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Supporting migration of Virtual Machines that depend on Network Layer 2 communications with other network nodes in a Computing Cloud

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000198973D
Publication Date: 2010-Aug-19
Document File: 5 page(s) / 138K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

This invention solves the problem faced in migrating virtual machines across different network layer 2 broadcast domains. This allows services and applications that rely on Layer 2 broadcast domain connectivity to continue operating without any modification. This invention will become more useful as time goes by, because Ethernet transmission speeds will increase and lossless Ethernet transmission fabric will become more prevalent, and will allow Virtual Machine Migrations to take place more often, and also allow for the use of protocols like Fiber channel over Ethernet in many more network topologies.

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Supporting migration of Virtual Machines that depend on Network Layer 2 communications with other network nodes in a Computing Cloud

1. Background: From a user and business perspective, cloud computing is a delivery and consumption model for IT services, where the user sees only the service, and does not need to know anything about the underlying technology or implementation.

    There are broadly two types of clouds that users can use: Software as a Service clouds and Platform infrastructure clouds. Each delivers IT services and resources at different levels of the technology stack, and are targeted at different consumers. Software as a Service clouds deliver software usage to end-users, and many providers sells these services as hosted software that can be used over the public Internet. Platform infrastructure clouds deliver middleware, server, storage and network resources to IT and software development teams. Platform infrastructure clouds are commonly built within an enterprise, and serve the needs of the Software Engineers and IT operations personnel within the organization.

    Dynamic virtualization is a technology that enables the creation of effective platform infrastructure clouds. It allows middleware and virtual machines to be created, and provisioned on demand. It also allows virtual machines to be moved from one physical server to another, to allow migration to servers with higher computing capacity or to allow planned server maintenance to take place. Some technologies allow migration of a virtual machine from a physical server in one network layer 2 broadcast domain to another physical server connected to another layer 2 broadcast domain. This is useful because as clouds become larger and involve more machines, it is likely that there will be more than one layer 2 switch / layer 2 broadcast domain in the cloud. Different physical server machines in the cloud will be connected to different layer 2 switches.

    However, this presents a problem to certain applications and systems that use Layer 2 protocols to communicate amongst themselves because they will need to be on the same layer 2 broadcast domain. One example is the Server Load Balancers that are commonly used to balance incoming traffic to web and application servers. In order to achieve a routing path known as direct server return, these load balancers commonly use MAC address translation to communicate with the web servers. This method requires that both the server load balancer and the web servers be on the same layer 2 broadcast domain. This means that if the web servers are run inside Virtual Machines in a computing cloud, they cannot be moved out of their original broadcast domain. This restricts the size and flexibility in managing the cloud. Figure 1A and 1B show the process of Server Load Balancing using MAC Address Translation.

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    Another example is applications and drivers that use "iber Channel over Ethernet" or "ATA over Ethernet" to access stor...