Network and Storage Virtualization in a Hybrid Cloud Environment

By: Pedro Soares| - Leave a comment


As IT systems have become more powerful, feature-rich and complex, virtualization has become even more necessary to abstract and optimize physical resources across the data center’s computing, storage and network layers.

Virtualization becomes even more crucial with the growing adoption of hybrid cloud solutions. The easiest, most efficient way to control an environment is through orchestration and automation. Enterprises can simply achieve the best results through a fully virtualized topology.

Software-Defined Storage

The need for specialized hardware use cases has decreased. Because almost all situations can use virtualization technologies, the market reacted and adjusted in that direction. All main storage suppliers offer devices that provide virtualization capabilities. This opens the door for placement abstraction — it’s common to have cloud-based storage for some systems to reduce costs or even allow users to access on-premises data through gateways.

Often through a hypervisor stack, software-based solutions are available to enable the same features in a way that abstracts hardware solutions.

Software-Defined Networking

While software-defined networking (SDN) is not a new concept, it’s certainly gaining traction with the hybrid cloud trend. To address how applications struggled to cope with IP address changes during cloud adoption, experts began exploring overlay solutions.

But why stop there? If you can design an overlay network that can reshape and expand your IP addressing policy, why not use that to benefit the local data center as well? SDN is now built by default into most solutions and covers the whole network design.

The advantages of abstracting physical devices and controlling everything on a virtual layer are clear across local and wide area networks as well as public and private clouds. And there is more to this than routing and switching — SDN also allows for other types of virtualization. Many players in the market that specialize in firewalls and load balancers are providing their products on software versions that can be integrated in larger SDN solutions.

Putting It All Together

If all your systems are running on a virtualized central processing unit and random-access memory, software-controlled storage and a fully virtualized network solution can allow you to control everything from one place and offer a single-pane-of-glass view on your environment. This capability will reap huge benefits through automation and orchestration and offer peace of mind to redesign existing processes as candidates for further automation and optimization.

In addition, you’ll also gain control on the workload placement. If security and load-balancing are also made virtual, your workload can carry its context with it. No more firewall nightmares, no unavailability — just seamless moving. This creates a whole new way of handling applications and enables true portability.

The potential of these fully virtualized data center solutions is huge. To succeed, enterprises still need to ensure a strong, well-maintained catalog of services and enough information to know what to move, when and where.

For more on this, follow me on Twitter @pgspsoares.

Topics: , , , ,


About The Author

Pedro Soares

Executive Architect, IBM

Pedro Soares is an Executive Architect working for IBM Global Technology Services. He's been creating IT solutions for more than 20 years, and mostly for IBM. Started as a Systems Engineer on Operating Systems and then moved to a more Network oriented perspective, then IT Systems Management, a bit of Security, and for the last 10 years Strategic Outsourcing, Enterprise Architecture and Cloud. He specializes in Hybrid Cloud and Enterprise IT as a Service solutions, currently supporting clients on their journey to cloud adoption. Pedro is a frequent contributor on LinkedIn and Twitter and technology blog writer.

Articles by Pedro Soares
See All Posts