5 Benefits of Data Center Virtualization
Virtualizing data center network operations can yield a variety of advantages, including lower costs, increased efficiency, better scalability, and enhanced security. Often, however, IT departments must first justify the investment that will be required and the data center changes that will result.
Network virtualization (NV) adds a software-based virtual network element to the existing physical network elements residing in data centers. While the physical layer continues to forward packets, the virtual layer adds intelligence to network transactions that simplifies managing applications and securing network elements, among other things.
Data has increased exponentially in a short time, and data processing and storage requirements have expanded along with it. In addition to virtualization, development operations tools have emerged to increase flexibility and respond to complex processes in IT operations.
As data generation continues to expand, IT operations will need flexible and secure tools that allow them to scale with changing data requirements as well as efficiently monitor and maintain network elements.
Following are five benefits of virtualization that can justify the initial cost to deploy the technology.
- Capital expenditure savings. When building or re-building a data center from scratch or upgrading the data center network to increase storage or processing power, off-the-shelf virtualization options can save money. Off-the-shelf switches can cost as little as half as much as branded switches.
- Efficiency. Virtualization allows network functions and traffic to be centrally managed and monitored. In addition, alterations to the physical network do not impact the virtualized network functions, allowing the network to be managed quickly and more efficiently.
- Adaptability. With virtualization, network resources can be deployed quickly to both new and existing data centers. Standard application stacks with built-in networking topologies reduce network deployment time frames. As business needs change, the network can be quickly adjusted to meet new requirements.
- Flexibility. Physical network infrastructure is inherently challenging to scale because of the need to add physical resources to expand capability and the inability to scale down if necessary. Virtualization, however, allows a company to expand or decrease capacity as needed. In addition, virtualization allows large organizations to break free of the limitations typically associated with virtual LANs, which can support only a finite number of isolated networks.
- Better security. Network virtualization allows up-to-date security features to be applied to individual network segments, and resource access can be controlled across different users. Microsegmentation allows attacks to be isolated and eliminated, which protects data and helps companies remain in compliance with regulations.
When a network upgrade becomes inevitable, a virtualization solution should be one of the options on the table. In addition to scalability to meet current and future needs, virtualization offers centralized and efficient management and control and enhanced security that can assist with compliance.
There are many situations in which virtualization is a cost-effective solution, including when network resources and security policies change frequently. In addition to the benefits of NV, IT centers should consider the cost of training to learn a new environment, the impact on data center security, potential integration challenges, use of off-the-shelf equipment to reduce costs, and which resources will be needed to achieve a successful migration.