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  • New white paper explores critical networking concepts virtual administrators must understand to maximize system performance and control costs

 
Dell Software points out critical networking concepts every virtualization administrator should understand to ensure their virtual environment operates at peak efficiency at the lowest cost possible in a new white paper, Top Seven Networking Concepts Every Virtualization Administrator Should Understand, authored by Scott D. Lowe, Founder and Managing Consultant, The 1610 Group.

Networking in a virtual environment is different from networking in the physical world – but no less critical. Today’s virtualization administrators need a wide breadth of expertise that includes not only virtualization technologies know how, but also systems and storage. Because the network remains the foundation of the IT infrastructure upon which IT does business, virtual admins need to understand its nature and behavior, well beyond simply knowing the virtualization technologies. The rise of virtualization has brought with it the need for a new kind of IT pro – one with knowledge from all three previously separate areas of IT – systems engineering, network engineering and storage – and a deep understanding of the unique facets of virtualization.

“Virtualization provides significant benefits for organizations but it requires more from the virtualization administrator as additional subsystems are integrated together,” said Steve Rosenberg, general manager for Performance Monitoring, Dell. “And while virtualization has introduced new technologies such as virtual switches into the network topology, supported by VMware’s recent acquisition of Nicira, managing all the network layers and connectivity with a traditional physical network infrastructure can be a challenge. Further knowledge about the overall networking components and infrastructure is essential to maximize system performance and gain ROI.”

Available now, the ‘Top Seven Networking Concepts Every Virtualization Administrator Should Understand’ white paper discusses concepts that today’s modern virtualization administrator needs to know to maximize overall system performance while controlling costs.

Top Seven Networking Concepts Every Virtualization Administrator Should Understand

  1. Networking in a Virtual Environment is Different from Networking in a Physical World – Networks in a virtual environment operate like those in a physical world, but as you start peeling back the virtualization layers, you find a shift in how network traffic itself flows around the network. A variety of mixed network traffic makes its way around the network and virtualization has fundamentally shifted the way traffic flows around it.
  2. The Type of Applications and Chosen Hypervisor Features Help Determine How Many Physical Network Interface Cards (NICs) are Enough – One question often asked by fresh virtualization admins is, “How many physical NICs are required to support the workloads and services necessary for high availability and workload migration?” The number depends on the types of applications being run, the hypervisor features chosen to deploy, and the desired level of redundancy.
  3. Understand the Different Network Adapters Available and Which Should be Used – There are feature benefits of the three available vSphere network adapters – E1000, VMXNET2 and VMXNET3 – yet the VMXNET3 network adapter provides best performance and require fewer resources from the vSphere host.
  4. Know The Basic Layers – Virtual admins should understand the basic concepts behind how the first three layers of the OSI networking model operate – physical layer, data link layer, network layer - and know what devices operate at each level. Additionally, in order to effectively troubleshoot network connectivity a virtual admin must be able to ‘subnet’ – identify when an IP address is local to a vSphere host or VM.
  5. The Role VLANs Play in a Virtual Environment – Often used to segment networks, VLANs have become more important for improving the overall security of an environment and for reducing the size of a network’s broadcast domain in order to improve the overall performance of the network.
  6. How VLANs extend into the Virtual Environment – Administrators can mimic the physical network by dedicating a single VLAN to a single network adapter in the host server, a method that doesn’t scale very far. A more common way to extend VLANs into the environment is through VLAN tagging and ‘trunking’ which offers significant flexibility to the virtual environment.
  7. The Difference Between the Standard Virtual Switch and vSphere Distributed Switch – The virtual environment can add administrative complexity to the technology management equation. The virtual switch (vSwitch) is a necessary part of the environment but must be individually configured on each vSphere host, resulting in a lot of effort. The new vSphere distributed switch (vDS) is a cluster-level object shared across all hosts that is easy to manage and significantly reduces administrative network burden.

Supporting Resources

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