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Understanding VMware-Contrail Networking Fabric Integration

 

Contrail Networking Release 1910 supports integrating VMware with Contrail Networking fabric. A dedicated Contrail vCenter Fabric Manager (CVFM) plugin is deployed for this integration. This plugin connects various ESXi hosts and helps manage VMware underlay networks. The CVFM plugin is installed when you install the Contrail Command user interface (UI). After the plugin is installed, the plugin runs as a service in a container on the control node. You can enable this plugin when you provision the Contrail Command UI. However, if you do not enable this plugin during provisioning, you can enable the plugin from the Infrastructure>Cluster page of the Contrail Command UI.

In earlier releases, VMware provides a standard vCenter solution called vSphere ESX Agent Manager (EAM) to deploy, monitor, and manage ContrailVMs on ESXi hosts. Enterprise customers generally have a large number of VMware ESXi hypervisors and use EAM to manage tasks on virtualized platforms. Customers also use other VMware features such as creating Distributed Virtual Switches (DVS), creating Distributed Port Groups (DPG) on DVS, adding virtual machines on port groups, removing virtual machines from port groups, and moving virtual machines between port groups and hosts. However, EAM lacks the ability to automate the data center infrastructure.

With Contrail Networking Release 1910, the CVFM plugin helps synchronize the configuration of VMware Distributed Port Groups (DPG) with the configuration on TOR (leaf) switches. After the CVFM plugin is deployed, Contrail Networking will act an automation tool that extends the management of ESXi hosts through VMware vCenter, to the data center infrastructure. For more information, see the Design Overview section of this topic.

Benefits of CVFM Plugin

The following are the benefits of CVFM plugin:

  • Helps in integrating VMware with Contrail Networking fabric

  • Synchronizes the configuration of VMware Distributed Port Groups (DPG) with the configuration on TOR (leaf) switches

  • Enables Contrail Networking to act as an automation tool that extends the management of ESXi hosts through VMware vCenter, to the data center infrastructure

  • Detects and communicates changes in the vCenter environment to the Contrail Device Manager

CVFM Design Overview

Figure 1 depicts the CVFM plugin installed on the Contrail Networking control node. The CVFM plugin detects changes in the vCenter environment and pushes the new configurations to the Contrail Device Manager. The Contrail Device Manager then pushes these configurations to fabric devices such as QFX series switches.

Figure 1: Integrating VMware with Contrail Networking Fabric
Integrating VMware with Contrail
Networking Fabric

The leaf and spine switches (QFX series) are connected to virtual machines in the ESXi host environment. VLANs are configured on the DPG of these QFX series switches. The CVFM plugin automatically adds and removes configurations of the VLANs. For more information on deploying the CVFM plugin, see Deploying Contrail vCenter Fabric Manager Plugin.

Getting Started with CVFM Plugin

The CVFM plugin is installed when you install the Contrail Command UI.

  1. You can then enable the CVFM plugin while provisioning Contrail Command.

    For more information, see the Deploying CVFM Plugin while Provisioning Contrail Command section of the Deploying Contrail vCenter Fabric Manager Plugin topic.

  2. You can also enable the plugin after provisioning Contrail Command.

    For more information, see the Deploying CVFM Plugin after Provisioning Contrail Command section of the Deploying Contrail vCenter Fabric Manager Plugin topic.

  3. After you have enabled the plugin, you can update vCenter credentials or override configuration information from Contrail Command.

    For more information, see Updating vCenter Credentials on Contrail Command.

  4. After you have enabled the plugin, you must run the ESXi discovery process from Contrail Command. For more information, see Fabric Discovery and ESXi Discovery by Using Contrail Command.

  5. You can also add DPG. For more information, see Adding Distributed Port Groups.

Limitations of the CVFM Plugin

The following are the limitations of the CVFM plugin.

  • Supports DPG with standard VLAN. It does not support trunk (virtual machine to the DVS)/private VLAN.

  • Supports network devices that are supported by Contrail Device Manager.

Release History Table
Release
Description
Contrail Networking Release 1910 supports integrating VMware with Contrail Networking fabric. A dedicated Contrail vCenter Fabric Manager (CVFM) plugin is deployed for this integration.