What's Next in Networking?

[WP_IMAGE] Alongside dedicated, physical network gear that just keeps on working, virtualization technologies and the cloud are plowing up fields of alternatives to single-purpose, silicon based network devices. At least that's my thought here at eWEEK Labs. Nothing stands still. Everything that seems certain and fixed comes under pressure from innovation and

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Alongside dedicated, physical network gear that just keeps on working, virtualization technologies and the cloud are plowing up fields of alternatives to single-purpose, silicon based network devices.

At least that's my thought here at eWEEK Labs. Nothing stands still. Everything that seems certain and fixed comes under pressure from innovation and change brought about by more efficient, more flexible and more capable developments.

In part because of all the Gartner report on the benefits of multi-vendor networks and also my interest in networking as practiced in virtual machine environments, I'm spending a lot of time considering what enterprise IT network managers should consider when planning for the next generation of networking.

One train of thought leads me down the x86 virtualization road. The number and capability of virtual appliances is pretty astounding. Executing everything from network security to management and performance monitoring in virtual machines shows that a virtual platform is capable of running these workloads alongside mission critical applications running in the same virtual environment. What I want to examine is what's next for networking.

Are we approaching a point where the hardware and specialized knowledge needed to run data center networks is about to be sucked into a virtualized world? What happens to networking when most or all applications are running in the cloud? What changes should IT managers be making now to anticipate network changes? Feel free to send your ideas my way!