With all of the attention coming to IP address management, it is even more challenging when we look at the addition of NV (Network Virtualization) into the mix. I've had a lot of conversations with people on how IP management including IPv4 versus IPv6 will be affected by the addition of NV. The reason I link the two of them together is because while they are not the same, they are also not mutually exclusive.


IP address management and network allocation for Layer 3 can be an unruly beast sometimes. As I often say: Today's best practices are tomorrow's "What were we thinking?". This becomes true even more often with the quick adoption of new networking technologies. Our topologies never seem that volatile, but there are a host of different reasons why volatility gets introduced and as our datacenters are changing, so are our IP networks.


The Times They are a-Changin'


With adding Layer 2 management into the process we create even more of a challenge. Layer 2 VLANs are often confused with Layer 3 management because they tie together, but server different technical purposes. More and more we are seeing the idea of stretched  networks and the extension of Layer 2 over Layer 3 networks. With this happening, documenting and visualizing our network topology can seem difficult.



Suddenly, with stretched Layer 2 domains across our Layer 3 networks, we need have moved away from where Layer 2 was merely a logical boundary to isolate broadcast domains within a single datacenter. Now, Layer 2 is becoming the most looked at portion of our network because we are changing the way that we think of the datacenter. Server addressing is no longer required to be tied to a physical datacenter.


So, with NV on the cusp of becoming much more mainstream, we have to rethink the way that we manage our networks. NV takes the L2/L3 discussion even further to add policy-based management into the menu of options we use. We are at the beginning of a fast changing world in datacenter and network management.


I like to know how administrators are deploying and managing IP networks. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you think you will manage your network differently in the coming year.


What do you think about:


  • IPv6 for your network
  • IP address management for dynamic cloud environments
  • Is Network Virtualization on your roadmap?
  • If you have, or will have NV in your portfolio, what's your protocol of choice?

Thanks for sharing and I look forward to hearing your comments and thoughts!