Part 4: Working With XenServer 6.2 – Distributed Virtual Switches
Networking is a crucial part of any virtualization platform. With XenServer, we have a few different options when it comes to setting up the networking on each of the XenServer hosts, and we’ll go over those options next.
- External Network – Allows us to pass traffic through the XenServer network interface out to the physical switches and servers
- Single-Server Private Network – Creates a network that can only be utilized within the XenServer host, meaning no traffic can exit the XenServer
- Cross-Server Private Network – Resource Pool wide network, meaning a network that spans to all the XenServers within the pool with no connection to the outside network
- Bonded Network – Allows us to bond two or more NICs on the XenServer for high performance and redundancy
Introduction to Distributed Virtual Switches:
Distributed virtual switches in XenServer are made up of two components:
- Open vSwitch
- DVSC (Distributed Virtual Switch Controller)
What is an Open vSwitch? It is a virtual switch that is presently open source and provides us with the following features:
- ACL and QoS policies
- Traffic Mirroring
- Port Bonding
- VM traffic policy
What is a Distributed Virtual Switch Controller or DVSC? It is an appliance that allows us to make use of all the features we mentioned earlier within the Open vSwitch. So what else are we getting with DVSC? Well let’s take a look below.
- Ability to scale and manage up to 64 XenServer hosts
- NetFlow visualizer
- Network policy application on virtual interfaces
Deploying Distributed Virtual Switch:
Deploying DVS is quite simple actually, but the configuration takes a bit more time and better understanding of the product.
Since the DVS is going to be tied to our resource pool, we’ll need to make sure that a Resource Pool has been created and that we have at least one XenServer host. We’ll then need to enable the Open vSwitch on the hosts. This is quite a simple task, all we have to do is access the XenServer host shell and run the following command:
When the command has been successfully executed, we’ll need to reboot the XenServer host and then we’ll be ready to deploy DVSC.
As mentioned above, DVSC comes as an appliance, what that means for us, is that we don’t have to do any installation other than importing the appliance and performing the initial configuration. The appliance can be found here. Please note that as of XenServer 6.2 the DVSC has been deprecated and it seems like there won’t be much more development on this product (DVSC) going forward. It does however still function as 6.1, but you might experience limited functionality so please make sure you do your research before putting this product in production to support the XenServer 6.2 hosts.
Once the appliance has been imported and powered on, make note of the appliance IP address, if your VLAN does not have IP helper or DHCP enabled, you’ll need to assign a static IP. In order to configure the appliance, we can do it in three ways, XenCenter, Web browser, and SSH. In this example, we’re going to be using the web browser to do the basic configuration.
Navigate to the IP address of the DVSC and log in using admin/admin as your username and password
It’s is highly recommended that we configure a static IP on the DVSC if haven’t already done so. To do this, we need to navigate over to the settings tab at the top, select IP configuration on the left and then clicking on the Modify Configuration option
Within each Resource Pool, we have a Pool Master host, this host is responsible for things like HA (High Availability) within the pool. When connecting to the Resource Pool, we need to specify the Resource Pool Master host as it contains configuration information about our Pool
One note I’d like to make, the Cross-Server Private Network on the XenServer hosts only becomes available once we deploy the DVS. This due to the fact that we can connect multiple XenServer hosts to a single Distributed Virtual Switch