Thursday Feb 07, 2013

Five Perspectives on Virtual Networks


At about the time I finally understood server virtualization, they hit me with network virtualization. Or was it virtualized networks? Virtual networking? So, did that mean that you networked your virtual environments together? Or did it mean that you created a virtual network? A virtual network of virtual servers? Or physical servers?

I did what any techie would do when confronted with a conundrum: I played video games until 2:00 am. Then it came to me: a virtual network is simply a physical network sliced into multiple virtual networks. That wasn't so hard. In fact, we currently provide two ways to create a virtual network: within the OS and at the hypervisor. Shoot, you can even pretend to create a virtual network by firing up VirtualBox. To help you decide which type of network virtualization to use, we put together a few perspectives:

How Networking Works in VirtualBox

by the Fat Bloke

Start here, just in case you want to become familiar with virtual networks to avoid bringing down your entire data center. The Fat Bloke describes how to set up your virtual networks inside VirtualBox and configure them so the physical networks understand what you're trying to do. He covers Network Address Translation (NAT), bridged networking, internal networking, host-only networking, and NAT with Port-forwarding.

Evaluating Oracle Solaris 11 from Inside Oracle VM VirtualBox

by Yuli Vasiliev

Now you can horse around a little bit with the Oracle Solaris virtual network goodies. Yuli Vasiliev explains how to import an Oracle Solaris 11 image into VirtualBox, how to configure the virtual machine settings, and how to explore virtual networking at the OS layer, among other things.

Looking Under the Hood at Networking in Oracle VM Server for x86

by Greg King and Suzanne Zorn

Now you're ready to take a closer look at virtual networking in the hypervisor; specifically, Oracle VM Server for x86. Greg King and Suzanne Zorn describe how you can create logical networks out of physical Ethernet ports, bonded ports, VLAN segments, virtual MAC addresses (VNICs), and network channels. And how to assign channels (or "roles") to each logical network so that it handles the type of traffic you want it to. Very cool read + additional resources.

Which Tool Should I Use to Manage Which Virtualization Technology?

by Ginny Henningsen

Now that you have a better understanding of each method, it's only natural to wonder which tools to use, right? Ginny Henningsen provides an overview of the interfaces and tools that you can use to set up and manage virtual network resources, among other things..

Network Virtualization and Network Resource Management

by Detlef Drewanz

And, if you want to take it a step further, consider adding resource management to your virtual network picture. This article describes what's involved in managing network resources in conjunction with hypervisors, containers, and zones in an internal virtual network.

Let me know if you'd like any more info about virtual networks. We've got a bunch.

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Rick Ramsey
Kemer Thomson
and members of the OTN community


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