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Network Virtualization in the Data Center

ITSS is beginning to virtualize the network within their virtual server infrastructure, which will lead to a more secure and agile data center.

Key Benefits of Network Virtualization

  • More efficient use of data center networking equipment
  • Microsegmentation separates (Virtual Machines) VM's with virtual networks and firewalls
  • Abstracts network configuration from the underlying network hardware, allowing for a simpler data center network

Initial Goals

The plan is to deploy this new technology in our production environment this summer. It will be installed alongside our existing network infrastructure so that workloads can be moved into it at our pace. As new workloads enter the virtual network their new firewall rules will be defined. Network traffic is checked against these rules at several points throughout their path, no matter the destination.

As new virtual machines get configured, they will be placed on smaller, more isolated networks. These Virtual Extensible Local Area Networks (VXLANs) will allow us to further isolate workloads from each other, limiting the damage that a compromised machine can do. Furthermore, because they are defined in software, there are no changes done to the underlying physical network. This will give us a much more stable data center networking configuration.

The Future

Once most of our workloads have been moved into the virtual network infrastructure, we will have the ability to place our networks into other data centers. This makes disaster recovery planning much easier, as it will limit the amount of dependencies required at the remote site. We can use this to enable disaster recovery to the Twin Cities or to a cloud-based data center.

Further Information