Enterprise Market Is Ripe For Network Virtualization

by Moumita Deb Choudhury    Apr 04, 2017

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Network virtualization is touching upon several aspects of IT and comforting the pain-points of the enterprises today. Virtualization is bringing up network transformation and allying enormous opportunities for driving modern day businesses with complexities wedged at various levels. For CIOs and CTOs virtualization can prove to be an elixir for many fixes. A major gain which can be achieved with this technology is its ability to bolster cyber-security.

Network virtualization and cloud-solution provider VMWare in tune with the industry’s ask is active in this segment and believes that virtualization addresses the challenge of lengthy network provisioning, configuration errors, and costly processes by automating labor intensive, error-prone tasks.

In an exclusive interaction with CXOToday, Anand Patil, ‎India Lead - SDDC Sales at VMware India, gives us an insight into why the enterprise market Is Ripe For Network Virtualization and the road ahead.

 

CXOtoday: How do you see network virtualization benefiting consumers and businesses?

Organizations worldwide are realizing the urgency of transforming their IT infrastructure now to meet challenges of working across public and private clouds, improving security, and meeting new regulatory requirements. Network virtualization benefits organizations by addressing some of the key IT challenges faced by them today.

According to a recent study done by VMware, IT decision makers from across industries agree that IT security is amongst the top business priorities. Network virtualization addresses this concern by enabling the organizations to divide the data center into different security segments, down to the level of the individual workload. IT teams can then define security policies and controls for each workload based on dynamic security groups, which ensures immediate responses to threats inside the data center and enforcement down to the individual virtual machine. Unlike in traditional networks, if an attacker gets through data center perimeter defenses, threats can’t move laterally within the data center.

The issue of application continuity for organizations is taken care by network virtualization by abstracting network from underlying hardware, networking and security policies as they are attached to their associated workloads. Hence, they can easily replicate entire application environments to remote data centers for recovery, move them from one corporate data center to another, or install them into a hybrid cloud environment, without disrupting the application.

CXOtoday: How big is the market for network virtualization? How bright is the future?

The networking industry is undergoing an enormous shift from hardware to software-defined models. Virtualization is now driving network transformation and enabling the emergence of cloud-based business models. While the benefits of software-defined networking (SDN) are widely understood, adoption has been slower than expected. We are expecting the market to grow over time with enterprises shifting their focus on security.

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CXOtoday: Which industry verticals are generating more demand for this tech or solution? 

A recent study by VMware and IMRB indicates that IT security is now a major concern and has gone up the business priorities list. About 87 percent of respondents in the IT/ ITeS/ Telecom sector, 55 percent of respondents in the manufacturing sector; 64 percent in banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), 53 percent in government/public sector/defence and 65 percent from other services agree IT security is amongst the top business priorities. With business priorities changing, we will see an increase in demand for security solutions in these sectors.

Apart from CIO’s focus on IT operational efficiency and improvement of IT agility, managing security and compliance risk is gaining prominence for them. The study also highlighted that 61 percent of respondents from BFSI and 57 percent of respondents from IT/ ITeS/ Telecom rank managing security and compliance high owing to the nature of their business.

CXOtoday: What are the applications (usage) of network virtualization and how does network visualization helps prevent data breaches?

Network virtualization is software that provides a new approach by decoupling networking and security services from the underlying physical hardware. The main aim of network virtualization is to solve the issue of cyber security. It is a long-term strategy to solve the war against cybercrime. Network virtualization allows applications to be deployed on any cloud while still giving IT the tools to secure those applications.

Network virtualization promises to reshape and even reinvent the very geography of the threat landscape. It offers this hope because it opens the door to using powerful tools, most notably micro-segmentation, to significantly enhance the protection of applications and services inside the data center. Through micro-segmentation, network virtualization can significantly reduce the chances of data breaches.

The use of micro-segmentation radically improves a network’s ability to prevent attacks by allowing the creation of a least-privilege environment around an application. Micro-segmentation enables organizations to create far better visibility and control inside their network. The result reduces the attack surface, simplifies security, and improves the ability to detect irregularities.

Micro-segmentation, and more broadly network virtualization, are also simplifying another weapon in the security cache: encryption. Encryption is an extremely effective tool for protecting sensitive data, but that effectiveness has been limited because of the complexity of managing encryption, and encryption keys. This give a robust end to end protection to network securing it from any threats. 

CXOtoday: How are traditional networks are seeing transition with this solution? Can you give us an example.

Traditionally, periphery-centric security models govern most data centers, and if the boundary is breached, there are no internal controls to prevent lateral attacks. Micro-segmentation limits the spread of attacks inside the data center, but until recently, it was cost-prohibitive and operationally infeasible. Micro-segmentation, not only adopts such an approach, but also delivers the operational agility of network virtualization that is the foundation of a modern digital business. Forrester Research calls this “Zero Trust,” and micro-segmentation embodies this approach.

For example, VMware has established virtualization as the core technology for modernizing the enterprise data centers. That’s the foundation upon which a cloud infrastructure is built. By virtualizing the three basic elements of the digital infrastructure—compute, storage, and networking—NFV now adds the management, orchestration, and single pane of monitoring and control to enable agile, scalable, and extensible networks for the 5G and IoT era. The transition to NFV infrastructure is an enormous opportunity that will usher in an unprecedented level of flexibility and freedom to differentiate for both CSPs and their customers.