying the investment in network virtualization, but rather explaining why it took this long for IT organizations to master a new approach to networking that is quickly becoming indispensable.