Data Center SDN and Virtualized Networking

Demand for robust data center networks continues to increase as organizations struggle to achieve business agility for application deployments. This has led to the growing adoption of Software Defined Network (SDN) solutions as part of a data center architecture evolution. Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and those from VMware are the industry’s most popular solutions to address these demands.

Network teams must now understand this new architecture and manage it effectively, along with the rest of the legacy network it connects to. Without effective tooling support, the task of managing such an evolving heterogeneous network has proven to be very challenging. NetBrain’s Dynamic Mapping and automation technologies help network teams demystify the complexity of a virtualized infrastructure, allowing them to realize the full benefits of SDN without the operational challenges. NetBrain treats these logical network connections, although virtualized and software-defined, as just another part of the topology. This continues to support true end-to-end visibility and automation for infrastructures that include these logical approaches to connectivity.

Cisco ACI

NetBrain helps operational teams understand the topology of ACI-enabled networks with overlay and underlay maps. These maps allow you to see what devices, VRFs, endpoint groups, and endpoints are part of your ACI fabric and how traffic flows physically and logically.

Overlays provide a layer of software abstraction to allow multiple discrete, separate, virtualized network layers that run on top of the underlay network. Overlays separate the location of the device or endpoint from its identity. Endpoints in your network are identified by a tag allowing them to be located anywhere in the network structure simply by its tag.

All these layers of abstraction, virtualization, new applications, and services overlaid on top of the underlay network are putting more demands on network teams to understand and decode the network design. The ability to visually represent information about the entire network seamlessly, regardless of technology, and drill down to the corresponding physical components during troubleshooting is crucial and fully supported by NetBrain.

VMware NSX

NetBrain’s deep discovery and modeling engine don’t stop when it gets to VMware-powered NSX environments. NetBrain treats NSX as any other network and creates a data model that serves as the foundation for automation, analytics, and workflow enhancement for operational IT Tasks. NetBrain makes it possible to quickly understand and support the deployed NSX infrastructure in the following aspects:

  • Map the logical NSX connectivity alongside the traditional physical network – obtain accurate and up-to-date visibility into the NSX environment, along with the external network it is built upon.
  • Visualize data from multiple sources on a map.
  • Turn on and off layers of physical and logical information with Data View, including data from 3rd party IT management solutions.
  • Understand the mapping between virtual and physical components.
  • NetBrain can help you abstract and maintain clear visibility of the virtual object to physical server mapping.

VMware ESXi

The NetBrain system provides end-to-end visibility for VMware vCenter network resources as well as their physical and virtual relationships. With NetBrain, you can quickly understand a vCenter environment in the following aspects:

  • What you have in your vCenter networks, such as ESXi hosts, VM hosts, and vSwitches.
  • The detailed property information about any vCenter network node.
  • The network design between vCenter network nodes, such as Layer 3 connection of VM hosts and their gateway devices, and the (parent/child) relationship between an ESXi host and vSwitch/VMs under the host.