The case for network “cloud” virtualisation

The network along with the storage tier is often the Achilles heal of cloud computing especially in Infrastructure-as-a-Service. This is one reason why cloud message boards have been buzzing with the recent announcement that network giant Cisco has acquired LineSider Technologies, a poster child for network virtualisation services.

Linesider is adept at making network devices play nicely together in a virtualized, automated environment. This network abstraction allows customers to provision and deploy numerous individual network components in a faster manner.

Cisco said of the acquisition:

A partner-centric approach remains a cornerstone of Cisco’s strategy in the cloud computing space, and LineSider’s technology strengthens Cisco’s ability to work with a broad community of software partners, particularly within the service management space.

The current issue with many modern networks is they remain static in nature.

Every change in computing resources requires a consequent update in network provisioning and configuration, which is usually a manual process.

Linesider inverts this process, making it largely automatic based on business policies through propriety protocols such as Overdrive 3.0.

The ultimate goal of something like LineSider is to allow a rookie administrator with little knowledge of network topology or device-level configuration to action policies for network devices and services using simple, human-language commands.

Linesider, based on virtualisation principles, can connect policies sitting in either the private or public clouds, seamlessly.

Linesider automatically adjusts underlying network services maintaining continuity throughout the life cycle of the Access Policy.

The goal of network service virtualisation solutions like LineSider is to provide the same level of service virtualisation and fluidity across all three key domain areas: Compute, storage AND network.

There are similar products to Linesider on the market including HP’s Network Automation Software, which are attempting to simplify network topology commands through network virtualisation.

“In addition to providing Cisco with advanced technology, the acquisition of LineSider brings an industry-leading team of engineers to the company. With the close of the acquisition, the LineSider team becomes part of Cisco’s Network Management Technology Group (NMTG),” said Cisco.

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