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A Method to Provide Effective Virtual Ethernet Link Status

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000229358D
Publication Date: 2013-Jul-23
Document File: 2 page(s) / 59K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

This article describes a method for reporting up-link physical port status for virtual Ethernet, which is critical to network high-availability solutions. The method requires minimal configuration at client virtual Ethernet adapter, and works seamlessly with high-availability bridge configuration.

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A Method to Provide Effective Virtual Ethernet Link Status

In a virtual networking architecture where a virtual Ethernet adapter in a client partition is connected to virtual switch, to communicate with nodes outside the server, the packets sent on the client virtual Ethernet are routed to the trunk adapter by the virtual switch then bridged out onto the physical network by a software bridging device.

Figure 1 shows a diagram of such virtual networking building blocks.

In this architecture, the virtual Ethernet device link is always up because its connection to the virtual switch is perpetual. However if the physical adapter loses connectivity to the external network or if the partition hosting the bridge is down, the virtual Ethernet cannot communicate to any node outside the server.

The virtual Ethernet that is unaware of its uplink status and lacks effective link status hinders robust fail-over solutions because often times network failover solutions are based network device link status.

The idea of the invention is to have the client virtual Ethernet periodically polling its bridging device.

The bridge device responds to the client virtual Ethernet polling with the link status of its physical adapter, which is then reflected by the client virtual Ethernet as effective link status.

In case the hosting partition is down, the client virtual Ethernet will not receive response to its poll, the client virtual Ethernet declares link failure after the polling times out.

The implementation of the idea is such that it does not require the client virtual Ethernet to know about the identity of the bridge device.

The significant benefits of this are two folds 1) Simplify the client device configuration. 2) Work seamless with redundant bridge configuration, which is frequently deployed in enterprise computation environment.

In the basic bridge configuration, in addition to the physical adapter connected to the external network, the other important element consists of one or more virtual trunk adapters connected to the virtual switch.

Whenever the virtual switch receives a packet whose destination MAC address does not match to the MAC address of an...