Network Virtualization in Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing | Network Virtualization: In this tutorial, we will learn about network virtualization in cloud computing, how network virtualization work, types of network virtualization, etc. By Rahul Gupta Last updated : June 03, 2023

What is Network Virtualization in Cloud Computing?

Computing network virtualization is the mechanism by which the management plane is isolated from the control plane by merging hardware (such as switches and routers) and software network resources into a single administrative unit called a virtual network. This is also used in combination with containers for applications.

The virtual network simulates the functionality of conventional hardware; the hardware is only responsible for forwarding packets once a software-based view of the network has been developed, while the virtual network is used for installing and controlling network services. Besides, it is possible to use software virtualization to build network overlays, network abstraction layers that operate on top of the physical network. Virtualizing storage, handling all storage as a single entity, is often used as an element of virtualizing the network.

How Does Network Virtualization Work?

Virtualization of the network decouples network facilities from the underlying infrastructure which enables an entire network to be virtually provisioned. It enables all software networks to be programmatically built, supplied, and controlled while continuing to leverage the underlying physical network as the backplane of packet forwarding. Physical network resources are pooled delivered in software, such as switching, routing, firewalling, load balancing, virtual private networks (VPNs), and more, and need only packet forwarding from the underlying physical network via Internet Protocol (IP).

Network and software security resources are spread over a virtual layer and are 'attached' to individual workloads, such as virtual machines (VMs) or containers, in compliance with the networking and security policies specified for each linked application. Network resources and security policies shift with it when a workload is transferred to another host. And the requisite policies are dynamically added to these new workloads as new workloads are generated to scale an application, providing greater policy consistency and network agility.

Types of Network Virtualization

Two types of network virtualization are available,

  1. Internal Virtualization:
    Internal virtualization is designed to emulate a single network's functionality using software containers.
  2. External Virtualization:
    To increase network efficacy, external virtualization integrates several local networks into a single "virtual" network.

Wireless Network Virtualization

Virtualization of wireless networks can be very large, ranging from spectrum sharing, virtualization of infrastructure, to virtualization of air interfaces. Similar to wired network virtualization, in which multiple service providers can share physical infrastructure operated by one or more providers, wireless network virtualization involves the abstraction and separation of physical wireless infrastructure and radio resources into a variety of virtual resources, which can then be provided to various service providers. In other words, it is possible to view virtualization, regardless of wired or wireless networks, as a mechanism that separates the entire network infrastructure. The distinctive properties of the wireless environment, however, make the problem more complicated in terms of time-various channels, attenuation, mobility, broadcast, etc. Besides, wireless network virtualization relies on specific access technologies, and compared to wired network virtualization, the wireless network includes far more access technologies and each access technology has its unique characteristics, making it difficult to achieve integration, sharing and abstraction. Thus, considering wireless network virtualization as a subset of network virtualization may be misleading.


  • More effective IT environments (i.e., efficient scaling).
  • Improved periods of security and rehabilitation.
  • Quicker distribution of software.
  • More powerful networks.
  • Reduced total costs.
  • Place workloads independently of a physical system.


  • Increased upfront expenses (investing in virtualization software).
  • Need for software licensing.
  • If IT managers are not experienced, there will be a learning curve.
  • In a virtualized environment, not every application and server can work.
  • Availability can be a concern if a business can't connect to its virtualized data.

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