Network Virtualization and Mobility for SMB

Small to medium busineses are seeking ways to allow staff to work from wherever they are, using whatever devices are available (smartphone, tablet, Laptop computer or PC). This leads them to examine thin client and virtual desktop (VDI) approaches to deliving their workloads to an increasingly mobile workforce.

One of the easily-overlooked challenges to the use of either thin client or VDI approaches is that the workloads, database and storage are in the organization's own data center or that of a service provider and all of the user-interface elements of the workloads must be projected through a network to a remote client device. If the network is not up the the challenge, the user's experence can be less than desired. That is, users can experience awful performance.

Network virtualization technology coming from a number of suppliers, including IBM, HP, Citrix, Microsoft, Cisco and Juniper, can address these and other network communications issues. The key ingredient is having the ability to closely monitor and manage the use of network bandwidth. That is to place each type of network connection into a virtual environment so that each different type of communication protocol in use can "see" an optimal environment for the work it is trying to support even though the physical link is limited.

Thin client and VDI workloads are often attempting to support traditional transactional applications; video and audio streaming; and, increasingly, Voice over IP (VoIP) workloads over just about any type of network connection available to the individual. This means dealing with bandwidth and latency issues as well as noisy connections so that the individual using these tools experiences good performance.

Communication data coming from VoIP and both video and audio streaming workloads is bursty in nature and doesn't deal very well with links that are noisy or exhibit very long latency.

Transactional workloads, on the other hand, have often been designed to deal with imperfect communications links and not lose data.

When IT decision makers in a smaller organization are considering the deployment of mobility solutions, it would be wise to discuss their goals with one of these suppliers to learn how network virtualization technology, properly used, can make mobility solutions work well is most, if not all, siutations.

Network virtualization technology can be used to improve performance, reliability and usability in commonly found networking environments. This technology could mean the difference between success or failure.


This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I've been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

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