01 Apr 2014
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Brocade: Virtualisation Q&A

By David Williams

Brocade discusses the current state of play in the world of virtualisation.

Chatting exclusively to IT Brief, Greig Guy, country manager, Australia and New Zealand, Brocade, offers his insights in how critical the network is today, what are the most challenging data centre requirements and why virtualisation will become mainstream this year.

How critical is the network today?

Technology disruptions are forcing us to fundamentally rethink how networks should be architected, designed, deployed and operated in data centres.

Networks are more critical than ever to deliver applications, and we believe fabrics will play a pivotal role to accelerate this transformation - with resulting drastic improvements in network efficiency, resource utilisation and performance.

The current explosion of data is forcing an end to the traditional three-tier network and with Gartner predicting that by 2014, 80 percent of network traffic will flow from server to server, we expect to see enterprises continuing to flatten their networks.

What are the most challenging data centre requirements that are driving change today?

The biggest data centre requirement challenge is that organisations and data centres want the ability to quickly spin up an application, service (or product) to be consumed in near real time, quickly and cost-effectively.

Organisations want the ability to be able to create workloads (applications) with as few hurdles as possible. Traditional deployments require organisations to co-ordinate server, networking and storage administration to enable a new service.

By contrast the use of automation and orchestration of server, networking and storage in a virtualised environment means a lot of these tasks can be configured and deployed dynamically and via policy control. All in all the process delivers a much more streamlined outcome for all concerned.

Is this the year when virtualisation becomes mainstream and less of a ‘new technology’?

The year of server virtualisation is well and truly here now with 70-80% of all servers deployed being virtualised. In fact most organisations these days are virtualising applications unless management can convince IT admins otherwise.

At Brocade we have been virtualising storage for many years and we are now seeing a new shift in virtualisation around the network and networking services. Think virtual routers and application load balancers; multi- tenancy and shared services; and the need to deploy networking services quickly and cost effectively in a hypervisor.

This new software defined networking (SDN) shift will change the way networks are deployed as a network can now live inside a server and will provide speed and flexibility in the way these network services get deployed.

What is the current state of play for virtualisation and where is this heading?

Software defined networking is the next part of the equation for virtualisation but we already know that following on from this will be the era of software defined everything (SDE).

SDE combines a range of software driven, flexible services, including (but not limited to) software defined networking, data centres and storage.

It represents a world where software provides capabilities and solutions – and resulting flexibility – previously dependent upon inflexible physical solutions. Generally these solutions are based around open standards.

Any kind of virtualised offering fits into the SDE category. There is a lot of overlap with “cloud” or x-as-a-service offerings, but these realistically form part of a software- defined everything solution, rather than the definition of SDE itself.

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