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Networking blog roundup: Peek at VMware-Nicira network virtualization

In this networking blog roundup bloggers discuss VMware-Nicira network virtualization, the impact of the Open Compute project and their hopes for VDI.

VMware-Nicira network virtualization: Modular switching on steroids?

It's no stunner that VMware networking executive and blogger Brad Hedlund would say network virtualization is key to the next-generation data center. After all, VMware just spent $1.2 billion acquiring network virtualization pioneer Nicira, so the technology had better be central to something amazing. But more interestingly, in a recent blog post, Hedlund explains how network virtualization uses the same modular switch architecture we've long depended on -- only now it has superpowers. A network virtualization platform (NVP), he says, still uses the basic control plane, forwarding plane and fabric, but this time you can use a single control point to apply policy and forward traffic across a very complex network of virtual and physical switches.

In the post, Hedlund gives a first glimpse of how VMware is selling the Nicira network virtualization technology. He runs down the platform with the following: "Through full network virtualization, NVP is able to create a complete multilayer network abstraction exposing logical network devices, such as logical switches, logical routers and more. These logical devices can be configured with security and monitoring policies, and attached to each other in any arbitrary topology through the NVP API [application programming interface]. The NVP Controller programs the logical topology at the virtual edge."

Hedlund also claims VMware's network virtualization platform integrates with any hypervisor, external network and cloud management platform.

Read Hedlund's explanation of VMware-Nicira network virtualization.

Getting to know the leading SDN startups of 2013

Following up on an earlier SDNCentral post, marketing strategist Isabelle Guis continues her list of the software-defined networking (SDN) startups worth knowing about in 2013. Based on interviews with 11 emerging SDN players and discussions with experts in the networking community, the reports highlight who and what to watch out for this year. Learn more about the offerings and outlook of up-and-coming names like Plexxi and Pertino in Guis' update.

Vendor certifications have their downsides

As many networking professionals will attest, earning network certifications can be a long and arduous process. Network architect Ethan Banks explains in a Packet Pushers post that there are further downsides to pursuing those coveted certifications, starting with the potential apathy of employers. To add to the problem, skills memorized for the certifications like the CCIE aren't always useful, maintaining the cert with retests every few years is time-consuming, and certifications can sometimes be more about vendor sales than they are about benefiting the individual engineer.

Read Banks' exposé on the darker side of vendor certifications.

VDI and BYOD could finally find a place in 2013

A new feature in Windows 8 may mean the time has finally come for (virtual desktop infrastructure) VDI-enabled BYOD. On the blog the Virtualized Geek, network consultant Keith Townsend follows up on a 2010 prediction that Windows 8 should be a hypervisor-based OS. With a built-in Type 1 hypervisor, the operating system offers native support for the enterprises VDI solution from any Windows 8 Pro laptop -- meaning enhanced performance and reduced costs for enterprises.

Check out Townsend's hopes for VDI in the coming year.

Open Compute servers have the potential to change networking

Facebook's Open Compute project is setting standards worth watching, according to network designer and Ethereal Mind blogger Greg Ferro. Rackspace is already contracting to build its own servers on the foundations of Open Compute, a move that promises further innovation considering the lower costs of the technology. Later this year, Intel plans to announce a speedy, fiber optics-based networking connection that supports Facebook's universal slot design.

These announcements have Ferro thinking networking may be on the verge of an important shift.

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