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Brocade Shipped VXLAN VTEP with NSX Controller Support

A comment by Brook Reams on my recent blog post was a fantastic surprise: Brocade is the first vendor that actually shipped a VXLAN VTEP controlled by a VMware NSX controller. It’s amazing to see how Brocade leapfrogged everyone else (they also added tons of other new functionality in NOS releases 4.0 and 4.1).

2014-04-23T06:33Z: updated the blog post to mention Arista's IP MC VTEP and Nuage VSG 7850

The really interesting part

Every other shipping hardware VXLAN gateway (Arista and F5) that integrates with vSphere environment implements multicast-based VXLAN.

Brocade decided to skip the multicast VXLAN support and implemented only VMware NSX gateway functionality. Obviously they don’t believe in viability of Cisco’s Nexus 1000V (or VMware’s vCNS).

Anyone else?

  • Arista has a shipping L2 VTEP that uses IP multicast. They might have OVSDB agent (which is needed to work with the NSX controller), but it’s not yet documented in public EOS documentation.
  • Nuage VSG 7850 is also shipping, but does not work with either multicast-based VXLAN or NSX controller. It uses MP-BGP to integrate with other controllers within the Nuage's Virtual Services Platform (VSP).
  • Cisco is going its own way with ACI.
  • Dell seems stuck – the Z9000 documentation published on their web is almost a year old, everything else is older.
  • HP claims hardware VXLAN support on FlexFabric 5930AF switches (which probably means “we’re using Trident-2 chipset”); haven’t found anything VXLAN-related in their manuals.
  • Juniper is promising VXLAN on QFX5100 and MX-series routers; it looks like they haven’t shipped yet.

More information

The Data Center Fabrics update session in May 2014 will cover new data center switches and software functionality introduced by Arista, Brocade, Cisco, Juniper, and maybe one or two other vendors in the last 12 months.

Do I have to mention that you get immediate access to all existing materials and videos of the Data Center Fabrics webinar when you register for the update session?

12 comments:

  1. Hi Ivan,

    "It’s amazing to see how Brocade leapfrogged everyone else (they also added tons of other new functionality in NOS releases 4.0 and 4.1)."

    Well, you're right: It's amazing to see what features offered by Brocade and if you read all the papers about Brocade VCS fabric everything looks awesome! But I'm running a VCS logical chassis at work and in my opinion, it's not as good as everything you can read about it.

    I had lot's issues, some are still unsolved, and running the fabric is no fun. NETCONF is unusable and if you're fabric is large even some CLI tasks are very slow. Plug&play deployment of new switches as described by Brocade is a lie and if you running VDX6710, 6720 or 6730 switches throw them away. We have to replace 17 only 5-months old VDX6710 switches b/c they disable the support of Virtual Fabrics and VXLAN VTEP in our fabric. NOS 5 may be the first release that won't run on these switches, b/c they don't have enough memory!!! For RJ45-based 100/1000 MBits connection we need to buy the "new" 6740T-1G switch, which only offers four 40Gig optical uplinks. You need to buy expensive QSFP+ modules and MPO splitter cable. Upgrading from NOS 4.0.0b to 4.1.0 was fun, too. Every switch with the newer NOS version wasn't centrally manageable until every switch in the fabric was upgraded to 4.1.0. But this includes a disruptive reboot. BTW. rebooting a VDX switch takes up to 10 mins. ;) In-Band Management doesn't support the VCS virtual ip. So you have to configure OOB, but be careful, don't transport theses packets thru the fabric, it leads to unexpected behavior. Last but not least configuring L3-features is similar to having single, standalone switches.

    Do you need more feedback about the GREAT Brocade VDX series? ;))))

    Kind regards.
    Tschokko

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    Replies
    1. Guten Tag Tschokko

      Thank you for sharing your feedback. Brocade finds customer feedback invaluable. The issues that you have described are understood and are being addressed.

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    2. You can't fix my issues with Brocade. Alle cases closed, b/c worked as designed. ;) Waiting 20 mins. for a stupid NETCONF get-config call is absurd. Or try to configure an interface range in VCS logical chassis with 20 switches. Auto-completion of commands takes several seconds, it feels like running into a timeout. Sometimes I'm thinking that Brocade develops VDX switches, but don't use them self.

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  2. I should mention, that Brocade releases nearly every month a new NOS version, which add a features they promised several months before. The firmware has no chance to get mature and stable. My favourit example is a NETCONF issue that was fixed in a NOS 4.0.x release and refixed some minor releases later again, without success. ;) In Germany I would describe the development of NOS with the words: "Mit heißer Nadel gestrickt". This is hot code with perhaps only basic testing and quality assurance. Be careful.

    Kind regards.
    Tschokko

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing your real life story with VDX product line.

      Delete
  3. For clarity this is OVSDB VXLAN support for NSX-MH rather than for NSX-V. I think it would be helpful to get in the habit of distinguishing the two VMware products rather than just writing 'NSX'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Does NSX-V not use OVSDB to control VTEPs? Why?

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    2. It was my understanding that NSX-MH uses OpenFlow and does not support third-party HW VTEPs, whereas NSX-V uses whatever proprietary protocol internally and OVSDB to communicate with HW VTEPs. Will investigate.

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  4. A small typo: HP claims hardware support for VXLAN means they have the right chipset (Trident 2 not Trident+), but no software enabling it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ivan,

    Dell supports VXLAN L2 Gateway on the S6000, not Z9000.
    Please see
    http://www.vmware.com/products/nsx/resources
    http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/products/nsx/vmw-nsx-dell-systems.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ivan,

    This demonstration of configuring a VCS Fabric with redundant VTEP with EMC NCS maybe of some interest to you.
    http://www.brocade.com/partnerships/technology-alliance-partners/partner-details/vmware/index.page#overlay_link

    Best.
    Brook Reams

    ReplyDelete