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April 2013

After much talk, network virtualization is finally becoming a reality

Almost five years ago, I set out to write a story about network virtualization. I knew almost nothing about the topic, and after a lot of research, I basically ended up understanding it just as little. At the time, Cisco VP Marie Hattar sat with me in the basement of the Javits Center in New York City for an hour trying to explain the future of network virtualization—the intelligent network, the application-aware network, the flexible network. The problem was, the technology wasn’t truly in action yet, so I had a hard time comprehending it. I kept asking, “How is this any different than using VLANs?” And Hattar finally gave up and offered me the familiar, “oh-you-poor-dear” look that tech reporters often get when we hit a wall. All these years later, the promise of network virtualization is finally becoming a reality. We are starting to see the use of dynamic, flexible network virtualization platforms that allow virtual network segments to be automated and provisioned on demand along with compute and storage for a whole new ...

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