Monday, August 30, 2010

VMworld 2010 Reporting: The Future Direction of Networking Virtualization

Howie Xu, R & D Director, Virtualization and Cloud Platform

This presentation is visionary in nature with no commitment to product delivery. Howie noted a trend in more and more networking professionals attending vmworld. Additional trends also impacting networking;

- Virtualization and mobility
- Convergence in platforms between servers, storage and networking
- Cloud economics
VMware sees the cloud as a way of doing business not a destination.
Cloud involves increased efficiency and flexibility

In VMwares own platform they have progressed from a managed virtual switch to a distributed switch, with a distributed "virtual network" envisioned for the future. The properties of a virtual network are access to anything, anywhere and at any scale. Cloud should also not be a second class citizen with respect to networking, it must offer an equivalent quality of service. Antime is about closing the time between deploying a virtual sever and the time robust networking services are applied to the virtual machine. Any scale is about scaling up, down, horizontally and virtically economically.

You need therefore to decouple the workload from a static networking configuration. Today network managers struggle to adapt to a much more dynamic environment. It is unlikely that IT groups can build technical teams in the current market to deal with this additional level of complexity. So how? The only solution is to liberate IT resources from the drudgery of networking support to enable them to become more strategic.

Coordination of L2-L7 services is currently human resource intensive. The network is also not very transparent. This problem has existed for a while but the demand for cloud economics is making it a bottleneck to flexibility.

VMwares customers want the network to become transparent. This leads into the concept of the virtual chassis or vChassis. Think of a typical balde enclosure that includes modules and plugging for storage and L2-7 networking services.


VMware provides a platform and allows their 3rd party partners to pluggin to it. Similar in concept to the integration of 3rd party network switches into blade enclosure. 3 planes, data management and control plane.

In order to provide this, networking must extend it's capabilities to enable instantaneous service provisioning, visibility and policy enforcement, elasticity and scalability, multi-tenancy.

Think about plugging in a distributed traffic shaper though a control plane that extends across the entire virtual infrastructure to provide custom data plans on a per vm basis. Over riding this solution would be a policy based management solution.

vChassis can do 10 GB line rate to a VM using a small part of the CPU but it needs to be added to a control point to manage this capability.

Networking technology was designed for a static environment. L2 has to be scalable, flexible, and include multi-tenancy.

VMware is working closely with their partners but it is not easy as things like backwards comparability have to be considered.

The value os this development is to allow 3rd parties to develop on, certify against and sell to VMware customers. VMware takes advantage of this themselves through vShield. This will enable a new generation of cloud enabled services.

The foundation of this currently is the distributed network switch and vNetwork API. Futures is the vChassis and virtual network.

No comments:

Post a Comment