The Virtualization Room

Aug 30 2010   7:16PM GMT

Distributed Virtual Network: The future of VMware networking

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

SAN FRANCISCO — VMware is working on a new platform designed to improve network virtualization.

We got a glimpse of the company’s long-term strategy at this morning’s VMworld 2010 session called “Future Direction of Networking Virtualization.” The Distributed Virtual Network vision, as it’s called, aims at many of the networking problems that virtualization admins face, such as IP address assignment for newly created VMs.

“The line between servers and networking becomes very blurry,” said session speaker Howie Xu, VMware’s research and development director. “There’s no more black and white.”

The cornerstone of the Distributed Virtual Network vision is what Xu called the vChassis, which he described as a “workload-centric” platform that would use plug-ins to perform specific networking functions. “Workload-centric” means the vChassis will provide specific settings and resources to a VM at the moment it’s created and follow that VM wherever it goes. Examples of the plug-ins would include a Layer 2 Switch Line Card and an Intrusion Detection Service Line Card, Xu said.

Xu said at several times throughout the session that VMware had no specific product roadmap or announcement, but it’s clear the company sees networking as a major virtualization challenge and the Distributed Virtual Network and vChassis as the solution. Xu spoke about specific technical details of vChassis, like that it requires an agent on the VM to be able to deploy firewalls, for example, on demand.

Analyst Stuart Miniman, principal research contributor at Wikibon, said the Distributed Virtual Network vision ties into the strategy of making customers more reliant on VMware. By making infrastructure services more “intelligent” and “workload-centric,” VMware can differentiate itself from hardware vendors, Miniman said.

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