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Open vSwitch to gain network virtualization

Developers plan Open Virtual Network extension for L 2/3 abstractions

Developers of Open vSwitch, the open source networking component for hypervisors, are adding network virtualization capabilities to the code. According to this post in Network Heresy, the developers are working on the Open Virtual Network (OVN) project which is intended to bring native support for virtual network abstractions, such as virtual Layer 2 and Layer 3 overlays and security groups, to OVS.

The design goal of the OVN developers is to have a production quality implementation that can operate at significant scale, state the authors of the post, two of whom work at VMware. A third is CEO of DevOps start-up Socketplane, and the fourth is the chief technologist at Red Hat.

With OVN, the developers noted a need to make OVS “more effective” in OpenStack environments where it is the most popular virtual switch of choice. OVN is designed to augment the low-level switching capabilities of OVS with a lightweight control plane that provides native support for common Layer 2/3 virtual networking abstractions.

OVN will be designed to allow users to connect groups of VMs or containers into private Layer 2 and Layer 3 networks without the need to provision VLANs or other physical network resources. OVN will include logical switches and routers, security groups, and L2/L3/L4 ACLs, implemented on top of a tunnel-based -- VXLAN, NVGRE, Geneve, STT, IPsec -- overlay network.

The narrow focus of OVN “distinguishes OVN from general-purpose SDN controllers or platforms,” the post states.

OVN will support the same virtual machine environments as Open vSwitch, including KVM, Xen, and the emerging port to Hyper-V.  OVN developers say they will also work with the container community to ensure “quality native support” in terms of scale and responsiveness, the post states.

For physical-logical network integration, OVN will implement software gateways and support hardware gateways from vendors that implement the “vtep” – VXLAN Tunnel Endpoint -- schema that ships with OVS.

Other OVN goodies on tap might include an OpenStack plugin. OVN will provide OpenStack’s Neutron networking component with improved dataplane performance without the need to run OpenStack agents on hypervisors, the post states.

The Open vSwitch team will build and maintain OVN under the same open source license terms as Open vSwitch, and is open to contributions from all. Developers will evolve the design and implementation in the Open vSwitch mailing lists – such as ovs-dev -- using the same process used for Open vSwitch, the post states.

OVN will integrate with existing Open vSwitch components using established protocols such as OpenFlow and OVSDB with an OVN agent.

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