Sunday, October 5, 2014

Scratching the surface of Networking in vNext

The technical previews of both Windows Server and System Center is now available for download.
What’s really interesting to see, is that we are making huge progress when it comes to core infrastructure components such as compute (Hyper-V, Failover Clustering), storage and networking.

What I would like to talk a bit about in this blog post, is the new things in networking in the context of cloud computing.

Network Controller

As you already know, in vCurrent (Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2), Virtual Machine Manager act as the network controller for your cloud infrastructure. The reasons for this have been obvious so far, but has also lead to some challenges regarding high availability, scalability and extensibility.
In the technical preview, we have a new role in Windows Server, “Network Controller”.

This is a highly available and scalable server role that provides the point of automation (REST API) that allows you to configure, monitor and troubleshoot the following aspects of a datacenter stamp or cluster:

·         Virtual networks
·         Network services
·         Physical networks
·         Network topology
·         IP Address Management

A management application – such as VMM vNext can manage the controller to perform configuration, monitoring, programming and troubleshooting on the network infrastructure under its control.
In addition, the network controller can expose infrastructure to network aware applications such as Lync and Skype.

GRE Tunneling in Windows Server

Working a lot with cloud computing (private and service provider clouds), we have now and then ran into challenges for very specific scenarios where the service providers want to provide their tenants with hybrid connectivity into the service provider infrastructure.

A typical example is that you have a tenant running VMs on NVGRE, but the same tenant also wants access to some shared services in the service provider fabric.
The workaround for this have never been pretty, but due to GRE tunneling in Windows Server, we have many new features that can leverage the lightweight tunneling protocol of GRE.

GRE tunnels are useful in many scenarios, such as:

·         High speed connectivity
This enables a scalable way to provide high speed connectivity from the tenant on premise network to their virtual network located in the service provider cloud network. A tenant connects via MPLS where a GRE tunnel is established between the hosting service provider’s edge router and the multitenant gateway to the tenant’s virtual network

·         Integration with VLAN based isolation
You can now integrate VLAN based isolation with NVGRE. A physical network on the service provider network contains a load balancer using VLAN-based isolation. A multitenant gateway establishes GRE tunnels between the load balancer on the physical network and the multitenant gateway on the virtual network.

·         Access from a tenant virtual networks to tenant physical networks
Finally, we can provide access from a tenant virtual network to tenant physical networks located in the service provider fabrics. A GRE tunnel endpoint is established on the multitenant gateway, the other GRE tunnel endpoint is established on a third-party device on the physical network. Layer-3 traffic is routed between the VMs in the virtual network and the third-party device on the physical network

No matter if you are an enterprise or a service provider, you will have plenty of new scenarios made available in the next release that will make you more flexible, agile and dynamic than ever before.
For hybrid connectivity – which is the essence of hybrid cloud, it is time to start investigate on how to make this work for you, your organization and customers.

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