Network Diagramming Channel Feature
Emerging Virtual Overlay Networks Seek Better Monitoring Tools
January 25, 2013
As the virtual overlay network technology emerges, network management vendors are seeking better tools to monitor these new environments. In fact, enterprises are demand better visibility into their public cloud resources and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployments.
To get a better idea on how the network management market will evolve this year, SearchNetworking’s news director Shamus McGillicuddy caught up with Enterprise Management Associates Research Director Jim Frey, who shared some of his predictions for the market with the news director.
According to Frey, enterprises and service providers will expand their use of virtual overlay networks built with vSwitches and tunneling protocols like VXLAN and Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation (NVGRE), and these new virtual networks will present a network management problem to operators.
The research director thinks that network managers will struggle to "recognize where overlay networks are, how they are changing, what they are connecting and how the virtual overlays relate to the physical foundational network that actually does the final delivery of the electrons… The challenge is you relate the new virtual overlays back to that physical infrastructure. If something goes wrong, you now have a new set of things that can be broken, and you need to know whether the breakage is occurring in the virtual layer or the traditional physical layer," stated Frey.
Frey told SearchNetworking that network management vendors will need to offer tools that can discover, model and monitor these overlay networks. But, these tools pose new questions. "What do we monitor now? Do we have a whole new set of metrics to monitor? The traditional technologies need to be adapted for these overlay networks. That's where we'll see the most change," Frey said.
Continuing the discussion, he said that most of the existing management vendors will adapt to this new environment, but some will do a better job than others. Concurrently, with networks becoming as virtualized as storage and servers, some vendors might push further into consolidating IT management while adapting to these software overlays, Frey told McGillicuddy.
In essence, with this evolution, Frey believes that network management vendors will have to step up their game in two key areas this year, network management and monitoring in the public cloud and VDI. He added, "There are still some real challenges with how we actually monitor, let alone troubleshoot, cloud-based workloads."
As a result, the research director predicts that network managers will increase their use of non-traditional monitoring data like syslog. "Enterprises are taking a look at the things that Splunk (News - Alert) and other log analysis tools are doing for gathering syslog-type entries from network infrastructure, and any number of connected systems, and trying to pull that together and make it relevant from an operations perspective," Frey told McGillicuddy.
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Edited by Rich Steeves