PLUMgrid Turns Virtual Networks into Programmable Platform

Mike Vizard

There’s been a lot of talk about the need to build virtual data centers as a way to reduce the complexity associated with managing data centers that today are comprised of disparate server, storage and network resources.

Looking to make visions of virtual data centers into a reality, PLUMgrid this week launched the PLUMgrid Platform, which provides an overlay across physical networks that turns each virtual network into a set of programmable resources known as Virtual Domains.

According to PLUMgrid CEO Awais Nemat, networks are approaching levels of complexity that are beyond the ability of the average administrator to effectively manage. Before virtual data centers can emerge, IT organizations will need virtual networks that allow them to manage networks at a higher level of abstraction.

Based on the company’s IO Visor technology, PLUMgrid essentially virtualizes all the IO traffic into domains that are programmable. That means that not only is the network easier to manage, but developers gain the ability to invoke specific network resources at a more granular level.

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Part of the general movement to software-defined networking (SDN), Nemat contends that neither SDNs nor virtual data centers are going to actually emerge until virtual networks become widely deployed. Virtual networks, says Nemat, make it feasible for IT organizations to unify heterogeneous networks without having to make a commitment to one specific vendor in order to create a unified networking fabric across multiple data centers.

By way of a proof point that this approach works, PLUMgrid also announced a technology alliance program that includes 13 vendor partners, including A10 Networks, Arista Networks, Broadcom, Cavium, Check Point Software Technologies, Citrix, Cumulus Networks, F5 Networks, Ixia, Mellanox Technologies, Palo Alto Networks, Silver Peak and Zerto.

In essence, all the virtualization constructs that have been previously applied to servers are now being applied to the network. The difference now is that rather than simply increasing utilization rates, IT infrastructure is being turned into a set of programmable resources that allows the entire data center to be holistically invoked via interfaces that present servers, storage and networking components to applications as a single logical entity.                           



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