vPlane: Scaling The Virtualized Network World

April 17, 2012 at 5:59 am Leave a comment

“The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.”
     – Elbert Hubbard
______________________________________________

Silicon Valley is so hip it can barely see over its own pelvis.

Take a look at two events just this week: the Open Network Summit and the OpenStack Conference. Both are very interesting, but the attendees are typically not mainstream enterprises. The discussions are all around great and promising things like cloud, OpenFlow and SDN – things that are still very early or even nonexistent in the enterprise adoption cycle.

With that in mind, let’s talk about what Vyatta announced today: vPlane technology. This is, to put it mildly, A Big And Real Deal. We believe vPlane will be a significant agent of change for virtualized networking because it solves real problems and coexists seamlessly with existing infrastructure.

You can get more specifics on vPlane here and here, but here’s the upshot: Vyatta has architecturally decoupled our system into its sum parts: controller and forwarding plane. As a distributed forwarding technology, vPlane now scales to staggering speeds — over 8 million packets per second per core, and counting — and enables some very exciting (yet rational) use cases.

Follow the logic of an existing datacenter going through server upgrade cycles. Pop the hood on those 3-year-olds that are being decommissioned: two cores, non-virtualized, a single application and 1Gb/s interfaces. Each produces a relatively small amount of simple, homogeneous traffic. Now take a look at the new ones going in: 24 cores, virtualized with anywhere from 5-50 VMs and 10Gb/s interfaces. As the networker, here’s what you’re now dealing with on a per-server basis:
1. Heterogeneous in/out traffic patterns from a single server due to the different VMs it contains
2. New side-to-side traffic patterns within the server itself as VMs communicate with each other
3. Blended I/O speed requirements of multiple 10Gb/s NICs.

Vyatta has been solving problems 1 and 2 with our virtual machine since 2010, with production customers all over the world. But add in problem 3… and enter Vyatta vPlane.

The increased VM density and resulting multi-tenancy are driving a need for dramatically more scalable software-based networking. With vPlane, Vyatta deployments will easily scale to multiple 10Gb/s line rate speeds for traffic at Layer 3 and above.

Large organizations need to adapt networks to the increasing pace of virtualization deployments. They simply cannot walk away from the network and security controls they’ve relied on for years and accept a simple flat network — it’s a blatant violation of a wide range of compliance issues and an unmanageable scenario for the CIO and team.

The traffic explosion is on the immediate horizon. Intel’s Sandy Bridge servers are now shipping: 24 very fast cores and 10Gb/s NICs. The virtualization team will not let this go unutilized.

It’s time for Vyatta vPlane.

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Software-Networking-Palooza Mythical, Magical SDN

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