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Tag Archives: Software-Defined Networking

Network Virtualization: The Holy Grail of Workload Agility

This is a guest post from vCloud Service Provider Logicworks which originally appeared on the VMware vCloud Blog. You can read more from Logicworks on their blog, Gathering Clouds.

Everyone is familiar with virtualization. It’s become the IT standard for achieving greater levels of resource efficiency and functionality. While it’s just a tool, the vast majority of new builds utilize it in some way.

This holds true for managed service providers (MSPs) as well. The benefits of virtualization to an MSP are similar to what an enterprise would experience. Given the nature of their business, MSPs put a great emphasis on truly being agile to client requirements, both in terms of build times and modifications of client environments.

Virtualization is absolutely key to that, and has been since the inception of VMware. The ability to resize a component of a client’s infrastructure on-demand and on the fly is an absolute must nowadays.

However, when we talk about virtualization, we mean virtualization of the compute layer, which is what everyone speaks about relative to virtual machines (VMs). And while VMs are an amazing innovation, the really interesting stuff is happening at the storage and network virtualization layers.

Logicworks is very keen on network virtualization, as opposed to the traditional configuration of hardware switches, which is a major reason we joined the NSX Beta Program.

Historically, the challenge with network virtualization’s centered on the limitations of spanning the network virtualization layer from a client’s existing virtual environment to other environments, including other data centers.

One of the major benefits we’re looking to achieve with the NSX beta program is that the technology after the acquisition of Nicira makes it possible to span virtualization between data centers which helps realize the dream of true, still completely active mobile workloads.

One of the challenges that this resolves is lead times in deployments. As it is today, providers still need to log into various switches between different vendors to configure and test them. While this is somewhat automatable, it hasn’t achieved that same degree of automation, which compute virtualization enjoys. Network virtualization gives us the ability, using software and scripts and predetermined runbooks, to deploy clients via API calls to a control cluster instead of logging into physical devices.

In addition, providers also use various vendors’ networks offerings. This means that the set of commands one will have to run on a Juniper device is going to different than on an Extreme device, and complex configurations can be quite a bit different between the two.

If we abstract that away by making the basic configuration of either of those hardware devices as simple as possible, enough to enable network virtualization on top of it, then we can standardize our configurations across our clients. This process becomes more repeatable and much quicker to deploy –like the DevOps model applied to network virtualization, to a degree. If the work being done is as close to possible from one client to another, then we can remove potential errors and increase efficiencies through more automation.

Being on the cutting edge of not-yet-industry-standard technology enables Logicworks to deploy cross-production workloads, and serve as an agile service provider. This dovetails nicely with the next generation of network virtualization in that it mirrors our ability to respond quickly and dynamically to make adjustments in deployments.  For the first time, the capabilities of the technology match exactly what it is that we, as a hosting provider, do every day.

VMware NSX Labs Available in Hands-On Labs Online Portal

At VMworld 2013 in San Francisco, we launched the VMware NSX network virtualization platform to the world. During the keynote, our CEO Pat Gelsinger was joined by representatives from CITI, GE and eBay to discuss the promise of network virtualization and VMware NSX, and more than 20 partners announced support for the platform.

But perhaps the most successful part of our launch were the VMware NSX Hands-On Labs.  These labs were by far the most successful at the show. Attendees consumed more than 2,000 sessions, totaling 124,000 lab minutes during the four days of VMworld. That is roughly equivalent to locking yourself in a room with your laptop and doing nothing but take this lab 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for three months straight.

And now, we are bringing the labs to you online. Remember to participate in the HOL Community page at http://hol.vmware.com/, take labs at http://labs.hol.vmware.com/.

HOL-SDC-1303 – VMware NSX: The Network Virtualization Platform

A Tech Preview of the exciting new VMware NSX for vSphere product announced at VMworld. Learn how VMware NSX virtualizes your network and simplifies your datacenter operations. This lab is currently based on a beta version of code and you may encounter some user interface issues during the lab exercises. The lab will be improved with newer code as the product moves closer to release. For now, brave the rapids, jump in with both feet and have a go at at VMware NSX, the network virtualization platform.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1303

HOL-SDC-1319 - VMware NSX for Multi-Hypervisor Environments

Also a Tech Preview, this lab focuses on the multi-hypervisor version of VMware NSX. This is a great opportunity to see how Vmware NSX can support non-vSphere portions of your datacenter.

Enroll in HOL-SDC-1319

Roger Fortier

 

VMware NSX Featured On Packet Pushers Podcast

This week, VMware’s Brad Hedlund and Scott Lowe spoke with Greg Ferro and Ethan Banks about the VMware NSX network virtualization platform. Check out the latest edition of the  ”Packet Pushers Podcast” below.

http://packetpushers.net/show-161-vmware-nsx-real-world-sdn-sponsored

You can find all of Greg’s latest musings on networking at http://etherealmind.com/.

Ethan provides his perspective on networking at http://ethancbanks.com/.

Roger

Picking The Right Abstrations For Your Network Virtualization Solution

In my travels around the internet, I became increasingly frustrated by the fact that most descriptions of SDN and network virtualisation solutions dive right down into the specifics of how stuff works. While I’m all for the details, I feel that there is an opportunity here to step back a bit and talk about the abstractions, which is what the end-user will see and deal with. For this post, (and yes, by association) I will talk about the abstractions used by perhaps the most mature network virtualisation solution on the market today. And yes, this means that I won’t be talking

Dmitri Kalintsev, Solution Architect, VMware

Note – this post appeared on the Telecom Occasionally blog. Read the entire post here.

 

Network Virtualization – Monitoring And Troubleshooting Series

This post was written by Martin Casado and Amar Padmanahban, with input from Scott Lowe, Bruce Davie, and T. Sridhar, and appeared on the Network Heresy Blog. There is a lot of discussion in the market surrounding. They will be publishing  a multi-part discussion on visibility and debugging in networks that provide network virtualization, and specifically in the case where virtualization is implemented using edge overlays.

Visibility, Debugging and Network Virtualization (Part 1)

In this post, we’re primarily going to cover some background, including current challenges to visibility and debugging in virtual data centers, and how the abstractions provided by virtual networking provide a foundation for addressing them. The macro point is that much of the difficulty in visibility and troubleshooting in today’s environments is due to the lack of consistent abstractions that both provide an aggregate view of distributed state and hide unnecessary complexity. And that network virtualization not only provides virtual abstractions that can be used to directly address many of the most pressing issues, but also provides a global view that can greatly aid in troubleshooting and debugging the physical network as well.

A Messy State of Affairs –>read more.