Q: What is the current state of the art for networking in large-scale, highly virtualized data centers?
A: With the vast majority of IT organizations now implementing virtualization, clients are seeking to dramatically reduce cost and complexity in highly virtualized data centers. In today’s data center environments, server virtualization is often managed separately from physical infrastructure, requiring the collaboration of server, network, storage, and security administrators. Data center managers are seeking a consistent networking environment across virtual and physical environments, so that virtual and physical servers can use the same configurations, policies and management tools. Network policies should migrate automatically along with mobile virtual machines to ensure that security, performance and access remains intact as virtual machines move from server to server.
Q: What are the standards in this area?
A: To address the need for massively scalable, highly virtualized data centers, key standards have emerged for network virtualization automation. IBM System Networking has developed and delivered the new IBM Distributed Virtual Switch (DVS) 5000V™ alongside switch-resident IBM VMready®, so clients can implement standards-based network virtualization in today’s I/O-intensive virtual switch environments. Using IBM’s innovative VMready virtualization-aware networking on IBM RackSwitch™, as well as embedded Ethernet switches for IBM BladeCenter® and IBM FlexSystems®, along with IBM’s DVS 5000V as the virtual switch in VMware environments, clients can radically simplify and automate virtualization management. VMready works with all the major hypervisors and supports the IEEE 802.1Qbg standard for automating Virtual Machine mobility. VMware clients can further optimize and automate virtualization management with more advanced capabilities using the new IBM virtual switch.
Q: What is the IBM Distributed Virtual Switch 5000V?
A: The IBM System Networking Distributed Virtual Switch 5000V is an advanced, feature-rich distributed virtual switch developed by IBM in cooperation with VMware with policy-based virtual machine (VM) connectivity. The IBM Distributed Virtual Switch (DVS) 5000V enables network administrators familiar with IBM System Networking switches to manage the IBM DVS 5000V just like IBM physical switches using advanced networking, troubleshooting and management features so the virtual switch is no longer hidden and difficult to manage.
Q: What does support for 802.1Qbg across physical and virtual infrastructures enable?
A: Support for Edge Virtual Bridging (EVB) based on the IEEE 802.1Qbg standard enables scalable, flexible management of networking configuration and policy requirements per VM and eliminates many of the networking challenges introduced with server virtualization. The IBM DVS 5000V works with VMware vSphere 5.0 and beyond and interoperates with any 802.1Qbg-compliant physical switch to enable switching of local VM traffic in the hypervisor or in the upstream physical switch. No fork lift of physical edge switches is required — a simple firmware upgrade enables IEEE 802.1Qbg support on IBM physical switches. Virtual Machine (VM) traffic is switched at the device — virtual or physical — nearest to the VM in the traditional vSwitch EVB mode or in the transparent or reflective relay VEPA mode. IBM System Networking DVS 5000V is highly recommended for VM switching in VMware vSphere enterprise data center solutions – it designed from the ground up to automate and scale any highly virtualized enterprise workload.
Q: How can a large-scale distributed enterprise business benefit?
A: The standards-based network virtualization awareness, automation and “Virtual Vision” provided by IBM’s DVS 5000V and VMready provides synergy between VMware and IBM, demonstrates the healthy ecosystem in virtualization-aware networking, and ensures that clients have freedom of choice to implement a multi-vendor network infrastructure that is equipped, enabled and scalable for massive virtualization – with support for up to 4,000 Virtual Machines ports across up to 350 VMware ESX hypervisors in a standards-based approach that enables clients to implement an integrated system network across physical and virtual networks. Target VMware clients for IBM system networks equipped with VMready running on physical switches and DVS 5000V as the virtual switch are ideally those that already use or plan to deploy IBM systems.
For more information on joint IBM and VMware solutions visit the IBM Alliance page or leave a comment below.