Friday, December 17, 2010

Virtual Network Switch

Many people have talked about hypervisor, and playing around with virtual machines. There are many solutions available today, either open source or commercial one. We have VMware, Xen, Virtualbox, Qemu, KVM, Parallel, Virtual PC, and others that I may not know.

What I would like to discuss here is virtual network switching, many of us have used a piece of hardware call network switch, which allows the end point to talk to each other. For the hardware network switch, we have many companies that are producing it, for example Cisco, Juniper, 3Com, DLink, NetGear and etc.

The virtual machine lives inside single operating system, which means we can have many virtual machines running inside a piece of hardware, so with virtual network switch we also can run many network switches inside a piece of hardware, and using them to connect virtual machines, and get them to talk to each other.

However, how many solutions are there for virtual network switch? As far as I know, not many. Cisco has produced one which is called Cisco Nexus 1000 Series. If you do know any other commercial solution, please comment.

How about open source solution for that? Yes, here are two that I found very interesting, again if you know any other open source solution, please let me know.

- Open vSwitch
- Vde

This is just simple writeup for what I'm going to cover in the future which I will discuss about how you can setup virtual network switch, and leverage on them. Most of my posts will be discussing about both Open vSwitch and Vde while Virtualbox and Qemu will be used to connect to the switch.

Enjoy (;])


travis said...

have you looked into cisco's packet tracer switch emulation? i dont believe it allows OS's to interact with your emulated network but it's one way of understanding how switches are configured.

C.S.Lee said...

hi travis,

I never get a chance to play around with cisco's packet tracer so I can't really comment anything about it, the reason I'm going with free/open source solution here because it is particularly useful for students as they are not in the industry yet and they can try it out without needing to spend a lot of money.

Plus my following posts will show how you can setup everything in the vm itself, so with one computer it is enough to follow the series of tutorials I'm going to cover. Therefore it is more like a lab setup with one pc and I think most student owns a laptop/pc these days.

Anyway thanks for mentioning about the alternative solution to learn network switching ;)

Unknown said...

From what I read here (

you had some problems that you were able to fix. Can you detail what you did?

Thanks! Keep up the good work!