Using network virtualization to increase security

After server and desktop virtualization, network virtualization is the next area of the data centre to adopt the technology.

It isn’t going easy in enterprises, though, in part because the parts aren’t completely there yet. However, it may get a boost if another, less obvious reason for adopting network virtualization emerges: Improved security.

According to ComputerWorld U.S., that’s what’s VMware officials are pushing for its NSX network virtualization platform. The company is also billing it as a security platform because not only does it reduce the time to provision network devices, NSX also enables security profiles to be distributed to virtual ports and move with virtual machines.

The piece quotes a VMware executive as saying that while banks and government agencies are using NSX for easier network management, smaller companies have bought it for security.

Think about it this way: Network virtualization can allow only certain types of traffic to flow on a network. If malware tries to use the network it will be locked out. NSX also allows virtual firewalls to be placed through the data centre, so server-to-server (east-west) traffic can be protected by firewall rules.

A U.S. provider of secure hosting called Exostar is testing a proof of concept that simplifies its existing live network that includes virtual LANs and firewalls for managing traffic between customers and the provider’s data centres. Creating a new network in the production environment has to be done manually. In the proof of concept it would be done in a few clicks using NSX.

As software-defined networking controllers add more capabilities, we’ll see an increasing number of enterprises considering the security advantages of network virtualization.

Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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