OpenStack Neutron Lovebomb at NFD10

When you hear a specific term pedestaled as a discussion point from a wide variety of industry leaders, it’s probably something of importance, and something you should know about. During the recent Networking Field Day (NFD10), I noticed a handful of these persisting terms and technologies repeated throughout the event.

Terms like agility and elasticity make me cringe, yet they’re entirely relevant in todays conversations around design and delivery of information services, networking included.

Technologies like Application Program Interfaces (APIs) are now common requirements for networking vendors, and each vendor presenting at NFD10 showcased their capabilities and openness with this type of programmability. Fellow Networking Field Day delegate Jason Edelman compiled a nice list of libraries and API resources from each vendor that presented.

Agility in networking is what we want, and we need to use APIs effectively in order to achieve it. Enter another trending technology/term – OpenStack.

Doctor Who describes time in much the same way that I would describe OpenStack – like a big ball of wibbly wobbly time-y wimey… stuff.


OpenStack takes disparate technologies like compute, storage and network, and intimately unites them as one living, breathing entity. OpenStack transcends the particulars and constraints of vendor-specific ideologies by abstracting complex operations through the use of APIs. OpenStack is the engine of agility so many companies are after. Unbound from monolithic constructs, it enables rapid development and operational fluidity. OpenStack elegantly orchestrates the breadth of the modern data center.

From a networking perspective, think of OpenStack as a policy-driven cloud operating system with countless numbers of interconnected physical and virtual nodes, communicating effortlessly like the neural network of a human brain.  OpenStack needs the network to become malleable, automated and programmatic.  This is why OpenStack is a popular topic and something that networking vendors proudly advertise support for. Networking is arguably the most important aspect of this hybrid cloud, with Neutron as the OpenStack project enabling this “network as a service” capability.

Below I’ve compiled a brief list of the participating NFD10 vendors, each with a short statement about their integration with OpenStack. #getorchestrated


As one of the OpenStack Foundation Gold Members, Cisco directly transforms the impact of OpenStack as an open-source platform for cloud ecosystems. They’re actually the number-one contributor to the OpenStack Neutron project. As evidence of commitment, Cisco’s own SaaS solution, WebEx, runs on OpenStack.

Big Switch

Directly from their site:

“Big Cloud Fabric delivers the industry’s first unified Physical + Virtual SDN fabric – a highly resilient and automated networking solution for OpenStack data centers. Big Switch’s Switch Light software is deployed on open networking switches (Switch Light OS) as well as on virtualized KVM servers (Switch Light Virtual). Its OpenStack Neutron plugin for L2+L3 networking provides resiliency necessary for production-grade OpenStack deployments. The Big Cloud Fabric Controller acts as the single pane for provisioning, troubleshooting, visibility and analytics of the entire physical and virtual network environment.”


Riverbed joined the OpenStack community back in 2011 with ambition to support OpenStack orchestration of their WAN optimization solutions. Surfing the Riverbed documentation archives, I wasn’t able to dig up much motion on this front. Seems like they understand the importance, but are not making it any kind of selling point. I welcome to be enlightened.


As a Platinum Member of the OpenStack community, Intel has a massive influence on the advancement on OpenStack. Intel uses most of the OpenStack technologies (Nova, Cinder, Swift, etc) in its own network, proving it has strong faith in OpenStack’s future. From architectural design guides, to deep dives on NFV deployments, Intel is leading in the adoption of OpenStack.


Arista’s operating system EOS natively supports OpenStack.  In an software-defined network, Arista’s Cloudvision SDN controller also integrates with Openstack.  Directly from their site:

“Building a private, public or hybrid OpenStack cloud requires virtual and physical network infrastructure that is programmable, agile and resilient. Arista EOS CloudVision® delivers a highly scalable and automated infrastructure for an OpenStack environment. By leveraging Arista’s robust and resilient underlay infrastructure and CloudVision platform, customers will be able to drastically speed business services, mitigate operational complexity, and reduce costs. Arista’s Openstack ML2 driver and Layer 3 Service plugin offer a fully automated and programmatic Openstack cloud solution along with necessary visibility into virtual and physical infrastructure.”

Nuage Networks

The force is strong with this one. Nuage Networks is rapidly growing, already a common name in the realm of SDN, and soon to be a name that everyone in the industry knows very well. Nuage Networks is committed to advancement in application-driven SDN technologies, and are on the cusp of innovation when it comes to delivery of network cloudification with OpenStack. They have recently partnered with Mirantis and continue to build their ecosystems of partner relations.


OpenStack is not just a nice-to-have for Juniper Networks, it’s a business driver. As one of the largest networking vendors in the world, Juniper is certainly invested in SDN through its acquisition of Open Contrail a few years back. Juniper has always been ahead of some other competing networking vendors in regards to automation, programmability and overall openness. Contrail sustains this trend with what Juniper hopes will ultimately become the de facto networking stack for OpenStack.

Closing Statement

OpenStack is the teacher that can transform a classroom full of screaming kids into an intelligent, productive and obedient force, primed for success.  At minimum, its a term you should be familiar with.  At most, it can entirely change the way you do business. Time to #getorchestrated

OpenStack Resources

Companies supporting OpenStack

OpenStack Networking

David Varnum


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