VXLAN Technical Deep Dive

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VXLAN was the first MAC-over-IP overlay virtual networking technology that could be used to implement large-scale layer-2 multi-tenant virtual networking solutions within the VMware’s vSphere ecosystem.

Since its introduction in 2011 various VXLAN implementations introduced scalable control plane, hardware gateways, and standardized scale-out architectures based on BGP MPLS Ethernet VPN (EVPN).

Version 2.0 of VXLAN Technical Deep Dive webinar describes:

  • The basics of VXLAN technology;
  • VXLAN integration with the layer-3 data center network core;
  • Benefits and drawbacks of VXLAN versus its competitors (NVGRE and STT);
  • VXLAN implementations in hypervisors switches;
  • Integration with vCloud Director;
  • Large-scale VXLAN solutions, including unicast mode VXLAN and EVPN-based scale-out architectures;
  • Hardware VXLAN gateways and VLAN-to-VXLAN integration options;
  • Use of VXLAN in data center fabrics (Arista, Cisco ACI) and OpenStack Quantum.

Live Sessions

The next live session of this webinar will take place in Winter 2022.

The original VXLAN Technical Deep Dive webinar was created in 2015, and while the technology and the concepts haven't changed in the meantime, we've seen new solutions using VXLAN and Geneve, and lost numerous products to the inevitable clash with reality. This is the first live session of the totally rewritten webinar focusing on VXLAN/Geneve state as of late 2021.

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The webinar covers the following topics:

  • The overview of VXLAN technology;
  • Multicast-based VXLAN and its hypervisor-based implementations;
  • Proprietary VXLAN control plane solutions;
  • Standard scale-out VXLAN-based architectures using OVSDB and EVPN;
  • VXLAN gateways and their integration with VXLAN controllers;
  • VXLAN as transport method in data center fabrics.

VXLAN Technology Overview

This section describes the VXLAN architectural model, packet formats and forwarding principles, including the use of IP multicast to emulate layer-2 flooding.

The design guidelines presented in this section will help you integrate VXLAN-based virtual networking solutions with large-scale IP-based data center networks.

Multicast-Based VXLAN

Initial VXLAN implementations used IP multicast to establish MAC-to-VTEP mappings in hypervisor virtual switches. This section describes the technical details of multicast-based VXLAN and two hypervisor-based implementations: Cisco’s Nexus 1000V and native vSphere 5.1 implementation included in vCloud Networking and Security (vCNS) group of products.

Proprietary VXLAN Control PLanes

Virtualization vendors quickly realized that they cannot sell a solution that depends so heavily on IP multicast, and started implementing proprietary control-plane solutions that replaced multicast-based flooding with hypervisor-based packet replication, and dynamic MAC learning with control-plane information gathering.

This section describes three typical proprietary control-plane architectures: Cisco Nexus 1000V, VMware NSX for Multiple Hypervisors and VMware NSX for vSphere.

Standardized Scale-Out VXLAN Solutions

This section describes EVPN-based approaches that allow network designers to build scale-out VXLAN-based architectures. The implementations mentioned in this section include Cisco Nexus 1000V, Nuage VSP and Juniper Contrail.

VXLAN Gateways

VXLAN segments are completely isolated from the rest of the network. You need gateway functionality if you want to link a VXLAN segment with a traditional VLAN or insert network services (routing, firewalling or load balancing) between a VXLAN segment and the rest of the network.

This section lists most common gateway solutions, from VM-based products (example: vShield Edge or vASA) to hardware gateways (Arista 7150, Cisco Nexus 9300, Brocade VDX 6740), and describes various design scenarios that you can use to implement large-scale multi-tenant private- or public cloud solutions.

VXLAN Use in Data Center Fabrics

One could use Arista’s VXLAN implementation to build large-scale layer-2 data center fabrics. VXLAN is also a fundamental building block of Cisco’s ACI architecture. This section will describe the approaches network hardware vendors use to build overlay data center fabrics with their hardware VXLAN gateways.

Happy Campers

About the webinar

Great Session Ivan, as usual!

Pierre-Louis Gingembre
Well done! Ivan really has his finger on the pulse of networking today in a landscape that is greatly changing.
Hooker Heggestad
This webinar gets right to the main point of what VXLAN provides and then the details on how it works. No better way to quickly get up to speed.
Tom Zeller

About the materials

Keep them coming!
Hooker Heggestad

The Authors

Ivan PepelnjakIvan Pepelnjak, CCIE#1354 Emeritus, is an independent network architect, book author, blogger and regular speaker at industry events like Interop, RIPE and regional NOG meetings. He has been designing and implementing large-scale service provider and enterprise networks since 1990, and is currently using his expertise to help multinational enterprises and large cloud- and service providers design next-generation data center and cloud infrastructure using Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) approaches and technologies.

Ivan is the author of several books covering data center technologies, highly praised webinars, and dozens of data center and cloud-related technical articles published on his blog.

More about Ivan Pepelnjak

Target Audience

If part of your daily job includes VMware network connectivity, OpenStack or IaaS infrastructure, be it on the server or networking side, you simply have to attend this webinar, regardless of whether you’re a network architect, network designer, or an implementation guru.

Prerequisite knowledge

This webinar assumes familiarity with virtual networking concepts and VMware networking solutions, and basic understanding of IP routing and IP multicast. Watching Cloud Networking and Overlay Virtual Networking before attending this webinar will also help you better understand the technical details.