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Network virtualization refers to the management and monitoring of an entire computer network as a single administrative entity from a single software-based administrator’s console. Network virtualization also may include storage virtualization, which involves managing all storage as a single resource. Network virtualization is designed to allow network optimization of data transfer rates, flexibility, scalability, reliability and security. It automates many network administrative tasks, which actually disguise a network's true complexity. All network servers and services are considered one pool of resources, which may be used without regard to the physical components.
Network virtualization is especially useful for networks experiencing a rapid, large and unpredictable increase in usage.
The intended result of network virtualization is improved network productivity and efficiency, as well as job satisfaction for the network administrator.
Network virtualization involves dividing available bandwidth into independent channels, which are assigned, or reassigned, in real time to separate servers or network devices.
Network virtualization is accomplished by using a variety of hardware and software and combining network components. Software and hardware vendors combine components to offer external or internal network virtualization. The former combines local networks, or subdivides them into virtual networks, while the latter configures single systems with containers, creating a network in a box. Still other software vendors combine both types of network virtualization.