Building network automation solutions

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Open vSwitch Database Management Protocol (OVSDB) 101

Open vSwitch Database Management Protocol (OVSDB, RFC 7047) is often mentioned together with other semi-magic SDN tools that will bring everlasting peace to the chaotic world of networking. In reality, it’s just a database access/update protocol (think SQL with JSON encoding) with an interesting twist: a client can request notifications about table or row updates, replacing periodic database polling with a pub-sub solution.

The real power of OVSDB-based solution are the database schemas, like the hardware VTEP database schema which allows an overlay network controller (like VMware NSX or Nuage VSC) to install forwarding entries in a VXLAN hardware gateway and read the list of external (physical) MAC addresses from the VXLAN gateway.

I covered the details of OVSDB and VTEP schema in the VXLAN Technical Deep Dive webinar; to get you started, watch the Using OVSDB in VXLAN-Based Networks video from that webinar.

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