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Monday
Mar172008

VMware: All (ok, some) your access network are belong to us.

Colin McNamara and Scott Lowe, two bloggers from Eplus Technology, have been doing an excellent job of pointing out the network gap created by VMware. McNamara, in a recent post, sets out the problem very well:



... Your access layer is no longer a top of rack Cisco switch, or end of row aggregation chassis. It is now a virtual bridge that exists logically within your VMware ESX server.

This causes an interesting question to come up in many customers - Who is responsible for the configuration and maintenance of this Vswitch?

...

We no longer have this well defined edge at the access layer. The access layer now exists virtually inside a server. More specifically, it is a logical devices running in a Linux server. This presents a challenge because it requires cross over knowledge. Whoever is responsible for this integration has to be fluent in Linux systems administration , and also fluent in network design and operations. Frankly this is a rare skill set to come across, as it requires and engineer who has attained high proficiency in both systems and network engineering.

I see this fuzzy line of demarcation often as a failing point for many VMware integrations. Many times I see network operations teams not involved in ESX cluster design because its a “server” , and systems operations teams generally don’t have the networking skills necessary to design and implement an fully functional system.. The solution to this problem is education and collaboration. ...



I'm not convinced that the solution to the problem lies only in "education and collaboration". It's the central, defining issue around which Replicate's products are being created.

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