Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Don MacVittie, John Katrick, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Derek Weeks

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
Our work, both with clients and with tools, has lead us to wonder how it is that organizations are handling compliance issues in the cloud. The big cloud vendors offer compliance for their infrastructure, but the shared responsibility model requires that you take certain steps to meet compliance requirements. Which lead us to start poking around a little more. We wanted to get a picture of what was available, and how it was being used. There is a lot of fluidity in this space, as in all things ...
Gaining visibility in today’s sprawling cloud infrastructure is complex and laborious, involving drilling down into tools offered by various cloud services providers. Enterprise IT organizations need smarter and effective tools at their disposal in order to address this pertinent problem. Gaining a 360 - degree view of the cloud costs requires collection and analysis of the cost data across all cloud infrastructures used inside an enterprise.
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
Admiral Calcote - also known as Lee Calcote (@lcalcote) or the Ginger Geek to his friends - gave a presentation entitled Characterizing and Contrasting Container Orchestrators at the 2016 All Day DevOps conference. Okay, he isn't really an admiral - nor does anyone call him that - but he used the title admiral to describe what container orchestrators do, relating it to an admiral directing a fleet of container ships. You could also say that they are like the conductor of an orchestra, directing...
The past few years have brought a sea change in the way applications are architected, developed, and consumed—increasing both the complexity of testing and the business impact of software failures. How can software testing professionals keep pace with modern application delivery, given the trends that impact both architectures (cloud, microservices, and APIs) and processes (DevOps, agile, and continuous delivery)? This is where continuous testing comes in. D
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone in...
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.
Gone are the days when application development was the daunting task of the highly skilled developers backed with strong IT skills, low code application development has democratized app development and empowered a new generation of citizen developers. There was a time when app development was in the domain of people with complex coding and technical skills. We called these people by various names like programmers, coders, techies, and they usually worked in a world oblivious of the everyday pri...
The notion of improving operational efficiency is conspicuously absent from the healthcare debate - neither Obamacare nor the newly proposed GOP plan discusses the impact that a step-function improvement in efficiency could have on access to healthcare (through more capacity), quality of healthcare services (through reduced wait times for patients) or cost (through better utilization of scarce, expensive assets).
The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Microservices being modular these are faster to change and enables an evolutionary architecture where systems can change, as the business needs change. Microservices can scale elastically and by being service oriented can enable APIs natively. Microservices also reduce implementation and release cycle time and enables continuous delivery. This paper provides a logical overview of the Mi...
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 ...
Some journey to cloud on a mission, others, a deadline. Change management is useful when migrating to public, private or hybrid cloud environments in either case. For most, stakeholder engagement peaks during the planning and post migration phases of a project. Legacy engagements are fairly direct: projects follow a linear progression of activities (the “waterfall” approach) – change managers and application coders work from the same functional and technical requirements. Enablement and develo...
Some people are directors, managers, and administrators. Others are disrupters. Eddie Webb (@edwardawebb) is an IT Disrupter for Software Development Platforms at Liberty Mutual and was a presenter at the 2016 All Day DevOps conference. His talk, Organically DevOps: Building Quality and Security into the Software Supply Chain at Liberty Mutual, looked at Liberty Mutual's transformation to Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and DevOps. For a large, heavily regulated industry, this task...
For DevOps teams, the concepts behind service-oriented architecture (SOA) are nothing new. A style of software design initially made popular in the 1990s, SOA was an alternative to a monolithic application; essentially a collection of coarse-grained components that communicated with each other. Communication would involve either simple data passing or two or more services coordinating some activity. SOA served as a valid approach to solving many architectural problems faced by businesses, as app...
Many IT organizations have come to learn that leveraging cloud infrastructure is not just unavoidable, it’s one of the most effective paths for IT organizations to become more responsive to business needs. Yet with the cloud comes new challenges, including minimizing downtime, decreasing the cost of operations, and preventing employee burnout to name a few. As companies migrate their processes and procedures to their new reality of a cloud-based infrastructure, an incident management solution...
Cloud Governance means many things to many people. Heck, just the word cloud means different things depending on who you are talking to. While definitions can vary, controlling access to cloud resources is invariably a central piece of any governance program. Enterprise cloud computing has transformed IT. Cloud computing decreases time-to-market, improves agility by allowing businesses to adapt quickly to changing market demands, and, ultimately, drives down costs.
Recent survey done across top 500 fortune companies shows almost 70% of the CIO have either heard about IAC from their infrastructure head or they are on their way to implement IAC. Yet if you look under the hood while some level of automation has been done, most of the infrastructure is still managed in much tradition/legacy way. So, what is Infrastructure as Code? how do you determine if your IT infrastructure is truly automated?
Every few years, a disruptive force comes along that prompts us to reframe our understanding of what something means, or how it works. For years, the notion of what a computer is and how you make one went pretty much unchallenged. Then virtualization came along, followed by cloud computing, and most recently containers. Suddenly the old rules no longer seemed to apply, or at least they didn’t always apply. These disruptors made us reconsider our IT worldview.