Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Brad Anderson, Liz McMillan, Christopher Campbell

Related Topics: Virtualization, Java, SOA & WOA, .NET, Web 2.0, Cloud Expo

Virtualization: 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, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.

Cloud Expo Breaking News
MapDB is an Apache-licensed open source database specifically designed for Java developers. The library uses the standard Java Collections API, making it totally natural for Java developers to use and adopt, while scaling database size from GBs to TBs. MapDB is very fast and supports an agile approach to data, allowing developers to construct flexible schemas to exactly match application needs and tune performance, durability and caching for specific requirements.
APIs came about to help companies create and manage their digital ecosystem, enabling them not only to reach more customers through more devices, but also create a large supporting ecosystem of developers and partners. While Facebook, Twitter and Netflix were the early adopters of APIs, large enterprises have been quick to embrace the concept of APIs and have been leveraging APIs as a connective tissue that powers all interactions between their customers, partners and employees. As enterprises embrace APIs, some very specific Enterprise API Adoption patterns and best practices have started emerging. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will talk about the most common enterprise API patterns and will discuss how enterprises can successfully launch an API program.
The social media expansion has shown just how people are eager to share their experiences with the rest of the world. Cloud technology is the perfect platform to satisfy this need given its great flexibility and readiness. At Cynny, we aim to revolutionize how people share and organize their digital life through a brand new cloud service, starting from infrastructure to the users’ interface. A revolution that began from inventing and designing our very own infrastructure: we have created the first server network powered solely by ARM CPU. The microservers have “organism-like” features, differentiating them from any of the current technologies. Benefits include low consumption of energy, making Cynny the ecologically friendly alternative for storage as well as cheaper infrastructure, lower running costs, etc.
Next-Gen Cloud. Whatever you call it, there’s a higher calling for cloud computing that requires providers to change their spots and move from a commodity mindset to a premium one. Businesses can no longer maintain the status quo that today’s service providers offer. Yes, the continuity, speed, mobility, data access and connectivity are staples of the cloud and always will be. But cloud providers that plan to not only exist tomorrow – but to lead – know that security must be the top priority for the cloud and are delivering it now. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Kurt Hagerman, Chief Information Security Officer at FireHost, will detail why and how you can have both infrastructure performance and enterprise-grade security – and what tomorrow's cloud provider will look like.
Today, developers and business units are leading the charge to cloud computing. The primary driver: faster access to computing resources by using the cloud's automated infrastructure provisioning. However, fast access to infrastructure exposes the next friction point: creating, delivering, and operating applications much faster. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Bernard Golden, VP of Strategy at ActiveState, will discuss why solving the next friction point is critical for true cloud computing success and how developers and business units can leverage service catalogs, frameworks, and DevOps to achieve the true goal of IT: delivering increased business value through applications.
Web conferencing in a public cloud has the same risks as any other cloud service. If you have ever had concerns over the types of data being shared in your employees’ web conferences, such as IP, financials or customer data, then it’s time to look at web conferencing in a private cloud. In her session at 14th Cloud Expo, Courtney Behrens, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother International, will discuss how issues that had previously been out of your control, like performance, advanced administration and compliance, can now be put back behind your firewall.
More and more enterprises today are doing business by opening up their data and applications through APIs. Though forward-thinking and strategic, exposing APIs also increases the surface area for potential attack by hackers. To benefit from APIs while staying secure, enterprises and security architects need to continue to develop a deep understanding about API security and how it differs from traditional web application security or mobile application security. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will walk you through the various aspects of how an API could be potentially exploited. He will discuss the necessary best practices to secure your data and enterprise applications while continue continuing to support your business’s digital initiatives.
The revolution that happened in the server universe over the past 15 years has resulted in an eco-system that is more open, more democratically innovative and produced better results in technically challenging dimensions like scale. The underpinnings of the revolution were common hardware, standards based APIs (ex. POSIX) and a strict adherence to layering and isolation between applications, daemons and kernel drivers/modules which allowed multiple types of development happen in parallel without hindering others. Put simply, today's server model is built on a consistent x86 platform with few surprises in its core components. A kernel abstracts away the platform, so that applications and daemons are decoupled from the hardware. In contrast, networking equipment is still stuck in the mainframe era. Today, networking equipment is a single appliance, including hardware, OS, applications and user interface come as a monolithic entity from a single vendor. Switching between different vendor'...
Cloud backup and recovery services are critical to safeguarding an organization’s data and ensuring business continuity when technical failures and outages occur. With so many choices, how do you find the right provider for your specific needs? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Daniel Jacobson, Technology Manager at BUMI, will outline the key factors including backup configurations, proactive monitoring, data restoration, disaster recovery drills, security, compliance and data center resources. Aside from the technical considerations, the secret sauce in identifying the best vendor is the level of focus, expertise and specialization of their engineering team and support group, and how they monitor your day-to-day backups, provide recommendations, and guide you through restores when necessary.
Cloud scalability and performance should be at the heart of every successful Internet venture. The infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible, and fast – it’s best not to get caught thinking about architecture until the middle of an emergency, when it's too late. In his interactive, no-holds-barred session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will dive into how to design and build-out the right cloud infrastructure.
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. What about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver on new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for application developers and slow performance for end users. Further, as data sizes grow into the Big Data realm, this problem is exacerbated and becomes even more difficult to address. A seemingly simple schema change can take hours (or more) to perform, and as requirements evolve the disconnect between existing data structures and actual needs diverge.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SherWeb, a long-time leading provider of cloud services and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive cloud solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM and more.
The world of cloud and application development is not just for the hardened developer these days. In their session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will pull back the curtain of the architecture of a fun demo application purpose-built for the cloud. They will focus on demonstrating how they leveraged compute, storage, messaging, and other cloud elements hosted at SoftLayer to lower the effort and difficulty of putting together a useful application. This will be an active demonstration and review of simple command-line tools and resources, so don’t be afraid if you are not a seasoned developer.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BUMI, a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Manhattan-based BUMI (Backup My Info!) is a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery. Founded in 2002, the company’s Here, There and Everywhere data backup and recovery solutions are utilized by more than 500 businesses. BUMI clients include professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds and law firms. The company is known for its relentless passion for customer service and support, and has won numerous awards, including Customer Service Provider of the Year and 10 Best Companies to Work For.
Chief Security Officers (CSO), CIOs and IT Directors are all concerned with providing a secure environment from which their business can innovate and customers can safely consume without the fear of Distributed Denial of Service attacks. To be successful in today's hyper-connected world, the enterprise needs to leverage the capabilities of the web and be ready to innovate without fear of DDoS attacks, concerns about application security and other threats. Organizations face great risk from increasingly frequent and sophisticated attempts to render web properties unavailable, and steal intellectual property or personally identifiable information. Layered security best practices extend security beyond the data center, delivering DDoS protection and maintaining site performance in the face of fast-changing threats.