Virtualization means making a “virtual” version of something such as a hardware platform or operating system. Recently, there has been increasing use of virtualization in the computer sector – as well as more use of the specialists who businesses can rely on for their expertise. But it has become increasingly the case, too, that more of these IT pros need specialized knowledge about networks.
Looking back, there was what was Chris Wahl describes in Biz Tech Magazine as a “bottom-up approach” to virtualization. It led to thorough testing before implementation, but networking and storage was left “in the hands of the server team,” he said. Generally, that does not pose problems since VMware’s vSphere and other hypervisors can simplify or hide network topology. In fact, with vSphere servers, basic virtualization needs someone with just a little networking knowledge. But the network situation can change, given the increasing use of private-cloud models in enterprise data centers, Wahl warns, and with VMware’s vCloud Director, it may be up to the server team to ensure network components are configured the right way and working properly.
“The networking portion is the hardest part to grasp, digest and master for virtualization specialists — as it hasn’t always been a key component in their toolkit — while at the same time being the most crucial for a successful implementation,” Wahl said. “This gap in their knowledge base needs to be filled.”
He suggests getting more familiar with network architecture and design at an organization by asking those who know about it. Consider getting routing and switching certification. Cisco Systems (News - Alert) provides an associate level certification, the CCNA, which encompasses basic networking. Juniper has the JNCIA. And many vendors have labs that can be used by partners and customers for free. Or rack rentals offer access to gear. Some businesses may have old networking gear in a lab. There are also simulators like Graphical Network Simulator (GNS3) or kits for Cisco or Juniper.
The knowledge gained can go a long way toward boosting your career.