For the third year in a row, I am happy to say we were honored with a Best of VMworld award. In 2008, we won an award for the Cisco Nexus 1000V, last year, we won an award for Cisco UCS and this year we won an award for the Cisco Overlay Transport Virtualization feature (or OTV to friends) running on the Cisco Nexus 7000.
As a technology that was obviously thought up by and named by the networking geeks in the company, why should virtualization admins care let alone bestow an award?
Well, my friends, the answer is workload mobility. As you probably know, for vMotion (and live migration in general) to work, you need L2 adjacency between the servers–basically a fancy way to saying the servers think they are on the same Ethernet network. OTV, a software feature of NX-OS, is designed to make the task of moving workloads between data centers faster and simpler. The first piece of magic that OTV performs is to create L2 adjacency between disparate data centers to simplify the task of vMotioning workloads between data centers for things like business continuance, follow-the-sun compute models, or importing/exporting workloads to/from a cloud service provider. The second piece of magic that OTV performs is that it doesn’t much care what kind of network you have in the middle. Now you still have to do your due diligence and make sure you have the proper transport characteristics (bandwidth, latency, etc) to support vMotion, but, beyond that, OTV will work with your L3 network. The final piece of magic is that OTV is smart enough to work on the fly–it will dynamically establish connectivity as needed. From the network admin perspective, this means you don’t have to manually configure and maintain all the possible connections that might be used. From the server admin perspective, it means after the network admin does some simple initial config (6 commands), you can vMotion between locations without having to go back to the network team to make changes–its kinda like the loosely coupled model we created with the Nexus 1000V.
So, what can you do with OTV? Well, here are some thoughts on business continuance from Cisco, VMware and NetApp and also from the VCE alliance.
For more details on OTV, head over to this page–definitely watch the video, it provides a good overview, and, to dig a bit deeper, check out the TechwiseTV link.