Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Jason Bloomberg, Pat Romanski, Cameron Van Orman, Flint Brenton

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Article

The Seven Properties of Network Virtualization

A great starting point for requirements for your enterprise architecture

A review of the key properties of network virtualization can inform your planning and help in requirements generation as you architect new systems. The best source of information I’ve found on network virtualization is at Nicira, a firm anyone with an infrastructure should be paying attention to now.

The following is drawn from their paper on The Seven Properties of Network Virtualization”

1. Independence from network hardware
In the emerging multi-tenant cloud, the old rules of vendor lock-in are rapidly changing. A network virtualization platform must be able to operate on top of any network hardware, much like x86 server hypervisors work on top of any server. This independence means the physical network can be supplied by any combination of hardware vendors. Over time, newer architectures that better support virtualization as well as commodity options are becoming available, further improving the capital efficiency of cloud.

2. Faithful reproduction of the physical network service model
The vast bulk of enterprise applications have not been written as web applications, and the cost/payback ratio of rewriting tens of billions of dollars of application development is neither realistic nor even possible. Therefore, a network virtualization platform must be able to support any workload that runs within a physical environment today. In order to do so, it must recreate Layer 2 and Layer 3 semantics fully, including support for broadcast and multicast. In addition it must be able to offer higher-level in-network services that are used in networks today such as ACLs, load balancing, and WAN optimization.

It is also important that the virtual network solution fully virtualize the network address space. Commonly, virtual networks are migrated from or integrated with physical environments where it is not possible to change the current addresses of the VMs. Therefore, it is important that a virtual network environment not dictate or limit the addresses that can be used within the virtual networks, and that it allows overlapping IP and MAC addresses between virtual networks.

3. Follow operational model of compute virtualization
A key property of compute virtualization is the ability to treat a VM as soft state, meaning it can be moved, paused, resumed, snapshotted, and rewound to a previous configuration. In order to integrate seamlessly in a virtualized environment, a network virtualization solution must support the same control and flexibility for virtual networks.

4. Compatible with any hypervisor platform
Network virtualization platforms must also be able to work with the full range of server hypervisors, including Xen, XenServer, KVM, ESX, and HyperV, providing the ability to control virtualized network connectivity across any network substrate as well as between hypervisor environments. This “any-to-any” paradigm shift provides for:

  • Ÿ More effective utilization of existing network investments,
  • Ÿ Cost and management reduction of new, Layer 3 fabric innovations,
  • Ÿ Workload portability from enterprise to cloud service provider environments.

5. Secure isolation between virtual networks, the physical network, and the control plane
The promise of multi-tenancy requires maximum utilization of compute, storage and network assets through sharing of the physical infrastructure. It is important that a network virtualization platform maintain this consolidation while still providing the isolation needed by regulatory compliance standards such as PCI or FINRA, as well as provide the same security guarantees of compute virtualization.Like compute virtualization, a network virtualization platform should provide strict address isolation between virtual networks (meaning one virtual network cannot inadvertently address another) as well address isolation between the virtual networks and the physical network. This last property removes the physical network as an attack target unless the virtualization platform itself is undermined.

6. Cloud performance and scale
Cloud drives a significant increase in the scale of tenants, servers, and applications supported in a single data center. However, current networks are still bound by the physical limitations of networks, especially VLANs (which are limited to 4,096). VLANS were designed during an earlier era before server virtualization dramatically increased the requirements for the numbers of virtually isolated environments. Network virtualization must support considerably larger scale deployments with tens thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of virtual networks. This not only enables a larger number of tenants, but also support critical services like disaster recovery, data center utilization, etc., which outstrip current limitations.

A virtual network solution should also not introduce any chokepoints or single points of failure into the network. This roughly entails that to all components for the solution must be fully distributed, and all network paths should support multi-pathing and failover. Finally, a network virtualization solution should also not significantly impact data path performance. The number of lookups on the data path required to implemented network virtualization is similar to what data paths perform today. It is possible to implement full network virtualization in software at the edge of the network and still perform at full 10G line rates.

7. Programmatic network provisioning and control
Traditionally, networks are configured one device at a time, although this can be accelerated through the development of scripts (which emulate individual configuration). Current approaches make network configuration slow, error prone and open to security holes through a mistaken keystroke. In a large-scale cloud environment, this introduces a level of fragility and manual configuration costs that hurt service velocity and/or profitability.

A network virtualization solution should provide full control over all virtual network resources and allow for these resources to be managed programmatically. This allows the provisioning to happen at the service level versus the element level significantly simplifying provisioning logic and any disruption that might occur due to physical network node failure. The programmatic API should provide full access to management and configuration of a virtual network to not only support dynamic provisioning at cloud time scales, but also the ability to introduce and configure services on the fly.

Concluding Thoughts
The seven key features above are a great starting point for requirements for your enterprise architecture. The good news is that you can enjoy all these features of network virtualization without significant change. The only thing it really requires is an understanding of this new approach and access to the technical thought leadership.

For more on this topic a great place to start your research is with Nicira.

 

This post by was first published at CTOvision.com.

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder and partner at Cognitio Corp and publsher of CTOvision.com

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Is advanced scheduling in Kubernetes achievable? Yes, however, how do you properly accommodate every real-life scenario that a Kubernetes user might encounter? How do you leverage advanced scheduling techniques to shape and describe each scenario in easy-to-use rules and configurations? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Oleg Chunikhin, CTO at Kublr, will answer these questions and demonstrate techniques for implementing advanced scheduling. For example, using spot instances ...
With the modern notion of digital transformation, enterprises are chipping away at the fundamental organizational and operational structures that have been with us since the nineteenth century or earlier. One remarkable casualty: the business process. Business processes have become so ingrained in how we envision large organizations operating and the roles people play within them that relegating them to the scrap heap is almost unimaginable, and unquestionably transformative. In the Digital ...
With the rise of DevOps, containers are at the brink of becoming a pervasive technology in Enterprise IT to accelerate application delivery for the business. When it comes to adopting containers in the enterprise, security is the highest adoption barrier. Is your organization ready to address the security risks with containers for your DevOps environment? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Van Tuin, Chief Technologist, NA West at Red Hat, will discuss: The top security r...
DevSecOps – a trend around transformation in process, people and technology – is about breaking down silos and waste along the software development lifecycle and using agile methodologies, automation and insights to help get apps to market faster. This leads to higher quality apps, greater trust in organizations, less organizational friction, and ultimately a five-star customer experience. These apps are the new competitive currency in this digital economy and they’re powered by data. Without ...
The nature of the technology business is forward-thinking. It focuses on the future and what’s coming next. Innovations and creativity in our world of software development strive to improve the status quo and increase customer satisfaction through speed and increased connectivity. Yet, while it's exciting to see enterprises embrace new ways of thinking and advance their processes with cutting edge technology, it rarely happens rapidly or even simultaneously across all industries.
Most of the time there is a lot of work involved to move to the cloud, and most of that isn't really related to AWS or Azure or Google Cloud. Before we talk about public cloud vendors and DevOps tools, there are usually several technical and non-technical challenges that are connected to it and that every company needs to solve to move to the cloud. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Stefano Bellasio, CEO and founder of Cloud Academy Inc., will discuss what the tools, disciplines, and cultural...
These days, APIs have become an integral part of the digital transformation journey for all enterprises. Every digital innovation story is connected to APIs . But have you ever pondered over to know what are the source of these APIs? Let me explain - APIs sources can be varied, internal or external, solving different purposes, but mostly categorized into the following two categories. Data lakes is a term used to represent disconnected but relevant data that are used by various business units wit...
Today most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes significant work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reducti...
Enterprises are moving to the cloud faster than most of us in security expected. CIOs are going from 0 to 100 in cloud adoption and leaving security teams in the dust. Once cloud is part of an enterprise stack, it’s unclear who has responsibility for the protection of applications, services, and data. When cloud breaches occur, whether active compromise or a publicly accessible database, the blame must fall on both service providers and users. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben Johnson, C...
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
‘Trend’ is a pretty common business term, but its definition tends to vary by industry. In performance monitoring, trend, or trend shift, is a key metric that is used to indicate change. Change is inevitable. Today’s websites must frequently update and change to keep up with competition and attract new users, but such changes can have a negative impact on the user experience if not managed properly. The dynamic nature of the Internet makes it necessary to constantly monitor different metrics. O...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
Many organizations are now looking to DevOps maturity models to gauge their DevOps adoption and compare their maturity to their peers. However, as enterprise organizations rush to adopt DevOps, moving past experimentation to embrace it at scale, they are in danger of falling into the trap that they have fallen into time and time again. Unfortunately, we've seen this movie before, and we know how it ends: badly.
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
Many organizations adopt DevOps to reduce cycle times and deliver software faster; some take on DevOps to drive higher quality and better end-user experience; others look to DevOps for a clearer line-of-sight to customers to drive better business impacts. In truth, these three foundations go together. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 21st Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, industry experts will discuss how leading organizations build application success from all...
The last two years has seen discussions about cloud computing evolve from the public / private / hybrid split to the reality that most enterprises will be creating a complex, multi-cloud strategy. Companies are wary of committing all of their resources to a single cloud, and instead are choosing to spread the risk – and the benefits – of cloud computing across multiple providers and internal infrastructures, as they follow their business needs. Will this approach be successful? How large is the ...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
One of the biggest challenges with adopting a DevOps mentality is: new applications are easily adapted to cloud-native, microservice-based, or containerized architectures - they can be built for them - but old applications need complex refactoring. On the other hand, these new technologies can require relearning or adapting new, oftentimes more complex, methodologies and tools to be ready for production. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, Solutions Marketi...