#SDN #vmworld F5 Solutions Combine with VMware VXLAN to Support Software Defined Networking

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As efforts around SDN (Software-Defined Networking) continue to explode faster than the price of gas it has begun to diverge into several different focal points. Each area of focus tends to zero in on a narrowly defined set of problems that are in need of being solved.

One of those focal points is on the layer 2 domain, where limitations both physical and logical constrain mobility of virtual machines across the network. In an increasingly network-agnostic approach to resource provisioning the limitations imposed by traditional logical networking standards can be a serious impediment to realizing the benefits of a truly elastic, cloud-computing based architectural model.

To address the specific issues related to VLAN limitations and topological constraints on rapid provisioning processes, several competing standards have been proposed. The two most recognizable are certainly VXLAN (primarily driven by VMware) and NVGRE (primarily driven by Microsoft).

Organizations are pursuing increasingly dynamic IT deployment models with software defined data centers (SDDC) becoming top of mind as the end-goal. As a strategic point of control in the data center, F5's approach is to seamlessly interoperate with a wide variety of network topologies including traditional VLANs and emerging SDN-related frameworks such as VXLAN and NVGRE.

vxlan-gateway-3Such standards-efforts are focused on decoupling virtual machines from the underlying network as a way to enable more flexible, scalable and manageable pools of resources across the entire data center. The applications residing in those resource pools, however, must still be delivered. End-users and IT alike expect the same performance, reliability, and security for those applications regardless of where they might be deployed across the data center.

That means ADN must be able to seamlessly transition between both traditional and emerging virtual networking technology so as to consistently deliver applications without compromising on performance or security. By supporting emerging standards in the ADC, customers can create isolated broadcast domains across the data center, enabling dynamic logical networks to span physical boundaries. 

F5 recently announced its support for NVGRE with our Microsoft Network Virtualization Gateway and today we're announcing that we will also support VXLAN by adding VXLAN virtual tunneling endpoint (vTEP) capabilities to BIG-IP. BIG-IP natively supports VXLAN today, but the addition of vTEP capabilities mean BIG-IP can act as a gateway, bridging VXLAN and non-VXLAN networks with equal alacrity.

That means the ability to use either physical or virtual BIG-IP form factor to leverage all F5's ADN services such as security, acceleration, and optimization across both VXLAN and traditional networks.

New support means organizations can: 

  • Simplify the Expansion of Virtual Networks

With BIG-IP solutions as the bridge, organizations will be able to extend their existing networks from using VLAN to using VXLAN-based topologies. This enables a transitory approach to migration of resources and systems that avoids the disruption otherwise required by technical requirements of VXLAN.

  • Apply Services across Heterogeneous Networks for Optimized Performance

F5’s BIG-IP platform can serve as a networking gateway for all ADN services, making them available to application workloads irrespective of the underlying network topology. Networks comprised of multiple network technologies will find a unified gateway approach to providing services results in more predictable results for application delivery.

  • Improve Application Mobility and Business Continuity

Because VXLAN-based networks can provide functional isolation from one another, virtual machines do not need to change IP addresses while migrating between different data centers or clouds. Eliminating this requirement is a boon for enterprise-class IP-dependent applications that were previously restricted in mobility between environments.

You can learn more about BIG-IP's support for VXLAN at #VMworld Europe this week at booth G100.