network virtualization definition

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Overlay networks: Understanding the basics, making it a reality

Network virtualization is a method of combining the available resources in a network by splitting up the available bandwidth into channels, each of which is independent from the others, and each of which can be assigned (or reassigned) to a particular server or device in real time. Each channel is independently secured. Every subscriber has shared access to all the resources on the network from a single computer.

Network management can be a tedious and time-consuming business for a human administrator. Network virtualization is intended to improve productivity, efficiency, and job satisfaction of the administrator by performing many of these tasks automatically, thereby disguising the true complexity of the network. Files, images, programs, and folders can be centrally managed from a single physical site. Storage media such as hard drives and tape drives can be easily added or reassigned. Storage space can be shared or reallocated among the servers.

Network virtualization is intended to optimize network speed, reliability, flexibility, scalability, and security. Network virtualization is said to be especially effective in networks that experience sudden, large, and unforeseen surges in usage.

This was first published in September 2006



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