Extending Networking Into the Virtualization Layer

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Executive Summary

The move to virtualization has created a new network access layer residing on hosts that connects the various VMs. Virtualized deployment environments impose requirements on networking for which traditional models are not well suited. They also provide advantages to the networking layer (such as software flexibility and well-defined end host events) that are not present in physical networks. To date, this new virtualization network layer has been largely built around standard Ethernet switching, but this technology neither satisfies these new requirements nor leverages the available advantages. The paper presents Open vSwitch, a network switch specifically built for virtual environments. Open vSwitch differs from traditional approaches in that it exports an external interface for fine-grained control of configuration state and forwarding behavior.

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