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The Challenges of Virtualization in Higher Speed Networks

The proliferation of virtualization coupled with the increase in 10G, 40G, and 100G networks has created blind spots in network and application monitoring. While virtualization has been widely adopted as a means of cutting costs and increasing efficiencies, allowing organizations to respond faster to changing business demands, the lack of network visibility increases the challenges in diagnosing and analyzing performance issues, both network and application Air Blower.

Preventing performance issues and outages in such environments is critical to maintaining the pace of business, and as networks grow, monitoring and managing network performance becomes increasingly complex and expensive. Therefore, IT administrators must work to ensure their company’s networks can rapidly scale and deliver computing resources efficiently.

The issue is further highlighted by the results of our recent survey, The State of Faster Networks, which found that 43 percent of respondents reported limited or no network visibility as their biggest challenge in their transition to 10G+ networks. To combat these challenges, respondents stated they need more real-time statistics and faster forensic search times, two capabilities that become even more important in virtual environments.

Virtual servers remain a very tempting target for security breaches. An attacker only has to compromise one layer in order to gain access to many different layers. And with the introduction of blind spots in virtual systems, the potential for an organization to remain in the dark about security vulnerabilities is even higher.

So, what causes these virtual network blind spots? In traditional network analysis, physical LANs and physical Ethernet adapters connect directly to a physical appliance. However, in the case of virtualization, applications may be communicating with each other without ever accessing a physical network port. This traffic never leaves the virtual machine, and there is no practical way to monitor or manage this internal virtual network traffic.

Solutions for eliminating the blind spots vary, depending on the complexity of the virtual environment. For stand-alone virtual servers, a software probe that runs as one of the virtualized applications is often enough to capture and analyze the traffic across the entire virtual server, offering a cost-effective solution to eliminate blind spots within the server. For more complex systems consisting of multiple servers or blades across a virtual backbone, a dedicated network analysis appliance is the best solution for gaining visibility into the entire virtual system. If the system being used offers the capability to span virtual switch ports, enabling this feature will allow the network analysis appliance to directly connect to the virtual network traffic. If not, third-party virtual taps can be used to tap the virtual traffic and make it available to external network analysis appliances.

If you are working in a virtual environment and encounter problems capturing data, view our webcast, “The Blind Spot in Virtual Servers: Seeing with Network Analysis.” With the tips you’ll learn, you’ll be on your way to a more efficient and reliable network analysis solution in no time.

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