In professional areas virtualization of servers and workstations enables us to evaluate operating systems and software packages in an isolated environment and without great costs. But this is still the starting point of virtualization. As our current internet topology and software applications ask for integration – the Cloud is a good keyword here – we have to be not only able to virtualize physical PC hardware but also provide network environments which are abstracted from our current internet.
This would enable network engineers, system administrators and of course scientists to easily develop new network infrastructures, test distributed deployments or invent new protocols on top of the network stack. The impact of a commercial virtualization technology for networks would have a huge impact of the way we currently build networks.
With the development of NGN (Next Generation Networks) this idea is pushed by a few selected but until now it did not surface to the broad public.
Update: I made a bit of research on the topic. Nothing deep really but I still found some interesting material:
- Network Virtualization: a strategy for de-ossifying the internet
- Cisco gives virtual servers virtual networking
I also found a lot of sites talking about network virtualization in connection with classic computer virtualization. This is only a part of what is meant. Network virtualization should be an end to end implementation with virtual nodes on the end points itself in the form of a software or firmware on the NIC and also on the nodes in between. It has not necessarily be linked to virtualized servers although this would of course make a lot of sense.