Network virtualization: What is it and how does it work?

JSC Ingenium - Glossary: Network virtualization: What is it and how does it work?

Network virtualization is a process that offers numerous benefits. Increased process efficiency, as well as significant savings in hardware budget, makes network virtualization an increasingly attractive procedure.

If you still do not know what it is, at JSC Ingenium, provider of services and solutions for MNOs and MVNOs, we invite to continue reading to know more about this innovation.

What is network virtualization?

It consists of the process of transforming network functions into software, and disconnecting them from the hardware they were traditionally on. The software will still be the one that consumes the hardware resources, but it will be a separate entity, which can be changed, moved and segmented while the hardware will remain the same.

How does it work?

Network virtualization is a process that makes resource provisioning much easier and more efficient. Software programs allow administrators to monitor their infrastructure, make network changes, provision resources, take action against detected security threats, etc.

The virtual software version of the network is an overlay over the physical network infrastructure. Devices on that network, such as switches and routers, still perform tasks such as forwarding packets. Meanwhile, the software that runs on routers and switches handles how to forward those packets.

Benefits of Network Virtualization

A virtualized network essentially saves on the costs of purchasing basic hardware. Ready-to-use commercial boxes (COTS, Commercial Off-The-Shelf), also known as white boxes, are key examples of basic hardware. They are generally less expensive than proprietary hardware

However, these potential savings can be offset by expenses related to the organization and administration of the new network infrastructure. For example, hiring an efficient managed service provider to operate the network.

Once your network is virtualized and well staffed to back it up, you can reap many operational benefits. Working with the network is often done through a unified management console, from where the administrator can access all the information on the network through a program. The information shall be presented in a condensed and easily accessible form.

Another operational benefit is that it allows software-based network infrastructure to scale virtual machine instances or containers much more easily when resource demand increases.

As you can see, network virtualization allows you to disaggregate network functions from hardware and turn their functions into software. Undoubtedly, an excellent process to improve speed and facilitate the scaling of network resources.