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Understanding Cloud Networking


Cloud computing is a popular mode of computing in which large groups of remote servers are interconnected to enable centralized data storage, and online access to network resources and services. The primary focus of cloud computing is resource sharing. Cloud resources shared by multiple users and are also allocated dynamically on demand. For example, using cloud computing you can serve a specific application, say e-mail, during the Asia Pacific business hours and later allocate the same application to serve the North American business hours. This mode of networking can thus reduce the load on the servers, save electricity, rack space, expenses, and most importantly, reduce damage to the environment.

Cloud computing can be classified into public clouds, private clouds, and hybrids clouds; depending on the type and sensitivity of data that each cloud handles.

Public clouds provide data services over a network that is open for public use. Public cloud usage can be free or be on a pay-per-usage model.

Private clouds provide data services for a single organization. As the name implies, the data in a private cloud is accessible only to authorized users of an organization.

Hybrid clouds are a combination of private and public clouds. For example, your organization might opt for a hybrid cloud if you have business-critical data that needs to be on a private cloud while some of this data must be used by a business intelligence application that is hosted on a public cloud.

There are various computing components that work together to implement a cloud computing network. Networking is one of the important components that enable cloud computing. With the advent of server virtualization, virtual and physical networks work in tandem to provide best-in-class virtualization and cloud services. To leverage the benefits of cloud computing, data centers are increasingly using cloud computing. Cloud data center focuses on providing data center connectivity from various external networks to services located within a multitenant data center. A cloud data center typically has more challenging business requirements than a traditional data center, which services only a single entity. Multitenancy requires high security, scalability, and performance. You can discover, build, manage, and monitor your cloud data center from Network Director, using the Datacenter View. Network Director supports four types of cloud infrastructure providers—VMware vCenter, VMware vCenter with NSX, OpenStack, and OpenStack with NSX plug-in.

VMware vCenter servers provide centralised management for ESXi based virtual machines. These networks typically consist of distributed and standardized virtual switches that enables virtual networking between the virtual machines. You can also add VMware NSX to a vCenter based network to extend virtualization technologies across your physical data center network. VMware NSX uses VMware's Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) architecture that enables you to create and manage software-based virtual networks. You can use Network Director to discover, manage, visualize, and monitor VMware vCenter networks and VMware vCenter with NSX networks. To know more about the VMware vCenter and the VMware NSX, refer to the VMware documentation.

OpenStack is an open-source platform used for cloud computing. OpenStack deals with all the aspects of the cloud including computing, storage, networking, and security. You can use the networking component of OpenStack to manage networks and thereby ensure that the network never becomes a bottleneck in a cloud deployment. You can create your own networks and control traffic flow, using OpenStack.

If OpenStack is your infrastructure provider, you can use the networking capabilities of OpenStack or can have another application to do this. One approach is to use VMware NSX as the networking provider for OpenStack. VMware NSX is a network virtualization product from VMware. NSX creates an abstraction layer consisting of VXLANs over your physical network, thereby virtualizing the entire physical network. When VMware NSX is used as the networking provider, tasks such as creating the network, attaching the network, creating the router, and so on, that OpenStack initiates, are redirected to VMware NSX. VMware NSX creates equivalent logical entities that can then be managed from Network Director. NSX does this without making modifications to the underlying physical network.

Network Director unifies the physical and virtual networks, that use one of the above cloud service providers, to provide network operators with a comprehensive view of the complete end-to-end network infrastructure.

You can use the Datacenter View in Network Director to view and manage data centers that are deployed by using cloud infrastructure, bare metal server (BMS), or both.