As the OpenStack community releases “Essex,” momentum is clearly building for the overall software framework. Of note, the Quantum (networking) module in Essex takes the networking capabilities to a new level of scale, security, and reliability. Nicira customer Rackspace recently discussed its new enterprise OpenStack cloud that is rapidly moving toward production. Today we welcome another new customer, DreamHost, to the party.
Quantum is designed as a plug-in that allows OpenStack to create “network-as-a-service” between the interface devices managed by OpenStack services. Recently the OpenStack community upgraded Quantum to a core project. This is a “BFD.”
Now when people think about cloud management, they are thinking about compute, storage and networking.
Quantum + Nicira NVP: Simple, Efficient and Powerful
A design point for Quantum is its ability to support both virtual network resources (e.g., Nicira NVP) and physical network elements. In Niciranomics, you multiply the benefits of OpenStack with the capabilities of network virtualization and you get service innovation and velocity. Network virtualization creates an abstraction layer between the complexity of the traditional physical network and the software layer that creates virtual networks and services. In plain English: developers do not have to deal with networking gorp (yes, gorp is a technical term) when the NVP plug-in connects to Quantum. When OpenStack places a function call down to the network through Quantum to the Nicira NVP plug-in, the network never has to be touched or changed. Think rack once/wire once/use a million times, the physical network doesn’t change.
In physics, a quantum is the smallest physical quantity that can exist independently (especially as described as a quantity of electromagnetic radiation). The beauty of the Nicira plug-in to Quantum is that a simple interface becomes the building block for a sophisticated virtual network topology. The energy required to make changes to the virtual network is very, very small – inverse to the richness of capabilities it enables.
What this does from a network perspective is dramatically increase the speed that applications are provisioned and enhances the flexibility of the network by using OpenStack. This leverages a new network virtualization paradigm in which network services are distributed and applied in a thin software layer between the server and the physical network: firewall rules, load balancer, etc., as a service…not just connectivity as a service. OpenStack is changing the operational model and economics of the cloud; Nicira, with its leadership in the Quantum plug-in and our NVP product are at the forefront of this industry transformation.
It’s Not Just the Tools, It’s The Team
We are excited about OpenStack for a several reasons. We love the community and the innovation. But the big kahuna, the real reason we are in OpenStack is because many of our key customers are using OpenStack to stand up some of the biggest clouds out there. We could not be happier to be working with these market leaders. In fact, it reminds me of a great scene at the end of the move Ghostbusters, where, after epically vanquishing the villain, Winston Zeddemore states: “We have the tools, and we have the talent.” OpenStack + Nicira has the tools and the talent.
OpenStack production experience with market leaders standing up the largest and richest enterprise networking capabilities, operating at cloud scale
Completely decoupled from and independent of network hardware
Deployment flexibility: overlay and bridged networks
Broad hypervisor support: Xen, Xen Server KVM, VMware, HyperV, Debian,
Data plane performance:
- Optimized tunnel/overlay performance through STT
- No head-end replication on performance (more CPU cycles for VM)
Advanced networking feature sets that fully and faithfully reproduce enterprise networking
Strong focus on operational capabilities include configuration, logging and trouble shooting
Most significant in-house expertise: the deepest networking bench who have been with OpenStack and Quantum since the beginning
While we stand up many virtual networks across a range of cloud management systems, the energy around OpenStack, and the talent, innovation and community are magnetic. And the fun part, the really fun part, is Nicira makes it simple.