What would you say if I told you that one of the most visited websites on the Internet enabled IPv6 connectivity to their site in the course of an afternoon for zero dollars using existing Cisco hardware? How about if I told you that the site was Facebook? Most people would assume I was joking or exaggerating. However, by using LISP, Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert Donn Lee pulled off this seemingly impossible feat and then presented a paper at the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) about the experience. You can even watch the video here.
What is LISP?
Let’s start by understanding the problem that LISP solves. An IP address serves two distinct functions: It identifies the endpoint host, but also suggests the location because the high order bits identify the network on which the device is located. If you move a device from one subnet to another, the address has to change since the device location changes. The endpoint identification from the previous location gets lost when the device moves, unless some form of tunneling or mobility protocol is employed.
Cisco Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP) is routing architecture that provides new semantics for IP addressing. The current IP routing and addressing architecture uses a single numbering space, the IP address, to express two pieces of information:
The way the device attaches to the network
The LISP routing architecture design separates the device identity, or endpoint identifier (EID), from its location, or routing locator (RLOC), into two different numbering spaces. Splitting EID and RLOC functions yields several advantages.
Check out this video for a quick review of LISP.
Although LISP was designed to deal with the route scalability problem in the Internet, it turns out is has the capability to help with the transition to IP Version 6 (IPv6), the next-generation Internet protocol.
The transition to IPv6 is an immediate challenge facing Public Sector, and specifically Federal customers today due to Government mandates and impending IPv4 address exhaustion for consumers of Government services.
Because IPv6 is not backward compatible with IPv4, and because its deployment and operation are different from that of IPv4, development and implementation of an IPv6 transition strategy is imperative. Many techniques exist to ease the transition to IPv6, and the network-based IPv6 transition techniques can be divided generally into three categories: dual-stack IPv4 and IPv6, IPv6 tunneling, and IPv6 translation.
Each approach has its features, benefits, and limitations; they are not all equivalent in terms of cost, complexity, or capabilities. Most likely, a combination of these techniques will provide the best solution. The role that the Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP) being developed by Cisco and the IETF can play in IPv6 transition strategies is documented in this Whitepaper.
Incorporating LISP into an IPv6 transition strategy can simplify the initial rollout of IPv6 by taking advantage of the LISP mechanisms to encapsulate IPv6 host packets within IPv4 headers (or IPv4 host packets within IPv6 headers). For example, you can build IPv6 islands and connect them with existing IPv4 Internet connectivity.
LISP is a Cisco innovation that is being promoted as an open standard. Cisco participates in standards bodies such as the IETF LISP Working Group to develop the LISP architecture.
As I continue to ramp up my understanding of Cisco’s innovative datacenter technologies and joint solutions with our open ecosystem partners, I had opportunity to sit down with Jake Howering, Product Manager for Cisco’s Data Center Interconnect (DCI) solution.
DCI technologies are key to connecting data centers, and simplifying the mobility and scalability of physical and virtualized application workload to address various real world scenarios.
Jake’s one of the very sharp Product Managers I’ve met. Good news is that Jake has joined the blogosphere and will be actively involved is discussions around Cisco DCI solution. Welcome Jake!
Within 30 minutes of discussion, Jake and I touched upon the basic concepts of DCI and the innovative solutions we have brought to market jointly with partners like EMC, NetApp, and VMware. Here is the summary of our discussion around DCI and what it means to the customers: