Network Fabric Management in the Private Cloud
John Savill
February 18, 2014

Q. How does the Private Cloud ease Network Fabric Management pain?

A. Normally when a virtual resource is provisioned it will need connectivity to other resources which requires connectivity to certain networks. Most organizations use different IP schemes and different VLANs for the different networks and this information changes between different locations. This can make it very complicated, when provisioning new virtual machines, to know which VLAN configuration to use and which IP address.

The Private Cloud provides management of all aspects of the fabric; compute, storage and network. For network management the fabric management works using the following:
*       Defining each type of network such as production network, backup network, development network,  etc.
*       Defining sites for each type of network which contain the detailed network configuration for the specific network and their location including the IP scheme and the VLAN
*       Creation of IP pools which are IP addresses for each of the network sites that can be assigned by the management stack
*       Defining configurations for items such as virtual IPs used by network load balancers

This is a fair amount of upfront configuration, especially in large environments but once this is complete the management infrastructure of the Private Cloud will understand the network configuration of all networks in all locations. This greatly eases the ongoing network management pain as creating a new virtual machine becomes as simple as executing the command; "Create a new VM connected to the production network in datacenter Alpha"

The Private Cloud management infrastructure will do the work of identifying the IP scheme and VLAN used for the network in the location and then lease and IP address from its IP pool for that combination and automatically assign and configure the virtual machine. As a VM is deleted its IP address is returned to the management infrastructure IP pool for allocation to another VM in the future. This network fabric management extends further when services are deployed that have multiple instances of a certain service that need to be load balanced. The Private Cloud management infrastructure can perform configuration of software and hardware load balancer will automatically using the same network infrastructure knowledge.

Environments that use a joint HP and Microsoft Private Cloud environment with HP BladeSystem or ProLiant Gen 8 Servers and Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V can take full advantage of all aspects of the network fabric management capabilities.