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Mechanism for Reliable Host Networking Configuration

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000238687D
Publication Date: 2014-Sep-11
Document File: 3 page(s) / 41K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Described is a mechanism and apparatus to ensure that management level connectivity is always maintained by the management operating system during network connectivity.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

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Mechanism for Reliable Host Networking Configuration

Configuring the networking on a Linux* host system is a scary experience. The main fear is that one loses network connectivity afterwards and can no longer connect to the host. Solutions such as IPMI offer remote consoles so that users can fix this; however, the experience is very disjointed as users typically start their network configuration via an SSH (after install) and then finish it in IPMI/IMM/etc. once they have lost network connectivity. This becomes more complicated with certain systems. In these scenarios, the central management server controls host networking configuration. Often, the network connection information gets misconfigured, and the user ends up in the IMPI/IMM/etc. tool that they did initially.

    This loss of network connectivity during host reconfiguration commonly occurs when configuring virtual switches for host servers. These virtual switches typically have a set of ports attached to them. Many advanced users are knowledgeable enough to have a separate adapter for management traffic. However, almost all entry and medium customers converge their management and data networks. Therefore, this requires them to add the management IP address information to the corresponding virtual switch.

    Code has been implemented that breaks up complex Linux host networking configuration changes into a series of smaller tasks, executes each task in sequence, detects a failure of a task that causes a loss of network connectivity, and automatically rolls back the changes to restore network connectivity for the user. The user experience is similar to what happens when monitor resolution is changed on a Microsoft** Windows** computer. The user is asked whether they want to keep the changes, and if they don't respond in 15 seconds, the system assumes there was a failure and the original settings are restored. The proposed system uses a similar approach, but a network ping is used to detect failures in a sub-second time window instead of a manual user prompt.

    This invention works to solve the fear of configuring the network configuration of hosts and provide a simple and safe mechanism to configure the networking. In order to understand this, some definitions must be made:

Management Server: A central server that provides management of all host systems and their virtual machines/configuration.

Host Server: A server (operating system) that provides a hypervisor, have virtual configuration such as Virtual Switch, SAN repositories, etc. that can run Virtual Machines.

Virtual Switch: A virtual device that takes a set of hardware devices (ethernet ports) and allows many virtual network interfaces (on the Virtual Machines) to utilize that network.

Host Agent: A piece of code running on the Host Server that the Management Server can delegate requests to. Communicates with the Management Server over an IP based network. Enables configuration of the system.

Host Network Model: An object m...