Open Source OVN to Offer Solid Virtual Networking For OpenStack


Open Virtual Networking (OVN) is a new open source project that brings virtual networking to the Open vSwitch user community and aims to develop a single, standard, vendor-neutral protocol for the virtualization of network switching functions. In their upcoming talk at LinuxCon North America in Toronto this month, Kyle Mestery of IBM and Justin Pettit of VMware will cover the current status of the OVN project, including the first software release planned for this fall. Here, Mestery and Pettit discuss the project and its goals and give us a preview of their talk, “OVN: Scalable Virtual Networking for Open vSwitch.” Tell us briefly about the OVN project. What are its main goals and what are the problems the project aims to address?

Kyle Mestery: OVN is a project to build a virtual networking solution for Open vSwitch (OVS). The project was started in 2015 and is being developed in the OVS repository by a large group of contributors, including developers from VMware, Red Hat, IBM, and eBay.

The project can integrate with platforms such as OpenStack and Kubernetes to provide a complete and scalable virtual networking solution. OVN is built around both a northbound and southbound database. The NB DB stores logical state of the system, while the SB DB stores information around logical flows and all of the chassis in the system. How did you become involved in this project?

Kyle: Justin is one of the original members of the OVS team. I have been involved with OVS since 2012. We both wanted to provide a solid virtual networking solution for projects such as OpenStack, and we figured the best way to do this was to work on a new virtual networking solution we could develop with the rest of the OVS team. What can you tell us about the project’s upcoming software release? What are important features and functionality?

Kyle: The first release of OVN will be this fall. It will include a complete solution to provide virtual networking, including supporting logical L3 routers and gateways, NAT, and floating IPs. It will provide an active/passive HA model for both the NB and SB DBs in the system as well. In addition, the integration with OpenStack Neutron will release this fall around the same time as the Newton release of OpenStack. What interesting or innovative trends are you seeing around NFV?

Kyle: NFV is a hot topic in recent years. One very interesting trend is around service function chaining, or SFC. SFC attempts to provide a chain of ports for packets to go through, allowing operators to provision different appliances to handle modifying and inspecting packets along the chain. OVN is working to integrate SFC support, and it’s likely to land in the second release at this point. Why is open source important to this industry?

Kyle: Open source provides the ability for disparate groups to work together to solve problems in a targeted manner.  For example, OVN has traditional software development houses and operators building the software and deciding the requirements for the release together. This means we understand how the system is likely to be deployed and get a lot of functional testing before the release is even considered stable.

Kyle Mestery
Kyle Mestery is a Distinguished Engineer and Director of Open Source Networking at IBM where he leads a team of upstream engineers. He is a member of the OpenStack Technical Committee and was the Neutron PTL for Juno, Kilo, and Liberty. He is a regular speaker at open source conferences and the founder of the Minnesota OpenStack Meetup. Kyle lives with his wife and family in Minnesota. You can find him on Twitter as @mestery.



Justin Pettit
Justin Pettit is a software developer at VMware. Justin joined VMware through the acquisition of Nicira, where he was a founding employee. He was one of the original authors of the OpenFlow Standard, working on both the specification and reference implementation. He is one of the lead developers of Open vSwitch and OVN, and involved in the development of VMware’s networking products. Prior to Nicira, Justin worked primarily on network security issues.


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