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Improving Visibility in Virtual Networks

Over the past decade, as networks became increasingly complex and crucial for businesses across all verticals, the IT industry developed new ideas about network design. Virtualization was born out of that process, as businesses—particularly data centers and enterprises maintaining large networks—sought to curb ever-growing hardware-related expenses. Cloud services, built on visualization technology, gradually made their way into the mainstream during that time as well.

Indeed, using virtualization to separate control plane from data plane functions and allowing managers to maintain networks from one or just a few screens can help businesses reduce IT expenses by limiting the space, power and cooling requirements for hardware. But virtualization also limits network visibility, making it nearly impossible to monitor new kinds of traffic, which include:

  • Invisible—remains in the rack and never travels across the physical network, making it difficult to capture
  • Intrahost—involves one physical host and several virtual machines
  • Interhost—where multiple virtual hosts are connected on a virtual fabric, resulting in a collection of virtual systems with only one physical connection to the network

So what can businesses do? Continuing to scale hardware is financially unsustainable, but operating without network visibility is too risky. For businesses stuck between these two undesirable options, WildPackets virtual network analysis solutions can bring back the real-time troubleshooting capability that technicians need to do their jobs effectively. Such bleeding-edge technology continuously monitors critical applications running in virtual environments and notifies IT immediately if a problem arises. The solution also records all network traffic, which can be reviewed at any time.

Virtualization presents new difficulties for network professionals, but these problems do have solutions. If you’re interested in learning more about virtualization and its impact on network monitoring, click here to download our white paper entitled “Managing Networks in the Age of Cloud, SDN, and Big Data: Network Management Megatrends 2014.”

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