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September 2011

Network diagnostics that see through virtualization

Troubleshooting slow network performance is difficult enough in a physical environment, but virtualization requires engineers to run even more complex network diagnostics. After all, in a bare metal data center, network administrators have lots of tools at their disposal to follow packets from end to end, but in a virtualized data center, east-west network traffic between virtual machines on the same physical server is invisible to physical network infrastructure. Fortunately, there are ways for the network team to peer into the black box of the virtualized environment using a patchwork of tools and strategies. Using virtual switches to manage virtualization traffic Hypervisors on virtualized servers use built-in virtual switches (vSwitches) to manage traffic among virtual machines. These software vSwitches are designed to replicate the functions of a physical network switch, including support for port monitoring. However, they typically lack the deep functionality of a traditional hardware-based network switch. Cisco Systems' ...

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