Posts Tagged ‘Network World’

Without sounding sarcastic, the primary benefit of a virtual application delivery controller (ADC) is that, well, it’s virtual. It requires no hardware to deploy making it low cost. It’s mobile so the ADC can be moved from one location to another in real time and it can be self provisioned by anyone, including an application developer. But virtual ADCs have their drawbacks, too.

Historically, ADCs have been physical appliances located between the network and application tiers in a data center or deployed at the edge of a network to help optimize service delivery. The primary role of ADCs has been for load balancing purposes but a number of advanced features such as encryption, security, video optimization and some application specific features have been added over the past half decade. This shift in functionality has added to the need for ADCs across different verticals and company sizes.

This increased demand is why there have been so many more versions of the ADC launched recently, including virtual editions. This begs the question, though, can virtual ADCs replace physical ones in production environments? There’s no doubt that virtual ADCs can be used as a developer tool but the big question is around production environments which leads us to the question of “to virtualize or not to virtualize?”

I’ve come to the conclusion that the adoption of 100 Gig to be much bigger than 40 Gig. To me, 40 Gig was really a step on the way to 100 Gig. Ethernet has historically jumped in logarithmic steps and a 4x jump just doesn’t seem like the bang is there for the buck spent on new hardware and upgrades.

The standard for 100 Gig-E was ratified last year and since then we’ve had a number of vendors, the usual suspects – Juniper, Cisco, ALU and Brocade, launch 100 Gig-E line cards. Recently, I had a chance to discuss the topic with Greg Hankins, Global Solutions Architect for Service Providers at Brocade.  I thought I would share some of my thoughts on the 100 Gig-E market.

When it comes to managing the network, even realtime monitoring isn’t fast enough anymore. You need to be able to predict what will happen next. I’ve recently started tracking a technology that can help with this challenge.  There’s no name for this market but I like to think of it as the Traffic Visibility Networking (TVN) market. 

Let me explain.  IT has evolved more the past five years than maybe any other five year period in history.   We have made our environments more virtual and more mobile.  We’ve brought consumer technologies into our environment and pushed traditional IT out into the cloud.  All of this to improve resource utilization and to create a more flexible IT environment – and it’s worked!

However, there’s a downside to all of this too.  IT is now much more complex that it was even five years ago and this is creating a widely increasing complexity gap between IT skills and IT’s ability to run the environment.  I’m not saying IT is any less smart, in fact the IT guys I know are far smarter and more savvy that I ever was in my day but complexity is outpacing knowledge. 

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