Browse Prior Art Database

Use of Virtual Local Area Networks in a Shared Infrastructure to Support Multiple Customers at Low Cost

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015617D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Mar-13
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Document File: 3 page(s) / 49K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

We propose a method to use VLAN technology to differentiate customers in order to allow service providers to offer Web Hosting or other services to customers at significantly lower cost.

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  Use of Virtual Local Area Networks in a Shared Infrastructure to Support Multiple Customers at Low Cost

   We propose a method to use VLAN technology to differentiate customers in order to allow service providers to offer Web Hosting or other services to customers at significantly lower cost.

Service Providers including Web Hosting providers are faced with increasing costs of providing service to large numbers of customers. Sharing resources between customers is not always an option due to security concerns.

Virtual Local Area Networks (or VLANS) allow a switch to support multiple Ethernet LANs that are logically distinct from each other. Two devices on different VLANS cannot communicate with each other any more than if they were on separate LANs. A router is required to forward the traffic between the VLANS.

VLANS have been developed and deployed around the world in enterprise networks. The isolation aspects of VLANS may be used to provide service for multiple customers in a shared infrastructure. Customers may be assigned to different VLANS in order to share routers, switches and other networking devices.

In the following diagram, we see an example of the application. The key for the diagram is as follows: R=router, W=Web layer, D=data layer. The Router is part of the shared infrastructure and is being shared by different customers who are accessing a web hosting service, and accessing Web servers and data servers. Customers A and B are in different VLANS as shown. Customer A web servers cannot communicate with Customer B data servers, or any device in Customer B's VLAN. VLANS therefore effectively provide isolation between customers. In addition, a level of security is being provided without increasing cost to the service provider. In this diagram, the device being shared is a router, but it can easily be extended to share switches, firewalls, and other networkin...