Using Virtual Appliances to deliver L2-L7 services is a great way to bring agility and scale to networks. These services are chained to offer a range of network services from very simple to extremely complex. Cisco provides service chaining on the data plane via vPath . Anuta nCloudX offers service chaining on the management plane via complete virtual appliance life cycle management that compliments vPath.
Why is Network Services Orchestration (NSO) a must have?
One of the key benefits for having virtual appliances is “agility”. However, without an orchestration solution, someone has to manually instantiate and configure the virtual appliances. The process is manual not just while provisioning a network service, but also at the time of de-provisioning a network service. In such cases, for customers to achieve true agility, they need NSO.
The other key point to consider is that customers who already bought physical appliances like Cisco’s ASA want to continue to leverage them as part of their network services. Since vPath is only for virtual devices, end-to-end (L2-L7) service chaining would not be possible without a NSO solution that is capable of providing service chaining for hybrid topologies (combinations of physical and virtual devices).
How can Anuta Networks help?
This is exactly where Anuta’s nCloudX solution would come very handy for both Cloud Service Providers and for Enterprises. Enterprises that are planning to offer private cloud services or cloud service providers who are offering cloud based services can now truly offer “Network-As-A-Service” by leveraging Anuta Networks nCloudX along with virtual appliances and the service-chaining capabilities of vPath on Cisco Nexus 1000V. Even in instances where vPath is not available, nCloudX can also create L2-L7 service chains. For example, VMWare’s DVS does not support vPath but nCloudX can create a service chain.
The diagram below shows one tenant network orchestrated by nCloudX on a Cisco UCS (or equivalent hardware) by using only virtual services. Likewise, multiple tenant networks can be orchestrated by nCloudX as long as the underlying hardware has enough resources. nCloudX has the ability to provision as well as de-provision network services. In addition, it offers comprehensive network service management as well.
As we described earlier, nCloudX can create service chains for hybrid topologies where some of the devices are physical and some are virtual. As the example below shows, nCloudX can create a service chain where the firewall is a physical firewall yet the load balancer is a virtual device. Many other combinations of orchestration are also possible.
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– Nat Chidambaram, September 10th, 2013.