Is network virtualization a panacea for data centers, managed and cloud service providers, and their customers? It’s surely being touted that way and there is no denying that the main components of virtualization, when implemented properly, can lead to huge efficiencies and cost savings for basically everyone involved.
Just last week, IDC (News - Alert) released new research that showed network virtualization is set to transform every aspect of the telecom industry, from technological and operational practices to the entire cultural infrastructure. That’s a tall order for any technology trend but holds a great deal of promise for managed service providers (MSPs) in particular.
MSPs have done the opposite of throwing in the towel as cloud computing has risen to prominence. Always striving to be more competitive, this hard-working niche has embraced the cloud and the SaaS (News - Alert) model, carefully choosing alliances and partners to support their own method of delivering managed solutions while utilizing cloud platforms and infrastructure. So it’s only fitting that MSPs are discovering all the benefits of network virtualization and how it can bring them closer to their goals of achieving optimal operational efficiencies.
One of the main services MSPs provide their customers is WAN management. WAN connectivity provides the foundation for all the value-added and cloud-based services that may be delivered to the customer. Ensuring that the WAN and its various Internet connections and leased lines are operating at peak efficiency is absolutely critical for quality of service and for the successful execution of all those cloud solutions.
WAN optimization is huge, with Dell’ (News - Alert)Oro Group forecasting the market will surpass $1.5 billion by 2016. Organizations, and particularly large enterprises, are increasingly moving toward a branch office topology through which WANs are the glue connecting the entire infrastructure. As such, network virtualization can be a remarkable tool for ensuring the WAN operates at peak efficiency and that MSPs can operate at the lowest price point to remain competitive.
Network virtualization appliances can be a major tool for routing traffic across various WAN links and prioritizing traffic according to classification. More importantly, many of these solutions have the ability to factor in price points for bandwidth across various links and make that a routing factor as well, which is where the major savings comes in for MSPs and their customers. And since most MSPs are managing leased bandwidth lines and their associated pricing contracts for their customers, this is yet another value-added service they can provide, which benefits all parties involved.
This can all be done without sacrificing security and availability, since MSPs are controlling all components of the WAN transaction and monitoring and managing traffic flow. It also puts the MSP in a much more powerful negotiating position with bandwidth providers since they can retain a high degree of control over how traffic is being routed and which lines they are going to use. That granularity can be used to negotiate better pricing which of course results in savings for both the MSP and its customers.
We often look at the end results of network virtualization, in terms of how it will impact a business and the overall efficiencies and savings it brings. But MSPs are an important part of the technology chain and are always looking for ways to increase their value and cement their position in the cluttered and complicated cloud computing realm. Network virtualization solutions can give MSPs a major advantage on several fronts, boosting their negotiating power with bandwidth suppliers while enabling them to realize efficiencies and cost savings and pass those benefits along to their customers.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson