Network virtualization products enable customers to create logical, virtual networks that can be managed regardless of the underlying networking hardware used. This is known as “disaggregation” where the network control function is abstracted to software that does not necessarily have to be integrated with networking hardware hardware.
The concept of virtualization started in the data center or “cloud” boom in the server world, when cloud providers needed a way to split up the computing power of servers with software, to be used by different users. NV takes the concept to the networking world, so that connectivity can be sliced up into virtual networks and services using software.
The services that can be delivered on a virtual network include L2 and L3 services like switching and routing, as well as L4-7 services including firewalls, server load-balancing, and virtual private networks. One of the main advantages of NV products is they enable more centralized control over networks. And in theory, with the advancement of SDN standards and the use of standard NV protocols, NV products can be used to manage networks regardless of the manufacturer of the networking hardware — rising the level of interoperability in the networking world. This will help network and cloud managers scale and manage their growing networks.
Within this general construct, however, there are many distinctions. NV products can take an “overlay” approach, in which it is a pure virtual network overlay on hardware. Other products are “underlays,” which are directly integrated with specific types of hardware.
In an ideal world, the NV solution can manage many network devices, resulting in a portable, scalable and flexible system for managing how traffic is handled on a network.
When looking at specific NV products, it’s important to look at how they have been used for specific applications and even industries. Many NV products evolved from specific niches to solve individual problems. It’s even common for some customers to use multiple virtualization problems emerging in the vast and complex. We hope this comprehensive list is helpful in sorting out the differences.
- ADVA Optical Networking: Ensemble Orchestrator
- Avaya Inc.: Avaya SDN Fx Architecture
- Corsa Technology: Corsa 10G/100G SDN Switches
- CPLANE NETWORKS Multi-Site Manager
- *Ericsson: Ericsson Cloud SDN
- *Huawei: Huawei CloudEngine 1800V Virtual Switch
- *Huawei: Huawei USG6000V Virtual Service Gateway
- Linux Foundation: Open vSwitch
- Metaswitch Networks: Project Calico
- Nuage Networks Virtualized Services Platform (VSP)
- PLUMgrid: PLUMgrid OpenStack Networking Suite
- *Pluribus Networks: Open Netvisor® Linux
- *Tempered Networks: Identity-Defined Networking (IDN) Solution
- VMware, Inc.: VMware NSX