IBM Distributed Overlay Virtual Ethernet (DOVE) networking

Posted by Paola Cornacchiola   |   Friday, September 14th, 2012   |  
IBM is developing its own network virtualization to compete with VMware and Big Switch Networks.
One of IBM’s values is innovation and Big Blue doesn’t want to be left behind with network virtualization programs, therefore IBM is investing in Distributed Overlay Virtual Ethernet (DOVE): a network architecture for building virtual networks infrastructures, that allows to abstract the physical network infrastructure from hypervisor hosts, to make network changes in software rather than hardware, creating endpoints across the underlying network infrastructure.
DOVE current versions works only with vSphere, but apparently there are future plans to expand support for other hypervisors, among the others KVM and Microsoft Hyper-V
The two competitors VMware, now backed up with new acquisition Nicira, developed a network overlay solution using VXLAN tunneling protocol and Big Switch Networks with japanese start-up Midokura are offering a similar solution.
The IBM DOVE architecture is composed by three components: the DOVE controller, the DOVE service appliance and the DOVE switches deployed on the hypervisor hosts. The gateway function like a router, supplying connectivity for data center interconnects.

According to an IBM technical paper research made by Liane Lewin-Eytan, Katherine Barabash, Rami Cohen, Vinit Jain, Anna Levin:

Networking is currently facing important challenges arising from the advent of virtualization and cloud computing. Broad acceptance of these advanced technologies has raised new networking requirements related to the complex configuration, management and control means needed in order to cope with large scale virtual networks of highly dynamic nature supporting multi-tenancy. Coping efficiently with these requirements has brought to the fore the need to virtualize the network by properly decoupling the logical network functionality from the underlying physical infrastructure. An essential method for enabling such a decoupling and achieve a good abstraction of the network is the use of overlays.

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