I know we are just at the beginning of the network virtualization movement but, I have some pretty high hopes for the technology. I believe IaaS Cloud is one of the “killer” applications for network virtualization. A lot of attention is paid to the orchestration that comes to provisioning networks in the enterprise and within Cloud providers via network virtualization. It’s this orchestration that brings a revolution to the relationship between the Cloud provider and Enterprise that’s most compelling to me.
There is no “special sauce” in the technology used to extend the private network to the public Cloud. Traditional protocols are used be it GRE Tunnels, VXLAN, BGP, OTV and etc. The details of the technology don’t matter. It’s the higher level repeated setup and teardown of the connectivity that’s an issue. Automating this capability and making it self-service via APIs is a barrier of entry to a sustainable hybrid Cloud model.
It doesn’t matter if you are building a Cloud aware app that expands from the private Cloud to the public Cloud or if you are a “devops” engineer providing test/dev resources via a self-service storefront. There is a requirement to seamlessly extend your policy driven network from your private infrastructure onto the public Cloud. It’s even more of a challenge and need when you start to offer rich network options in the hybrid Cloud.
This is where the promise of the “Northbound” API’s of network virtualization come into play. This is the “Software” in Software Defined Networking (SDN). The ability to control the logical network via a programmable interface is an enabler for the hybrid Cloud. Even in private Cloud, orchestration is a difficult nut to crack. For example, networking is one of the fastest changing and challenging components in OpenStack. As things settle down and network virtualization matures so does the enterprise capability. I’m looking forward to a more capable private Cloud that is armed with public Cloud elasticity. Network virtualization will help make this possible.