Without a doubt, the age of virtualization is here. The Accenture Enterprise Survey 2016 found that 95% of enterprises (small, medium and large) believe that all network services will be virtualized. Similarly, 88% of respondents to an SDxCentral survey felt that finding a network virtualization solution was either important or mission critical. An Array customer we recently spoke with estimated that his network was about 85% virtual, and the goal was 100% within the next year.
Array offers virtual editions of all our product lines. That same customer is running our vAPV virtual application delivery controller for load balancing of an electronic medical records application, and he reports that he’s very satisfied with the product and the performance.
However, virtualization (private or public cloud) is not a panacea for every problem associated with running a physical network. Application, networking and security applications – like ADCs, next-gen firewalls, SSL VPNs, DDoS protection, etc. – run very compute-intensive workloads that, in high-volume environments or under heavy workloads, can suffer from degraded performance and thus impact user experience.
The issue lies with the very structure of virtualized environments, which run on general-purpose servers, with shared resources and hypervisor-imposed overhead. The result is resource contention and inconsistent best-effort performance. Virtualized environments just weren’t designed to support networking and security applications; and conversely, these applications were not originally designed to run in virtualized environments.
For a decade or more, there were only two choices: run virtual editions of critical applications (in either private or public cloud) if the workload and performance expectations allowed it, or install dedicated physical appliances where top-end, guaranteed performance was required.
Now, there’s a new option.
Array’s AVX Series virtualized appliances deliver a hybrid approach by offering the agility and flexibility of virtualization with the guaranteed performance and throughput of dedicated/physical appliances. A single AVX10650, for example, can support up to 32 individual application delivery, networking or security appliance instances, and each of the instances includes dedicated I/O, CPU, SSL and RAM resources.
These resources are far more robust than that of a general-purpose virtual server. In addition, the hypervisor overhead is segregated into its own space where it will not impact application performance.
Using this unique approach, virtual appliances for load balancing, SSL VPN, WAF, DDoS and other functions can be deployed with agility and flexibility, without making any compromise on performance needed to support business-critical applications and customers. And, since the latest AVX Series update, third-party virtual appliances running KVM can now be supported as well.
The age of virtualization is indeed upon us, but like any newer technology, there are a few kinks to iron out. The AVX Series is an important tool to bridge the gap for application, networking and security application performance without compromise.