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Posts Tagged ‘VXLAN’

Here is a sample and the most common use case of VXLAN – Avoid the challenge of running out of VLAN limit.

Business Problem

In this use case, IHAC that is currently serving their internal consumers by providing production and development environments in the cloud. During the recent discussions with their IT department, they realized that they are having some networking related restrictions due to which very soon they will not be able to expand their cloud services. Their goal is to provide the following functionalities:

  • Provide Compute, storage and network capabilities on the fly without having to make major investment or infrastructure changes.
  • Expand their project base without having to run out of the resources every few months.
Technical Problem

Currently, the technical department is using VMware vCloud Director 1.5.1 and provide isolated environments for their consumers in a multitenant fashion using VLAN-backed network pools. However, they soon realized that they are running out of VLANs and they are not planning to adopt VCDNI-backed network pools due to the fact that it uses a single layer 2 broadcast domain as the transport network without additional layer 2 controls. Their goal is to overcome the following challenges and support the business demand:

  • The growing adoption of virtualization and cloud computing has lead the customer to approach the current VLAN limit of 4094. Layer 2 is their only way of isolating their internal consumers and most of their consumers often need multiple VLANs dedicated to their various needs, which is going to bring the customer into a hard STOP state very soon.
  • Currently, the customer is able to provide compute and storage resources on the fly every time a new consumer or project is registered or an existing project or consumer requested for additional resources. However, it has been challenging to provide network capabilities on the fly without having to re-configure their physical network infrastructure such as carving up new VLANs and so forth.
 Solution Scenario

The Customer upgraded to VMware vCloud Director 5.1 and the supporting components to take advantage of VXLANs. In this scenario, customer has re-configured the existing private clouds by switching to  VXLAN-backed instead of VLAN-backed network pools. This scenario shares the same layer 2 between the two projects or consumers, however VXLANs provide a layer 2 overlay scheme over a layer 3 network.
As outlined in the illustration above, when Consumer A’s PROD Web10 has to communicate to PROD DB10, it is done over the Org network A, which is a VXLAN-backed network. So, the MAC address frame coming from the PROD Web10 will be interpreted by VTEP1 and encapsulated with VXLAN header, VTEP1’s IP address and MAC address frames and sent over VLAN 10 onto the physical network. When the packet is received on VTEP2, the appropriate VTEP1’s frames along with the VXLAN header will be stripped off and the original packet destined to PROD DB10 will be delivered to it.

Similarly, when Consumer B’s DEVDB20 has to communicate to DEV Web20, the same process takes place except that it uses the Organization network B over VTEP2 and VTEP3.

As it can be seen the traffic for both the Tenants are sent across VLAN 10, however they are segregated with the encapsulation of Layer 2 traffic over a Layer 3 connectivity by using the appropriate VXLAN Segment ID and the header.

Configuration details of the scenario

The following table outlines the vCloud environment configured for this scenario:

Component Details
VXLAN Segment ID Pool 5000 – 8000
Multicast address range –
VXLAN Tunnel End Points (VTEPs) All the ESXi hosts are acting as VTEPs
Physical Network
  • PIM-SM enabled across all the Layer 3 Switches and Routers
  • IGMP snooping enabled across the entire Layer 2 network.
VLAN ID for VXLANs traffic VLAN 100
Clusters (associated to the respective Provider VDCs in the vCloud Director) Platinum-Cluster01Platinum-Cluster02Gold-Cluster01Gold-Cluster02Silver-Cluster01Silver-Cluster02
ESXi Hosts 50 ESXi hosts across all the Clusters
Storage Tiered across SSD, SAS 15K and 10K

The following table outlines the VXLAN configuration details of this scenario:

Component Details

  • Platinum – Cluster01
(Only hosts shown in the illustration)

  • ESXi01 – VTEP1
  • ESXi02 – VTEP2
  • ESXi03 – VTEP3
ESXi Hosts

  • ESXi01 – VTEP1
  • ESXi02 – VTEP2
  • ESXi03 – VTEP3
Virtual Machines

  • PROD Web10 (Tenant A)
  • PROD DB10 (Tenant A)
  • DEV Web20 (Tenant B)
  • DEV DB20 (Tenant B)
Organization Networks

  • Organization Network A (Tenant A)
  • Organization Network B (Tenant B)
  • VXLAN Segment ID: 5000
  • VXLAN Segment ID: 5002

In the past the customer used an individual VLAN for every Organization or vApp network being created for the projects or consumers. With very few consumers, they quickly hit the 4094 VLAN limit. By utilizing VXLAN, not only does the customer no longer have to worry about VLAN limits but they are also able to provide a larger of number of networks to many more projects or consumers on the fly without having to make changes to the underlying physical network infrastructure every time.

In this scenario, by implementing VXLAN-backed Network pool, the customer has saved 120 VLANs (one VLAN per vApp or Organization Network) across both the Consumers.

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Here are the steps required to perform the VXLAN configuration:

Prior to the configuration, make sure that the vCenter Server (either appliance or binary install) and the vCloud Networking and Security Manager (appliance) are deployed and the primary configuration has already been completed.

Associate vCloud Networking and Security Manager with vCenter Server
  1. Open a browser and go to <http://<IP address>, where the IP address is the value previously assigned to the vCloud Networking and Security Manager virtual appliance.
  2. Log in to vCloud Networking and Security Manager, using admin as the user name and the password configured.
  3. Click the Settings & Reports tab, and select General.
  4. Click the Edit button under vCenter Server.
  5. Enter the vCenter Server’s IP Address or hostname, administrator username, and password.
  6. Check the Assign vCloud Networking and Security ‘Enterprise Administrator’ role to this user box, and click OK.
  7. When prompted with an SHA1 thumbprint security warning, click Yes.
  8. When prompted with certificate security warnings, check the Install this certificate and do not display any security warnings for vCloud Networking and Security Manager IP Address box, and click Ignore.
  9. Verify that the vCloud Networking and Security Manager is registered with the vCenter Server.
Register vCloud Networking and Security Plug-in
  1. Log in to the vCenter Server (resource group) associated with the vCloud Networking and Security Manager, using vSphere Client.
  2. From the file menu, click Plug-ins, and click Manage Plug-ins.
  3. Right click vCloud Networking and Security Manager, and click Enable.
  4. Click the Close button.
  5. Click Home, and open vCloud Networking and Security under Solutions and Applications.
  6. When prompted with a Certificate security alert, click Yes.
Assign Segment IDs and Multicast Addresses
  1. Log in to the vCloud Networking and Security plug-in, using admin as the user name and the password configured.
  2. Expand Datacenters in the left pane and select the Datacenter.
  3. Click the Network Virtualization tab, and select the Segment ID.
  4. Click Edit button.
  5. Provide the Segment ID Pool range and multicast address range unique to this instance of vCloud Networking and Security Manager, and click OK. (For example: Segment ID Pool: 5000 – 6000 and Multicast addresses: –
Associate Clusters to Distributed Virtual Switches
  1. Click the Network Virtualization tab, and select Connectivity.
  2. Click Edit button.
  3. Under Use, check the distributed switch configured for VXLANs for all the clusters participating in the VXLAN configuration.
  4. Assign a VLAN ID, and click Next. (Note: For security best practices, assign a VLAN ID for the VXLAN traffic. If no VLANID is configured for VXLAN traffic, the default remains (0)).
  5. Under Teaming Policy, select Static EtherChannel.
  6. Under MTU (bytes), type 1600, and click Finish. (Note: If the guest OS requires jumbo frames, increase the frame size to at least 9000 + 50 = 9050).
  7. Verify that the Cluster Status appear as prepared and ready.
Static IP Address configuration if no DHCP available

If no DHCP Server is available on the network, perform the following steps to assign a static IP address on each ESXi host (VTEP)

  1. Click Home, and click Hosts and Clusters.
  2. Select ESXi host, and click the Configuration tab.
  3. Click Networking, and select vSphere Distributed Switch.
  4. Under VXLANPools distributed switch, click Manage Virtual Adapters.
  5. Select vmk1 port, and click Edit.
  6. Click IP Settings tab, and click Use the following settings.
  7. Enter the IP Address and Subnet Mask, and click OK.
  8. Click Close.

Finally, verify that the IP address changes on all the ESXi hosts have taken place under Preparation/Connectivity tabs on the vCloud Networking and Security plug-in.

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    Raman Veeramraju