Supporting the Velocity of Business Change with Network Virtualisation

11 August 2017

The world we live in is shifting from a client-server environment to a mobile-cloud era. This new wave of innovation is quickly changing line-of-business expectations of IT. For IT organisations to securely deliver the anticipated improvements in service quality and speed, a Software-Defined Data Centre (SDDC) approach is required.

"..this will be one of the major shifts in enterprise infrastructure, representing the unification of virtual and physical infrastructure and of cloud and legacy enterprise. Enterprises that do not ride this emerging product wave risk being severely disadvantaged relative to peers who embrace it early." —Forrester

In an SDDC, infrastructure and network is virtualized, delivered as a service and controlled by software. In the world of network virtualisation, the pace of change accelerates. Data centre economics and operations can be transformed and dynamically enhanced. The obstacles of physical networks vanish, and physical transport capacity becomes simpler and easier to utilise.

Network Virtualisation Changes Network Economics


From a top-down perspective, fully-automated data centre environments, enabled via API-driven virtualisation, can deliver full-fledged application environments.

Business executives are attracted to the high volume of efficiency and efficacy to market improvements delivered by network virtualisation. Instead of long-winded deployments, applications require only minutes to set up, with all the necessary network capabilities and securities already in place.

For IT operations, network virtualization brings greater performance, competency and reduced risk for change management. Programmatic automation minimises errors, and businesses can also perform up to 10 times the amount of changes to the infrastructure with the same amount of people.

There are three economic arguments for infrastructure:

  • Improvements in server asset utilization through the ability to securely place workloads on any server, anywhere in the data centre
  • Increased flexibility gained in the physical network plant as businesses gain the ability to change the nature of investment in physical networking to improve their cost model
  • With a virtualised network, distributed firewalling and automation is built in its infrastructure, allowing quicker turnaround down-times and increased security

Infrastructure teams can now deliver not only the self-service rapid provisioning that business users crave, but with the sustainability, efficiency and control that IT can’t live without.

How Network Virtualisation Fits Into SDDC


Generally, businesses have a specific problem to solve when they start down the path of network virtualisation. The three most common problems that network virtualisation can easily solve are also the three most critical to any aspect of business.

Micro-Segmentation on Security


Data centre security has been and will continue to remain a major concern for IT. Security breaches within the walls of the data centre continue to escalate, along with the costs of loss and remediation.

On top of physical and logical security measures, security policies are enforced by firewall controls that are integrated into the hypervisors already distributed throughout the data centre. That means an instantly ubiquitous security blanket is applied across the data centre. Because of its place in the hypervisor, network virtualization is close enough to the applications and workloads to have rich context, yet removed enough to isolate these assets from threats.

IT Automation


In large and conventionally hardware-defined data centres, manual processes for routine tasks drain IT budgets and strain administrators who are already stretched thin. It is also prone to human error and variability from one administrator to another. Any required manual task only serves as an anchor, retraining agility and scalability.

Network virtualisation makes automation practical and easy, and saves businesses time on labour-intensive tasks. Automation applied to provisioning can reduce operational expense, accelerate time to-market, and speed IT service delivery. With network virtualisation, a network engineer can easily create a template for a multi-tier application for development purposes.

The environment can then be provisioned to an application developer in a matter of seconds via a self-service portal. The same can be done for quality assurance (QA), staging and production environments—across hybrid clouds and multiple applications and services—with consistent configuration and security.

Business and Application Continuity


Disruptions are an unpredictable cause of change. In just over a decade, Singapore saw no fewer than nine incidents, both local and global, where the importance of business continuity came to light. IT organisations prioritise the ability to keep applications up and running, consistently.

While many small organisations experience success in replacing data centres with cloud servers, forward-looking ones harmonise and integrate the cloud with their data centre. This hybrid approach leverages the benefits of cloud while alleviating the usual factors that hamper its adoption: security, compliance and scalability.

Through application access to intelligent, real-time control over data centre resources at the rack and cabinet levels, organisations are better equipped to manage and respond to business contingencies and threats, to ensure they not only survive, but thrive.

With StarHub’s next-generation Data Centre 2.0, network virtualization doesn’t just fit in with data centre initiatives, instead it is one of the primary engines for expanding the possibilities with those initiatives.

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