Server virtualization is fast becoming a familiar technology to many businesses both small and large. The next logical step may be to establish a virtual network. Virtual network software can actually be placed either inside a virtual server or outside it, with externally installed virtual network software using devices such as switches, network storage units, adapters, and Ethernet or fiber connections to join several physical local area networks into a single virtual one.
Virtual networks installed inside a virtual server take a different approach, using software so that virtual machines will be able to communicate with the host without traditional network connections being in play. This has the benefit of improving both the securing and performance of virtual machines.
Whether installed on an internal or external basis, management of a virtual network is a complex undertaking. Indeed, many businesses that reach this stage in virtualization opt to contract with a managed services provider to administer and manage all of the virtual resources involved in the system. Solid administration needs to include the use of highly specialized software tools that are designed to keep track of both resources and activity so that users can be provisioned in ways that enhance rather than impede their ability to complete daily workflow.
Interestingly, many businesses may already be using a virtual network by another name. Virtualization IT solutions including products by VMware can establish network virtualization in one form or another. Only with a managed services model, however, will businesses be able to use these virtual networks to their highest potential.