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Why You’ll Want LISP Routing – Part 2

So, lets dig into LISP Routing a little more.  If you have not done so, I would recommend you read my first post, since I am not going to review the concepts here. In this post, I am going to break things down into three steps: 1) how packets are forwarded (i.e. the data plane operation), 2) how mapping information is propagated (i.e. control plane operation), and 3) how we internetwork with non-LISP locations.

For starters, lets head into the weeds and take a look at the LISP header format.  In the last post, I mentioned there is some flexibility in how handles IP addressing.  The two examples below show a couple of scenarios: pure IPv4 and a IPv4/IPv6 hybrid:


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Why You’ll Want LISP Routing – Part 1

I am going to spend the next couple of posts digging through one of the more interesting new technologies we are working on: a standard called Locator/ID Separation Protocol (or LISP).   Why should you care—well if you are looking at deploying clouds, supporting mobility of end-points or VMs or are managing a routing architecture or any meaningful size or complexity, I think it will be worth your while to check out LISP.

LISP is a new approach to routing that is designed to address the changes in how we are using our networks.  Lets explore LISP through the lens of one of the biggest challenges facing network architects today: properly tackling mobility, whether its mobile endpoints like smartphones, tablets or squirrels or the mobile workloads that are at the heart of server virtualization and cloud computing.  While mobility this is probably the “sexiest” use case right now, there are a number of other use cases, like routing architecture scalability and IPv6 migration, which, while less alluring to all but the biggest networking nerds, are no less important.

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Overlays, Underlays and the New World Order

The networking industry has recently developed a renewed interest in virtual overlays, often wrapped in an “SDN as the controller” context. Amidst the promise, the hope and the hype, the following questions present themselves:

  • What exactly is an overlay?
  • What distinguishes an overlay from a VPN?
  • How decoupled can an overlay be from the underlay network and what are the tradeoffs?
  • What are the advantages of overlays and will they emerge as the new networking world order? Read More »

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A Unified L2/L3 IP Based Overlay for Data Centres: another use-case for The Location Identity Separation Protocol

It is amazing how the data centre world has changed in the last few years.  A Data Centre used to be a collection of network elements to interconnect static servers (and their associated storage), with traffic patterns that were highly predictable and mostly north-south.  Cloud and virtualization have changed all of this: a data centre is now a collection of compute and storage resources which can be securely sliced up into virtual networks and placed anywhere according to real time needs, interconnected by a fabric.  The virtualization of servers, network services such as firewalls and load balancers, and even network devices such as switches and routers, has created a very dynamic landscape in terms of how fast you could configure a virtual network, in a way where location shouldn’t really matter, and where compute and storage resources can be added on the fly, based on demand.  Multi-tenant Data Centres, such as the one to deploy Virtual Private Clouds, need to support 10000’s of these virtual networks.  And every one of these virtual networks needs a lot of different service instances to stitch together the virtual network across virtual servers, virtual switches, virtual firewalls, virtual load-balancers, and virtual routers.  Traffic patterns have shifted to East-West, because of the new applications which spread processing across many hosts, and because of the ‘location freedom’ that virtualization allows.  Network infrastructure needs to be cost-effective to handle all this traffic, while the increased lookup-table size caused by the any to any traffic patterns often led to increased cost.  Read More »

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VMware’s SDN Strategy is No Threat to Cisco, says Mike Fratto

For those of you wondering about the impact to Cisco of Software Defined Networking and the combined SDN strategy of VMware and Nicira, I point you to a very rational and well-articulated article by Mike Fratto of Network Computing, that basically says Cisco doesn’t have much to worry about. (Enterprise Strategy Group had already said something similar, by the way).

Specifically, Fratto says:

Mike FrattoThe lack of programmability in existing networking hardware is certainly a problem, but VMware’s acquisition of Nicira does not mean that Cisco and its ilk will be marginalized… It does mean the role and management of the physical network is changing, and I think Cisco is further ahead than most of its competitors in creating a vision for the next phase of networking.

I couldn’t agree more. Since Cisco live! when we announced our Cisco ONE strategy for network programmability as well as the advances in our Nexus 1000V portfolio for virtual network overlays, I have been posting on many of the same points.

My take here was that the VMware-Nicira acquisition did not portend a strategic break with Cisco, and while there are some obvious overlaps in our product lines, there are still a number of areas of collaboration, cooperation and interoperability. The virtual network infrastructure is just one piece of a larger software stack and the differentiation will likely be decided in the orchestration, management and applications built on top of the newly programmable infrastructures sometime down the road. Read More »

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