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Did VMware dismiss physical networking?

SN blogs: This week, analysts discuss the future of physical networking, the networking benefits midmarket companies enjoy and security challenges fueled by cloud and mobility applications.

VMware might be sending the wrong message about how it sees the role of physical networking in a software-defined data center. That, at least, is what Current Analysis Principal Analyst Mike Fratto has to say. Fratto, who attended VMware's annual conference, said the company seemed to dismiss physical networking as a starting point for the new virtualized data center. Ignoring the importance of the physical network, he says, could be detrimental to the success of the company.

While VMware might put the network on the same level as a server, Fratto said this is a mistake. A server, he says, is a "self-contained, discrete unit" while the networking is an "aggregation of cooperative products that interconnects many devices and supports a number of competing demands." Fratto added that VMware and networking administrators each need their own tools to troubleshoot issues as well as work with the same data.

Read more about why Fratto says VMware should change its strategy or change its message when it comes to physical networking.

A Gartner perspective on midmarket networking

Gartner Analyst Andrew Lerner refutes the misconception that Gartner Inc. only caters to large enterprises. In fact, Lerner says that some of his most interesting conversations come from midmarket clients. Two things that make midmarket organizations particularly important in the networking arena are limited scale and a smaller staff.

A midmarket organization may only have 100 servers, with an average IT staff of 15 to 20 full-time employees. But, a smaller staff size comes with more responsibility for each person. Employees are able to use products more strategically and cost-effectively. The "midmarket advantage," as Lerner calls it, applies across the board in networking to operational areas that range from the data center, WAN and even in emerging technologies such as SDN.

Read more about how Gartner works with midmarket companies.

Physical and virtual networking fusion coming soon

Networking hasn't gone anywhere -- it's just been busy adapting to the virtual environment, says Keith Townsend on his blog, VirtualizedGeek. Townsend says that Arista Networks is in the process of creating a network overlay using NSX. He explains that, "associating two physical parts as part of the same VXLAN, you essentially extend the network overlay to include all of the VMs and physical hosts into the same logical switch."

Why is it necessary to include physical hosts in an environment that is becoming increasingly virtual? Well, Townsend explains that enterprises continue to have large amounts of physical data that do not interact exclusively with hypervisor-based security systems.

Read Townsend's take on blending the physical and virtual networks for an ultimate networking experience.

Network security lacking in cloud and mobility

Enterprise Strategy Group Senior Analyst Jon Oltsik points to a recent ESG survey that focused on IT security professionals' concerns. The report shows that 39% of respondents said they are worried about IT initiatives being started without the proper network security controls or oversight. Moreover, even when there are network security controls and oversight, they aren't always cooperative. Approximately 31% of respondents said, "Network security policies and controls are not cohesive as they must be implemented across many different security and networking technologies."

Overall, unknown IT initiatives, a lack of agreement on security policy and overlapping technologies create cracks in an organization's security strategy.

Read the other findings of ESG’s research according to Oltsik.

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