Fast Packet

Can Virtual Extensible LAN solve the VLAN problem?

Rivka Gewirtz Little

VLANs have proven to be the toughest engineering challenge in data center and cloud networks, but Cisco and VMware say they have an answer in the new Virtual Extensible LAN protocol.

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With VXLAN, engineers can create thousands more VLANs that can stretch across geographically dispersed data centers. In a traditional setting, the IEEE 802.1Q VLAN specification provides only 4,094 VLAN identifiers while a top-of-rack switch may be connected to more than 40 servers supporting multiple VMs. Using VXLAN, engineers can group VLANs together by application using a 24-bit identifier. In that case, as many as 16 million VNIs may be defined in any administrative domain, and each VNI may contain up to 4,094 VLANs.

But Fast Packet blogger, Ivan Pepelnjak says VXLAN poses its own set of problems. In his Fast Packet blog “VXLAN: Awesome or braindead?” Pepelnjak's says there is still no method for VXLAN encapsulation to communicate with physical devices, such as switches, load balancers and firewalls.

Read more of what Pepelnjak has to say about the Virtual Extensible LAN protocol.

Next up, everybody's got a virtualization networking answer, but are any of them right?


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