The advent of cloud computing and the continued growth of virtual infrastructure technologies may be about to push network virtualization out of the wings and into the limelight, according to a recent report from IT Business Edge blogger Arthur Cole.

Not only do these trends mean that additional flexibility is being demanded from virtual infrastructures, they also impose new levels of stress on business networks, thanks to the need to shuttle information back and forth from remote services.

"To be fair, creating entirely new network environments is easier said than done. But there is a growing legion of virtual networking solutions that promise to drive efficiencies in existing infrastructure while making them more amenable to highly fluid data and application environments," Cole wrote.

While there are several new entrants to the network visualization marketplace, the established powerhouses there could prove to be tough nuts to crack, he added. Along with Cisco's new 40 and 100 GbE switching products, the company recently introduced a powerful Easy Virtual Network offering that could make the task of scaling capacity up and down much easier.

Cisco, according to Cole, has also rolled out a new capability for its Nexus 1000v virtual switch - VXLAN support. The blogger said that this provides an impressive increase in flexibility for use in systems both inside and outside of a company's core network.

This isn't to say that the virtual networking industry doesn't have some challenges to surmount, he noted. The development of open standards for the technology's use is still some way off, and many of the most important players haven't yet gotten on board with those efforts.

However, Cole wrote, that's no reason not to focus on the virtual network sector.

"On the contrary, much of what has already been promised in the cloud can't happen without a flexible, dynamic network infrastructure. And as we've seen in server environments, abstraction is the easiest way to go about it," he said.

Experts say that businesses looking to get the most out of their virtual infrastructures will need experienced personnel to help them reach that goal. This could mean that, particularly among small and medium-sized businesses, well-rounded IT staff with demonstrated cloud and virtualization skills will see themselves in high demand in the near future.



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