VMworld 2014: Future Direction of NSX

Session NET1674

Network virtualization – You decouple the network from the underlying hardware. In software you replicate all of the network functionality (faithful reproduction).

NSX Platform – Support multiple hypervisors (vSphere, KVM, XenServer). To get out of the network you have the NSX Edge, which terminates traffic.

Connecting the physical to the virtual

  • Supports third-party hardware. Use physical termination for super high throughput, or services that aren’t yet virtualized. Controller talks to the physical controller via the OVSDB protocol. Open-vSwitch database protocol.
  • Uses the IP underlay network (no multicast required)
  • Supports VXLAN tunnels to/from the virtual networks to the physical controller

Distributed Logical Rotuing (P-V)

  • NSX is now moving up the protocol stack to L3
  • Fully distributed implementation of routing among the vSwitch and the ToR switch, depending on packet flow
  • Goes through a demo of how a packet routes from a VM to a physical server

VTEP Futures

  • Bi-directional Forwarding Detection ┬áhealth monitoring
  • ACL Configuration on physical ports
  • QoS – DSCP setting
  • Higher layer services (e.g. Application Delivery Controllers)

Handling Elephant Flows

  • High bandwidth and long lived flow that can cause congestion on the network
  • Detect elephants (count packets per second)
  • Do something with them: Mark with DSCP, put them in a separate queue, route along their own path, convert to mice
  • Shows a graph where without elephant detection packet latency is 8-9ms for large flow, and 3ms for small flow. With ED on, latency for the mice drops to sub-ms while latency for elephant remains the same.


  • Networking people love to argue about this
  • Tunnels matter for interop, extensibility, performance, visibility
  • Enter Geneve (Generic Network Virtualization Encapsulation): VMware, Microsoft, Red Hat and Intel are onboard with it
  • It will take longer for third party hardware to support Geneve
  • Goal of Geneve is that we don’t need another encap protocol for a long, long time
  • We mix and match STT & VXLAN today

Service Chaining

  • Creating a graph of services (.e.g load balance, firewall, WAN optimize, etc.)
  • Network virtualization provides a natural way to do this in an automated manner
  • Often need to pass metadata along the chain – Geneve provides a reasonable option
  • Can selectively redirect packets to a third party processor like a physical Palo Alto firewall or virtual firewall

Multi-site network virtualization

  • We support some multi-site scenarios today: e.g. stretched metro cluster
  • Snapshot, clone, and restore network changes across locations: Great for DR too
  • Shows a slide of a spectrum of options from single DC federation, then Metro area DCs, then geographically dispersed DCs
  • Shows a connection from NSX edge to a MPLS core
  • Multi-site using MP-BGP – extends a virtual network across the WAN




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