Next Generation Network Series
Introduction When you combine the rapid provisioning and pay-for-use attributes
A new view of the telecommunications network is taking shape, of a utility, with the flexible partition sizes and dynamic migration of
as networks are understood to be more than transport mechanisms. virtualization, you get nearly continuous capacity with the ability to
Given the convergence of voice and data, and the increasing increment or decrement on demand. You can also arrange to pay for
intelligence of the network itself, the next generation network exactly what you use. That’s a great combination for any IT organization.
is becoming a distributed computing architecture that is enabling
Consider a cab ride. It is a virtual concept that eventually gets
new kinds of collaboration, new kinds of applications, and new
mapped into a specific vehicle and cab driver. It is also a pay-per-use
kinds of businesses.
utility, with a variable price paid depending on time and distance. Now
Some of these technological changes are occurring in the routers and think about sharing a cab ride with someone. Your cab ride and the
switches that control data movement, but others have to do with the other person’s cab ride are two virtualized entities that are mapped
way servers can be managed, and how their processing power can be into a single physical experience. This virtualized utility gets the job
acquired. A key concept here is virtualization. Virtualization refers to done while minimizing expenses.
an experience which retains the characteristics of a physical or logical
resource, without being tied to it directly. For example, the “C:” drive
on your computer may represent just a portion of the physical disk on “Components at all layers are becoming virtualized,
which it resides. enhancing business agility through resource
flexibility and scalability. This flexibility also directly
Virtualization translates into enhanced business continuity.”
In the old days, servers were associated with applications on a
Joe Weinman, Emerging Services
one-to-one basis, so that one server handled only one application.
That meant lots of machines were needed even to run a small number
of applications. Today’s technology can securely partition machines Server Virtualization
so that multiple applications can share a single server. These AT&T is evolving its own server virtualization offers in several phases.
partitioning tools allow machines to be allocated in creative ways,
The company first moved from a managed-server model to a managed
running Windows in one partition and Linux in another, for example.
stack, which includes the server itself and a virtualization layer (called a
Each partition appears to the application running as if it were a
hypervisor or kernel). Different operating systems, or different applications
separate physical machine, and that allows for the consolidation of
running on the same type of operating system, can run in different
servers as well as innovative billing and licensing models.
partitions. The next step is to offer virtual private servers (also known
Virtualization can be applied to many networked IT components: as managed fractional servers) in which customers have secure, private
storage, servers, firewalls, load balancers, local and wide area partitions which reside on a shared machine. To each customer, the
networks and even files. When they’re combined in intelligent ways, virtual server behaves exactly like a dedicated physical server would
they minimize expenses while providing flexibility in implementation (although with a potentially lower peak performance level).
and scalability of resources. Virtualization enables savings through
The final phase will be the addition of dynamic capacity adjustment,
resource consolidation, such as storage and server consolidation, but
so that minute-to-minute changes can be accommodated, even
also enhances flexibility and reduces cost.
if it means transferring the load to a different physical machine.