#20 NETWORK VIRTUALIZATION: THE NETWORKING SERIES

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Welcome back, readers. Hope you got great knowledge through this “The Networking Series”. In this blog, let us discuss about Network Virtualization which is also known as cloud computing. So, without any delay, let’s dive into the topic.

Virtualization

The words “cloud computing” and “virtualization” are often used interchangeably. However, they mean different things. Virtualization is the foundation of cloud computing. Without it, cloud computing, would not be possible.

Virtualization means creating a virtual rather than physical version of something, such as a computer.

Most virtualization technologies uses a technology, which is enabled a host OS to support one or more client OSs. The transformation of the dedicated servers to virtualized servers has been implemented rapidly in data center and enterprise networks.

Virtualization

The enterprise servers consisted of a server OS which may be Linux or Windows, installed on a specific hardware. All server RAM, processing power and hard drive space were dedicated to the service provided (example: web, email, etc.). The major problem with this is that if a component fails, then the service that is provided by this server becomes unavailable. Another problem is that the dedicated servers are underused. These servers wasted a lot of energy and took up more space, as it sat idle for long periods of time, waiting until there was a need to deliver the specific service they provide.

Advantages of Virtualization

  • Less equipment is required: Virtualization enables server consolidation, which requires fewer physical devices and low maintenance costs.
  • Less energy is consumed: Consolidating servers could result in low usage of power and low cooling costs
  • Less space is required: Server consolidation reduces the amount of floor space required

And some of the additional benefits are:

  • Easier prototyping
  • Faster server provisioning
  • Increased server uptime
  • Improved disaster recovery
  • Legacy support

Hypervisors

The hypervisor is a program, firmware or hardware that adds an abstraction layer on top of the physical hardware which is used to create virtual machines which have access to all the hardware of the physical machine such as CPU, memory, disk controllers, NICs, etc. Each of the virtual machines runs a complete and separate Operating system. The hypervisors are of two types:

Hypervisors

Type 1 Hypervisor - “Bare metal approach”

This type of hypervisor is directly installed on the server or networking hardware, hence the name “bare metal” approach. The instances of an OS are installed on the hypervisor. Type 1 hypervisors have direct access to the hardware resources. Hence, they are more efficient than hosted architectures. It improves scalability, performance and robustness. Example: KVM, VMware ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V.

Type 1 Hypervisor

Type 2 Hypervisor - ”Hosted” approach

Type 2 is a software that creates and runs VM instances. The computer, on which a hypervisor is running one or more VMs is called the host machine. This type is called “hosted hypervisors” because the hypervisor is installed on top of an existing OS, such as Windows, Linux, MacOS. Then one or more OS are installed on top of the hypervisor. The management console software is not required in Type 2 hypervisors. Example: VirtualBox, VMware Workstation.

Type 2 hypervisor

Network Virtualization

Virtualization separates the Operating System(OS) from the hardware. Server virtualization takes advantage of idle resources and consolidates the number of required servers.

Network virtualization combines traditional networking hardware and software network resources into a software-based entity, which is a virtual network. The network infrastructure also benefit from virtualization by knowing how a networking device operates using a data plane and a control plane.

Control plane

This is used to make forwarding decisions. This is typically regarded as the brains of a device. The control plane contains Layer 2 and Layer 3 route forwarding mechanisms, such as the IPv4 and IPv6 routing tables. Information sent to the control plane is processed by the CPU.

Data plane

This is also called the forwarding plane, this plane is typically like a switch connecting the various network ports on a device. It is used to forward traffic flows. Routers and switches use information from the control plane to forward incoming traffic out the appropriate outgoing interface. Information in data plane is processed without the CPU getting involved by a special data plane processor.

Let me not dump everything about network virtualization in this single blog. So, let me continue this in another blog with some more interesting information.

Until then, Stay connected!!

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Sudarshan S

Tech enthusiast | Developer | Programmer | Cybersecurity | Machine learning | Data science