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What is Network Virtualization (NV)?

Network virtualization (NV) refers to abstracting network resources traditionally delivered in hardware to software. NV can combine multiple physical networks to one virtual, software-based network, or it can divide one physical network into separate, independent virtual networks. 

Why Network Virtualization?

NV decouples network services from the underlying hardware and allows virtual provisioning of an entire network. Physical network resources, such as switches and routers, are pooled and accessible by any user via a centralized management system. NV also enables automation of many administrative tasks, decreasing manual errors and provisioning time. It can provide greater network productivity and efficiency.

Network Virtualization Example

One example of network virtualization is virtual LAN (VLAN). A VLAN is a subsection of a local area network (LAN) created with software that combines network devices into one group, regardless of physical location. VLANs can improve the speed and performance of busy networks and simplify changes or additions to the network.

Types of Network Virtualization

  • External virtualization: Combines multiple networks or parts of networks into a virtual unit. 
  • Internal virtualization: Uses software containers to mimic or provide the functionality of a single physical network. 

NSX Network Virtualization

VMware NSX Data Center is a network virtualization platform, delivering networking and security entirely in one software, abstracted from underlying physical infrastructure. NSX uses software to provide networking functions like fire-walling, switching, and routing. This means that multiple users can share the same physical environment using virtual networks invisible to each other to increase efficiency and security.

Network Virtualization Software

Network virtualization software allows network administrators to move virtual machines across different domains without reconfiguring the network. The software creates a network overlay that can run separate virtual network layers on top of the same physical network.

Related Topics
Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)
Virtual Infrastructure
Network Infrastructure Security
Server Virtualization

VMware Network Virtualization related Products, Solutions, and Resources