Tough Choices No More, at Least for SDN

 
Cloud Networking, Software Defined Networking, VTEP, VXLAN, , , , , , , , , , ,

It is great to have choices, but making decisions is hard, especially when none of the choices seems perfect; they all have their pros and cons. As the 2016 presidential election time draws near, many Americans are reminded of tough decision making that comes as part of the political freedom and democracy. And across the pond, the Brits are already living the aftermath of their Brexit decision.

Politics aside, when it comes to deploying overlay SDN (Software Defined Networking) solutions, the existing choices are not satisfactory, forcing network and cloud architects to choose between flexibility/programmability or performance/efficiency. As I described in the “Software Defined Networking, Done Right” series of blogs, there are two common ways to deploy VTEP: software VTEP in virtual switches, normally running in server hypervisors; or hardware VTEP in Top of Rack (ToR) switches, and there are tradeoffs between these two approaches. Software VTEP is flexible and conceptually simple, but can impact performance as well as raise CPU overhead on edge devices due to the packet processing associated with the relatively new tunneling protocols that not all server Network Interface Cards (NICs) can offload from CPU. This tradeoff can be even more pronounced when the applications themselves are virtualized network functions (VNFs) in Network Function Virtualization (NFV) deployment. Hardware VTEPs can often achieve higher performance but pose added complexity on the ToR switch since the ToR switch needs to be VM-aware, maintain a large forwarding table, and performance VM Mac address or VLAN to VXLAN translations.

CaptureBut what if you have an option to perform VTEP functionality on the host, but still enjoy the same great performance as what you could potentially get on a ToR? In the upcoming webinar between Nuage Networks and Mellanox Technologies on November 10th, 2016, we will show you our joint solution that can make the SDN deployment decision much simpler. After viewing our webinar, you will at least know how to cast your vote for the right SDN deployment model!

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