Author: Brandon Hoff
Today, at Interop, Emulex and Arista Networks went head to head on a panel discussion covering Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation (NVGRE) vs. Virtual eXtensible Local Area Network (VXLAN). We held this debate in front of about 200 people at Interop in the Data Center Networking Track on Monday.
The debate format required each vendor to take an extreme position, e.g. NVGRE is the best or VXLAN is the best. Here were some interesting details:
How many people have heard about VXLAN or NVGRE? Here is my estimate of the responses.
For this group, it is important to note that about 85% of the respondents haven’t heard of either NVGRE or VXLAN (or didn’t respond). I have also seen this at the end user level as well. Out of the last 50 end users I have talked to, most had said that they hadn’t heard of these new protocols, but, they are hungry to learn more.
As we discussed in the debate, the key requirement for either standard to be successful is the ecosystem of products that support it. Given that open vSwitch, VMware, Cisco, Emulex, Arista are supporting VXLANs and Microsoft, Arista, Emulex are supporting NVGRE, VXLAN has the edge with VMware and Cisco supporting it. When asked which standard will win, the vote was 30% VXLAN, one person for NVGRE, but nearly 70% didn’t declare a winner. This is probably the most important takeaway from the debate – there is no clear winner today. It is still early in the market for Overlay Networking, but, it is great that the vendors and the community here at Interop 2012 are taking time help educate people.
Note, none of this is scientific, but this is a good indicator that even though Overlay Networking solutions are being released this year by the major hypervisor vendors, there is some work to be done to educate end users on what Overlay Networks are, how to manage, architect and deploy Overlay Networks.