Enterprise-Ready Network Virtualization for OpenStack

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1 SOLUTION GUIDE Enterprise-Ready Network Virtualization for OpenStack Automating Private Cloud Provisioning with Big Virtual Switch 1

2 Big Virtual Switch, a network virtualization application from Big Switch Networks, makes your network as agile and dynamic as your other cloud infrastructure. To extract the value of private clouds, you must embrace automation. Significant degrees of automation have been achieved in compute and storage deployment and operations. The same cannot be said of networks. Network virtualization has lagged other technologies in the data center and has posed a barrier to delivering a truly virtual data center. The network now poses a productivity barrier because the output of automated compute deployment tools is often held up by the need for network change orders to be completed manually. Big Virtual Switch, a network virtualization application from Big Switch Networks, and OpenStack provide a solution to these challenges. The solution supports existing physical systems, including layer-4 through layer-7 appliances, and can program both physical and virtual switches to meet the requirements of application instances. An OpenStack private cloud that uses Big Virtual Switch enables teams to work more efficiently and reduces the cost of supporting application and service workloads. OpenStack and Big Virtual Switch enable a degree of automation that was once thought impossible to achieve, enabling the use of abstractions to pool resources and providing a robust implementation for programming the network while cleanly separating the network engineering duties from other deployment tasks. The combination of OpenStack and Big Virtual Switch solves the challenges of network virtualization within enterprise data centers, enabling enterprises to reap the benefits of a private cloud while simultaneously simplifying network operations. Table of Contents The Challenge and Promise of Private Clouds... 3 The Push-Button Cloud... 4 An Open SDN Stack... 5 Big Virtual Switch and OpenStack... 7 Unified. Flexible. Open... 9 About Big Switch Networks

3 The Challenge and Promise of Private Clouds Deploying and operating a large-scale private cloud is fraught with challenges; there is no question. Yet, the benefits of building a private cloud for applications and services are immense. With a private cloud, enterprises can deliver internal and external services to end-users more rapidly and more cost effectively. A private cloud can enable an enterprise to defer the build out of systems for each application and, instead, draw from a shared resource. Such a pool of compute, storage and network resources scales quickly and minimizes unused capacity during early phases of an application deployment or if demand adjusts daily or seasonally. A private cloud, further, can reduce the re-work required with traditional approaches to the development, test, and production deployment processes. A private cloud can enable teams to work more efficiently and can dramatically reduce the cost of supporting application and service workloads by changing how the deployment cycle works altogether. The key to unlocking this efficiency is to deliver agility through automation. Automation converts the task-intensive efforts associated with deploying applications into logic that systems execute on behalf of administrators. Agility is the end result of such automation. With such agility, application owners can reduce the time required to move from a development and test phase into production. And as demand for an application grows, or dissipates, assigning more resources, or recovering underutilized compute for other workloads, can become push-button simple. But there is a problem: supporting the compute requirements and storage requirements for applications and services doesn t address all the requirements of a private cloud. Just when application owners and server infrastructure operators think they have met the challenge of managing deployment costs while effectively supporting the needs of their applications and end users, they run into a roadblock: the network. And the network presents a formidable challenge. Traditional approaches to networking have not been effectively virtualized. And so, the application and server teams either need to work with a network that hampers their effectiveness, waiting for change orders to be implemented or they have to do the work themselves, re-configuring the virtual network or relying on the network engineering team for adds, changes, and moves... Neither of these approaches works well. Networks have been engineered for a reason. Just as software, roadways, and airplanes require engineering, so does the design, deployment, and management of computer networks require the application of knowledge and skills to build reliable systems. So we can t ignore decades of network expertise, and we can t expect server operations personnel to learn the details of networking to deploy cloud-based applications. Nor can we further complicate server-infrastructure architectures with every detail of the underlying communication systems. But the current state, where network engineers try to keep up with the automation and orchestration tools available to application owners and server infrastructure administrators remains unacceptable. Manual, device-oriented approaches to building out and operating networks no longer suffice. The network needs automation, too Figure 1: A typical network, where servers have been virtualized but the network configuration remains tied to physical systems 3

4 The Push-Button Cloud This impasse has been addressed by OpenStack, which offers the simplest way to deploy a private cloud and bring services to end users rapidly. Using shared resources, Openstack deployments meet the needs of peak demand while minimizing unused capacity. OpenStack compresses the once lengthy process of moving from development and test environments to production deployments. An OpenStack private cloud can convert man-power intensive deployment projects into automated processes, enabling service providers and applications to scale quickly, operate efficiently and provide new capabilities without wasting resources or building capacity that sits idle. But OpenStack relies on the systems that underpin it. OpenStack is a foundation, a set of technologies, and a global community with one goal in mind: producing the ubiquitous open source cloud computing platform for public and private clouds. OpenStack technology is Apache licensed and offers a rich feature-set that can accelerate any organization s adoption of cloud architectures. In contrast to proprietary systems, OpenStack is not controlled by any single entity and no single entity can revoke the license or control the use of the software. This flexibility and the rich feature set, which has been proven out in production deployments, has made OpenStack the go-to platform for cloud computing. OpenStack enables a simple to implement and massively scalable cloud by offering automated control over pools of compute, storage, and networking resources and providing a management dashboard that simultaneously gives administrators the control they need while allowing users to provision the resources their applications require. Compute (nova) Network (quantum) Storage (cinder) Virtual Switch Figure 2: OpenStack provides an abstraction for instrumenting networks Many early deployments utilized OpenStack Compute and OpenStack Storage and left networking to operate via traditional methods. The success of these deployments only made the problems arising in the network worse and more common. Service providers and application owners increased efficiency, transitioning smoothly from development environments to production and then scaling out production deployments by cloning application instances. They have the tools required to grow (and shrink) compute and storage resources quickly. But the network lagged behind for two reasons: (1) Early network virtualization technology was intermingled with compute infrastructure and didn t support both physical and virtual systems robustly (2) OpenStack defined the abstraction that could meet the requirements of application instances, but the underlying network lacked the ability to be instrumented and programmed to meet those requirements at scale. Recently, OpenStack Networking has emerged. 4

5 An Open SDN Stack Big Virtual Switch, a network virtualization application from Big Switch Networks, provides the programmable foundation that completes the OpenStack platforms and enables a truly simple, scalable, and programmable virtual network. Big Virtual Switch runs on the Big Network, a platform for Open Software-Defined Networking (SDN). Big Virtual Switch uses an open API on the Big Network and the underlying network is instrumented via an open protocol, OpenFlow. Based upon information received through the OpenStack Neutron API (formerly Quantum API), Big Virtual Switch creates Virtual Network Segments to slice up the network in coordination with dynamic workloads and makes the network as agile as other elements in an OpenStack private cloud. Instead of using traditional static network configuration constructs, like VLANs and subnets, that can t scale to the needs of private clouds, Big Virtual Switch delivers a flexible, unified, and dramatically more efficient approach to scaling data center networks for cloud deployments. Big Virtual Switch Northbound API Open Source Core Big Network Open Flow vswitches Open Flow vswitches Figure 3: Big Network has at its core, the open-source SDN controller, Floodlight, which is Apache licensed like OpenStack itself. Often, to accommodate the limitations of device-oriented networks and the risk of manual change orders, traditional networks must move slowly, tracking each modification with rigorous change control and tying the network design to physical systems and their associated application workloads. For example, tying a VLAN and a subnet to an application and then configuring those network properties directly into devices defeats the very purpose of server virtualization and cloud architectures. These designs are optimized to limit configuration errors and fix the settings to avoid an outage and to simplify the burden of maintaining compliance with regulations that require traffic isolation. For example, in a traditional design a VLAN is often coupled to a subnet and that subnet might be coupled to a specific rack or a set of racks and networking systems. Such configurations result in inflexible architectures that are slow to respond to business needs, slowing application ramp times due to personnel constraints or the costs required to build out all the systems required for an application or stranding compute and storage resources within islands on the network. 5

6 Big Virtual Switch solves these problems, driving the benefits of virtualization and automation into the network. With. Big Virtual Switch, the underlying network can be dynamically and automatically sliced into segments according to corporate security and compliance policies so that applications can take full advantage of available compute and storage systems. Network Engineers don t have to work a task list with dozens of items associated with each new workload request. And the application teams don t have to work within the constraints of a traditional network or learn everything it takes to engineer a truly scalable network. With Big Virtual Switch, cloud architects and network engineers have the assurance of a validated network design.. Big Virtual Switch operates atop a network composed of virtual switches (vswitches), physical switches, and that can include virtual load balancers and virtual firewalls. The network design uses OpenFlow-based forwarding. Big Virtual Switch, further, has been integrated with the OpenStack Network API so that when a server administrator or an end user creates a new workload that needs network resources, the network can provide it automatically. Rather than taking on the task of building out a quasi-network that is decoupled from the actual network, an application owner can simply ask for it. And, with Big Virtual Switch, the network can respond to that request quickly and without requiring dozens of trouble tickets and manual configuration tasks. Big Virtual Switch Northbound API Big Network Non-OF ToR Switch Open Flow vswitches Figure 4: Big Virtual Switch supports hybrid network virtualization, which simplifies the Open SDN migration and facilitates regulatory compliance. 6

7 Big Virtual Switch and OpenStack Big Virtual Switch and OpenStack Networking provide a truly scalable, automated approach to programming private cloud networks, delivering the control that network engineers need and the flexibility and speed of provisioning that users expect. Within the OpenStack Network platform, the Network API enables tenants to create a network and to associate a subnet with it. For example a user might create the network, rednetwork and associate /24 with it. Then the user boots a VM and specifies a NIC that connects to the network. Depending on the configuration, the user assigns a port to a NIC or the system manages that operation; then OpenStack Neutron assigns an IP to the port. The network that the tenant uses and over which all the user s applications communicate needs to be created by a system that plugs-in to OpenStack Networking. The Networking plugin orchestrates network resources based on the requirements of dynamic workloads and makes the network resources available to applications. Big Switch Networks provides a plugin to the Networking API, called RestProxy, and uses it to dynamically orchestrate network segmentation and configuration according to administratively defined policy. The RestProxy plugin works with Big Virtual Switch and Big Network to build this virtual network, tenant-by-tenant and request-byrequest. Using the Networking plugin, server infrastructure operators can build the network they need without having to engineer those networks themselves. And, with Big Virtual Switch, network engineers can support the needs of cloud architectures without, for example, actually building a physical /24 network for each tenant and without pulling VLANs across every switch in every data center to support a flat network and broadcast domain. With OpenStack, Big Virtual Switch, and the Quantum Plugin, network engineers can work with the compute and storage teams to define a comprehensive cloud architecture that associates exactly the network users and applications need with the application instances they want to run. Compute Network BigSwitch Plugin Storage Big Virtual Switch Northbound API Big Network Application or tenant-specific Virtual Network Segments / / /24 Shared infrastructure that underpins applications Figure 5: Big Virtual Switch and OpenStack deliver unparalleled automation to network virtualization 7

8 Big Virtual Switch enables network engineers to slice up the network in the same way that hypervisors and server virtualization technology enabled users to partition and share CPU resources on a physical server. Using Big Virtual Switch, an OpenStack deployment can slice up the network and cleanly separate the duties required to serve the needs of the network and of compute and storage. In Big Virtual Switch, these slices are called Virtual Network Segments (VNS). A VNS provides isolation of tenant traffic to ensure consistency with corporate security policies and regulations no matter where the tenant workloads are running within the data center or even if the traffic spans a WAN and spans multiple physical data centers. For example, the physical infrastructure might run on a relatively flat /22 physical network. This physical network would support 1022 plus physical hosts on each of 62 subnets. At the same time, tenants could run a network that fits their needs, for example a /24 network with 254 hosts (on one of 254 subnets). The fully isolated private networks for each tenant would be able to access physical hosts, such as bare metal servers on the /22 network or services nodes, such as load balancers and firewall appliances, while maintaining isolation from other tenants and without requiring the tenant to wait on network configuration or maintain any knowledge of the network configuration. The physical infrastructure might span multiple data centers and include hierarchical L3 components within or between these networks. A VNS can use VLANs or OpenFlow control to isolate traffic, depending on the policy requirements. But to applications, and to each tenant, there s just one network, their network, the 254 hosts that they requested or that was associated with the server instance flavors by a predefined policy. Within the VNS, the policy can control general broadcast traffic, ARP requests and DHCP messages. In addition to enabling Big Virtual Switch to learn and manage the topology, managing broadcast enables tenant networks to scale across large L2 domains and over L3 boundaries traffic and provides complete isolation, increasing security. To further ensure security, each VNS supports access control lists, which can permit or deny traffic between hosts in the VNS. When using Big Virtual Switch with OpenStack, the OpenStack user defines the virtual network and the corresponding interfaces within the OpenStack Horizon Dashboard or the Nova CLI. The virtual network requested within the dashboard corresponds to Virtual Network Segments, which are created and managed by Big Virtual Switch. Defining the networks can be left to the service requestor, or the definition can be associated with the demand for compute resources and configured by policy. In either case, the server virtualization team and the user of the compute resources need not request or even be aware of the underlying network provisioning. Big Virtual Switch provides support for rich networking services and automates the service definition based on the request, the predefined networking policy, and on information received from outside sources (known as meta-information tags). For example, a VNS can support the insertion of advanced firewalls or load-balancers automatically, including services running on physical or virtual appliances. 8

9 Red VNS Address space Broadcast ARP DHCP Interface Rules (port, ip/subnet, vlan, meta-data) Access Control List Network Services Big Network / / /24 Green VNS Address space Broadcast ARP DHCP Interface Rules (port, ip/subnet, vlan, meta-data) Access Control List Network Services Blue VNS Address space Broadcast ARP DHCP Interface Rules (port, ip/subnet, vlan, meta-data) Access Control List Network Services Unified. Flexible. Open. Figure 6: Virtual Network Segment enable up to 32,000 virtual networks, each with its own properties and policy. Creation and management of a VNS can be automated with OpenStack. This flexibility is critical to overcoming the challenges of building out a successful private cloud, especially within enterprises that already have a significant volume of virtualized workloads but have some applications that must run on physical or require the integration of select L4-L7 appliances. This flexibility, and the ability to systematically build out these tenant-application networks by policy, simplifies the burden of maintaining regulatory compliance and meeting performance expectations. The onerous tasks and parades of trouble tickets associated with traditional network provisioning workflows exist for legacy technical reasons, and because, in addition to providing reliable connectivity, network engineers also have responsibility for ensuring compliance with HIPAA, PCI, or SOX compliance. Introducing network virtualization and deploying network, compute, and storage services by policy, without requiring manual, device-by-device configuration can reduce a common source or delays: reconciling compliance requirements and automating the procedures of maintaining compliance. For example, if the existing policy required the use of physical appliance for terminating SSL sessions, Big Virtual Switch supports that. Or if the audit specification currently requires the use of VLANs, a VNS can use VLANs and eliminate the burden of manually configuring and managing them. By working with existing physical systems and virtual systems and by enabling network engineers to define a path forward to private clouds without neglecting ongoing requirements, OpenStack and Big Virtual Switch enable a degree of automation that was once thought impossible to achieve. Enabling the use of abstractions to pool resources and providing a robust implementation for programming the network, while cleanly separating the network engineering duties and deployment tasks, solves the challenges of network virtualization within enterprise data centers. Big Virtual Switch delivers the programmable network that is required to facilitate networking with OpenStack and completes the cloud-optimized network architecture. The combination of OpenStack and Big Virtual Switch enables enterprises to deliver privates clouds and realize the benefits of comprehensive shared infrastructure, optimizing the deployment and entire life cycle of applications and controlling the traffic these applications generate more effectively. The end result is that an enterprise can reap the benefits of a private cloud while simultaneously simplifying network operations. 9

10 About Big Switch Networks Big Switch Networks is the leader in open source Software-Defined Networking (SDN) products, delivering unmatched network agility, automated network provisioning, and dramatic reductions in the cost of network operations. The company s Open SDN platform offers an OpenFlow switch fabric that can run on bare metal switches and hypervisor virtual switches, and enables a wide variety of SDN network applications including data center network virtualization and network monitoring. For more information, visit 10 Headquarters 100 West Evelyn Street, Suite 110 Mountain View, CA 94041, USA Phone: or: bigswitch.com Copyright 2013 Big Switch Networks, Inc. All rights reserved. Big Switch Networks, Big Network, Big Tap, Big Virtual Switch, Switch Light, Floodlight and Open SDN are trademarks or registered trademarks of Big Switch Networks, Inc. All other trademarks, service marks, registered marks, or registered service marks are the property of their respective owners. Big Switch Networks assumes no responsibility for any inaccuracies in this document. Big Switch Networks reserves the right to change, modify, transfer, or otherwise revise this publication without notice. SG02-03 July 2013

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