By Dean Snyder, Global Product Strategy, HP Networking
I took a closer look at two of the key market trends behind the rapid changes taking place on the edge of campus network In this related blog: Virtual service networks in a campus network: What are the key market drivers?
Trends around IT consumerization and the rapid growth of wireless ports at the campus edge are adding a level of administration complexity not seen before. These ascending trends are forcing CIOs and administrators to quickly develop strategies in response. Let’s examine HP Networking’s point of view on how businesses may want to approach these concerns.
Why HP’s FlexCampus VSN architecture for LAN edge?
It’s likely your initial reaction is why should I care about implementing virtual service network (VSN) architecture for my LAN-edge ports? HP’s VSN architecture is modular so deployment benefits can be obtained for a single campus, multiple campuses, data center or end-to-end across your entire network. If your campus LAN edge is experiencing one or more of the following BYOD concerns: rapid wireless growth, security breaches, challenges delivering consistent services, administrative time/costs spent managing the infrastructure is spiraling out of control. . . then you may want to set aside time to learn more about HP FlexCampus VSN architecture.
FlexCampus VSN technology innovations
HP FlexCampus VSN architecture embodies a number key technology innovations designed to free up network administration time, as a result more time can be spent on innovation initiatives. Let’s take a closer look:
- Virtual Service Network Administrator (VSNA) – This software module allows an administrator to manage their wired/wireless network infrastructure at a virtual abstraction level. With VSNA administration is performed on network services. E.g., VoIP service, Public Internet service, Backup service, etc. VSNA is capable of running as a standalone application or can be integrated into traditional device management for added value such as physical infrastructure troubleshooting, compliance reporting and accounting. VSNA feature highlights include the ability to define a service and connect a user, groups of users and/or groups of device types to one or more services. VSNA will monitor the health of your services, provide virtual to physical troubleshooting of a service and deliver compliance reports for a service. VSNA consists of North bound interfaces so the application can be driven by an IT management system such as an orchestration application. In addition VSNA’s Southbound interfaces facilitate
sintegration with network devices, traditional device management and HP’s FlexCampus Unified Controller. Figure 1 below illustrates VSNA’s ability to clients to a service.
Figure 1: VSNA Connecting Clients to Services
- VSN FlexCampus Unified Controller – Wireless controllers are widely used today in the industry. These controllers provided a uniform management plane for 100s to 1000s of APs. The controller itself virtualizes the wireless infrastructure so that many of the traditional device-specific management tasks such as device adoption, firmware updates, routing of traffic, configuration of devices and troubleshooting are either fully automated or federated. HP’s FlexCampus VSN architecture defines a FlexCampus Unified Controller. A firmware update to our current wireless controller will provide the enabling feature-set of the FlexCampus Unified Controller. The controller will employ the ability to adopt and manage both wired and wireless infrastructure into a VSN Controlled Domain. To the administrator and VSNA software this VSN Controlled Domain presents itself as one large pool of network resources (virtual switch). Under the hood, the FlexCampus Unified Controller is responsible for tasks such as; flow control, device adoption/discovery, health of devices, event log, guaranteed flows form edge to uplink ports, translation of VSNs into flow policies and active service monitoring. Group infrastructure configuration commands are uniformly pushed to each device in the VSN Controlled Domain. The health-status, monitoring, troubleshooting and configuration change management is centrally managed by the controller and VSNA software. Lastly, the FlexCampus Unified Controller has its own RADIUS server for delivering an HA authentication, authorization and accounting service. The ease of administration benefits typically only found in wireless environments today is now made available for wired infrastructure.
- OpenFlow – HP’s FlexCampus VSN architecture calls for a technology that simplifies the routing and general management of flows in a Controlled Domain. OpenFlow technology is seen as an ideal technology fit. OpenFlow separates packet forwarding (data path) and the routing decisions (control path) functions. Traditional switch infrastructure combines both functions. In OpenFlow each flow table entry contains a set of packet fields to match, and an action (such as send-out-port, modify-field, or drop). The OpenFlow code itself can be deployed along with a management application on a server such as VSNA or a controller. Utilizing OpenFlow along with a controller can dramatically simplify the routing administration of packets. In the future complex routing protocols such as spanning tree are no longer required in a Campus edge controlled domain. In addition, OpenFlow is the underlying logic for identifying the type traffic for each flow. OpenFlow also enhances VSN with its ability to determine the origination of packets or a series of packets (flow), utilizing its inherent IP (source/destination), MAC (source/destination), VLAN ID, Ethertype, ingress port, TCP/UDP port (source/destination), and IPv4 ToS features. With this data in hand an administrator can now infer the type of traffic in a flow. Now apply a set of rich VSNA policies to one or more flows and you have taken major innovative strides forward in how traffic/services are managed in the network. HP’s initial implementation of OpenFlow in our FlexCampus VSN solution will focus on fingerprinting and policy management. Features of OpenFlow will run as an overlay on top of traditional routing protocols such as spanning tree. Follow-on releases of FlexCampus VSN solution will enable OpenFlow packet forwarding feature-set.
Let me know if this has given you a better understanding of HP’s approach to address current and forward-looking challenges facing your campus LAN network.
>> Read more: HP FlexCampus Network Solutions