One of the thornier issues with building a dynamic infrastructure for a data center or campus LAN is creating a simple, robust, and reliable management system to configure network connectivity. Unless you have the luxury of designing a brand new network, chances are you have a mix of routers, switches and network gear from more than one vendor. Linesider Overdrive Network Services Virtualization Platform aims to simplify the management by abstracting the actual commands from the goals of a task.
For example, if you want add a new application server to your network and want to prioritize its traffic for latency, then you have to configure the port, make sure the VLAN is trunked through all the relevant switches, make sure the IP subnet is available and apply QoS profiles. If there is a firewall between the server and client, you have to add access controls. Overdrive automates the entire process. The benefits are twofold: policies and configurations should be more uniform across your network, and move, adds and changes should be faster.
Larry Challenger, VP of IT for GMH Capital Partners, said, "The beauty is, I can put my resources and users in groups and once they are synched up, the port changes are made and the ACL are created. As we grow the company, we will be adding more offices. I can drop a switch in and it will discover and make the changes."
Engagements start with consulting with LineSider engineers to identify your network devices and if any devices are not supported, to have LineSider build support in. The company says it takes 2 to 3 weeks to model a new device in Overdrive. Of course, you are reliant on Overdrive to keep current with new device software versions which adds a wrinkle to software management, but that is the case with any meta manager. Overdrive discovers the network devices and builds a model of your network, and with fine tuning, you are able to start making changes through their policy engine.
Overdrive can be implemented with configuration management databases (CMDB), like Voyent, by querying the CMDB to discover device status. After a network change, tickle the CMDB to re-discover the changed device configurations. Overdrive can be integrated with runbook applications such as EMC's Ionix and Smart's management software and HP's OpenView to perform tasks such as network changes, and to report back the status of the commands.