Welcome!

Open Source Cloud Authors: Rajeev Kozhikkattuthodi, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: FinTech Journal, Open Source Cloud, @CloudExpo

FinTech Journal: Blog Post

Tap-as-a-Service: Enabling Traffic Monitoring in OpenStack Clouds | @CloudExpo #API #Cloud

Tap-as-a-Service, a platform-oriented solution, designed to operate as an extension of Neutron, the OpenStack network service

It is no surprise that OpenStack has evolved into a widely adopted cloud management framework. As it hurtles on a trajectory of rapid growth, a new breed of demands are making themselves felt - demands that a mature platform of this nature and scope must satisfy. One such requirement is the ability to monitor traffic flowing in the myriad of virtual networks found in an OpenStack datacenter.

Conceptually speaking, the monitoring process involves placing tap devices at appropriate locations within the network infrastructure and attaching traffic analyzers to them. These analyzers can then see the same packets passing through those network segments, as if they were also in-line. A logical tap device can be easily constructed using the port-mirroring function of a network switching element, which makes it possible to have a copy of the packets traversing one or more switch ports delivered to another port on the same switch. This capability is supported by almost all modern physical and virtual switches. So, why is it [still] not possible to monitor the activity in OpenStack virtual networks?

The answer to this question lies in understanding two important architectural characteristics of cloud-based virtualization platforms, namely multi-tenancy and location independence. The former allows available resources and services to be shared among different groups of users. Each group - known as a tenant - is provided with an environment that is completely isolated from the others, to the extent where members of a group are oblivious of the fact that other groups may be co-existing with them. Multi-tenancy promotes delegation of control in a safe and secure manner. For example, tenants are permitted to create and administer their own private virtual networks. Location independence, on the other hand, is primarily concerned with hiding the identities of individual infrastructure components from the virtualized workloads. This has made it possible to relocate running virtual machines from one host to another. An equally important but perhaps less appreciated benefit of location independence is improved efficiency in resource allocation. Tenants are therefore unaware of the physical hosts on which their virtual machines are running. Furthermore, virtual machines belonging to different tenants may be placed on the same host. In such a shared ecosystem it makes sense that tenants are not given direct access to the underlying switch fabric, consisting of host-level virtual switches, top-of-rack switches, etc. This restriction avoids the possibility of any cross-tenant data leakage. Unfortunately, this means that the port-mirroring capability of those switches is also not available.

OpenStack is not alone when it comes to the lack of traffic monitoring support for its virtual networks. Other cloud solutions, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), also suffer from this limitation for the very reasons described above. There is one aspect of OpenStack, however, that makes it stand out from the rest. It is open source technology! This provides an opportunity for someone (actually anyone) who is able and willing to introduce new capabilities into the platform. At Gigamon we live and breathe network traffic visibility, so we decided to take it upon ourselves and become ‘that someone' who will push the needle forward. To our surprise and delight we soon learned of a group at Ericsson who had independently arrived at the same conclusion. Our goals matched perfectly and it seemed natural and fitting that we pool our resources together to solve this problem.

Our project is called Tap-as-a-Service. It is a platform-oriented solution, designed to operate as an extension of Neutron, the OpenStack network service. TaaS offers a simple API that will enable a tenant (or the cloud administrator) to monitor ports in Neutron provisioned networks. Since it is vital that tenant boundaries are not compromised, a tenant can only monitor its own ports, i.e., any port on one of its private virtual networks or a port created by it on a shared virtual network. The TaaS workflow begins with the creation of a tap-service instance that has a Neutron port serving as the destination side of a port-mirror session. A monitoring virtual machine is usually attached to this port to consume the mirrored traffic. Later, one or more tap-flows can be added to the tap-service instance. A tap-flow represents the association between a (source) port that is being monitored and a tap-service instance. TaaS allows a mirror session to span across multiple hosts, by virtue of remote port-mirroring, thereby ensuring that location independence is preserved.

A reference implementation of TaaS was completed earlier this year and the source code has been uploaded to Stackforge, the OpenStack incubator, where a dedicated GIT repository now exists for this project [1]. At the last OpenStack Summit in Vancouver (May 2015), we did a technical presentation on this work that included a live demonstration of traffic monitoring using TaaS [2]. The response has been very positive, with support pouring in from both the developer and user communities. We will continue to enhance TaaS; some of the planned features are integration with the OpenStack dashboard, support for virtual machine migration, pre-capture filtering and rate-limiting of mirrored traffic. At the same time, we are also continuing our discussions with the Neutron core team to have TaaS accepted as an integral part of future OpenStack releases.

Port-mirroring used to be a switch layer function. Tap-as-a-Service has effectively virtualized this capability and made it available for the users of Neutron provisioned networks. We see TaaS as the basic building block on top of which more complex traffic visibility solutions can be engineered for a diverse set of use cases, ranging from network administration and trouble-shooting to application/network security, data analytics and more.

References

  1. Tap-as-a-Service code repository.
  2. Tap-as-a-Service (TaaS): Port Monitoring for Neutron Networks. Alan Kavanagh, Anil Rao, Vinay Yadhav, OpenStack Summit, Vancouver, Canada, May 20, 2015.

More Stories By Anil Rao

Anil Rao is a Distinguished Engineer at Gigamon, leading research and development activities related to virtual machine traffic monitoring. His research interests include operating systems, distributed computing, virtual machine technology and software defined networking.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, an entertainment executive/TV producer turned serial entrepreneur, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to ma...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...