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Service insertion is a concept in virtualized networking where services can be inserted and removed at will. It is targeted toward Layer 4 through Layer 7 devices, such as firewalls and load balancers. The advantage of this approach is that it allows complex configurations to be defined quickly and from a central location.
As more companies adopt virtualized networks, including software-defined networking and network functions virtualization, one of the selling points is the flexibility of having network devices defined in software instead of hardware. With service insertion, Layer 4 through 7 devices can be mixed, matched, added and removed quickly. As enterprise networks can be very complex, spanning multiple buildings and often multiple countries, they can take a long time to configure. Software-based solutions can be managed from a central dashboard and reconfigured at will.
Some of the services targeted for service insertion include: