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Overlay networks: Understanding the basics, making it a reality

Last updated:May 2014

Editor's note

No longer will networks act as a bottleneck to a nimble cloud. With overlay networks, engineers have a physical network that lies on top of their physical infrastructure. That virtual network overlay allows network resources to be dynamically provisioned similarly to virtual compute and storage. This form of virtualization allows the network to be part of the overall cloud orchestration framework.

1SDN overlays make way for network virtualization

Overlay networks are one form of network virtualization -- a method of combining resources in a network by splitting up available bandwidth into channels and assigning each to a particular service or device in real time. The goal of network virtualization is to improve productivity and efficiency by allowing tasks typically performed by a network administrator to be done automatically. Learn more about overlay networks' role in deploying network virtualization.

2Understanding the challenges, reaping the benefits of network overlays

The onslaught of SDN, network virtualization and overlay networks hasn't come without challenges. Read about some of the concerns network admins have with network virtualization, along with myths that exist about overlay networks and how these new approaches to the network provide benefits, like NaaS and SLAs.

3Overlay networks in the real world

Market predictions in the past few years focused on overlay networks. Read more about overlay network use cases and how companies like Nuage Networks and Juniper Networks offer overlay network platforms.

4Overlay network definitions

Learn the terms and definitions behind concepts related to overlay networks.

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