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Since the announcement of VXLAN last summer, there has been interest in the Open Source community for an open implementation of this. With the increasing number of  Open Source cloud and virtualization technologies out there, where does VXLAN fit into this picture? I think one logical place for it to exist is inside OpenStack Quantum. As a service providing network connectivity between interface devices, this is a logical place for it to exist, especially as it pertains to disparite plugins.

But before I explain how VXLAN could plug into Quantum, some background may be good. Omar Sultan posted a great 3 part blog series on VXLAN (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). Reading this will give you a good, relevant background on VXLAN.

An Open Source implementation of VXLAN would require 2 pieces: A data path piece, to implement the protocol and framing format. And a control path piece, to handle orchestration of segment IDs and multicast addresses. For the data path piece, patches were posted to the Open vSwitch mailing list in October 2011, but so far have not been merged into either the Open vSwitch project’s git tree, nor the upstream Open vSwitch kernel code in the Linux tree. Once these patches make it into a public git repository, the data path portion of the equation is complete.

But what about the control path piece? One logical landing spot would be in OpenStack Quantum. Looking at version 1.0 of the Quantum API guide, we can begin to see how to add VXLAN support into Quantum. Quantum networks are created agnostic of their underlying segmentation technology. Currently, VLANs are used. Adding in VXLAN support would be as simple as adding in a type to “Create Network” call. Specifying VXLAN would allow Quantum to provision a Segment ID, and allocate a block of multicast addresses to use. Multiple hosts could still be added to multiple networks with a type of VXLAN. Quantum would work great for handling these types of tasks.

The place where this really begins to shine, however, is in the plugin architecture of Quantum. With Quantum handling the tasks of segment ID allocation, the plugins will have to handle the VXLAN protocol implementation for a network with type VXLAN. Vendors can now implement VXLAN in their plugins, and this buys end users the ability to have a heterogenous VXLAN environment out of the box.

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