Memo to MSPs: Can You Manage Virtualized Networks?

Memo to MSPs: Can You Manage Virtualized Networks?

VMware's buyout of Nicira, and Cisco Systems' investment in Insieme sets the stage for the next chapter of virtualization. It's called software-defined networking (SDN). For MSPs, that means pushing beyond traditional virtual machine and server management. Here's why.

VMware is spending about $1.2 billion to acquire Nicira. According to outgoing VMware CEO Paul Maritz:

“VMware has led the server virtualization revolution, and we have the opportunity to do the same in datacenter and cloud networking. The acquisition of Nicira adds to our portfolio of networking assets and positions VMware to be the industry leader in software-defined networking.”
Some folks think VMware-Nicira will competing against Cisco-Insieme. Either way, it's clear that MSPs need to start planning for SDN and virtualized networks.

VCE VBlock for Partners

Already, software companies such as CA Technologies' Nimsoft allow MSPs to manage Vblock -- which converges network, computing, server and virtualized assets. In stark contrast, Nicira's Network Virtualization Platform software "manages a network abstraction layer between end hosts and the physical network and enables the creation of virtual networks that operate independent of the underlying physical network."

Nicira says NVP works with any network hardware from any vendor and is hypervisor agnostic, working with VMware ESXi, Linux/KVM, Xen/Xen Server and Microsoft Hyper-V.

I don't know if Nicira has a partner program, but new parent VMware certainly does. And Cisco, meanwhile, has the option to buy all of Insieme down the road. For MSPs, it's time to keep an eye on the emerging SDN opportunity.
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