Cumulus Host Pack brings the host to the network for fabric-wide visibility and connectivity.

Host Pack removes the barriers to deploying a web-scale network to support containers and microservices. While completely supporting popular layer 2 overlay networks, Host Pack enhances network scalability and connectivity by running layer 3 protocols like OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) or BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) directly on the hosts, so the hosts can participate directly in the routing fabric.

Host networking challenges have impeded the simplicity and scalability possible with web-scale networking designs. Web-scale efficiency can be achieved with improved connectivity and with consistent, telemetry-based visibility into network infrastructure, host networking, and the information about container workloads.

Cumulus Host Pack enables a web-scale network by providing connectivity through FRRouting on the Host and Container Advertiser and visibility through NetQ on the Host.

Web-scale Connectivity

FRRouting on the Host — the suite of routing protocols in Cumulus Linux — delivers layer 3 routing on host servers; it also enables the BGP unnumbered interfaces standard to be implemented in both the network infrastructure and in host networking, eliminating the issues that can be posed by a layer 2 network and enabling you to move to layer 3 from the container to the data center network core on your own schedule. FRR also runs in containers, so you can connect your containers over layer 3 as well.

Container Advertiser uses address announcement and advertising services in conjunction with FRRouting on Docker Engine- and Mesos Universal Container Runtime-based containers to enable the network to deliver automatic layer 3 connectivity as microservices are spun up and torn down. Using container event-based announcement for unnumbered interfaces advertises container IP addresses into a routed fabric automatically, introducing the next level of network automation and taking operations past the first step of automated configuration management.

         
Host Pack connectivity is provided through FRRouting on the Host and Container Advertiser

Web-scale Visibility

In addition to enhanced connectivity support, Host Pack ensures real-time reliability and uptime to hosts and containers with visibility provided by Cumulus NetQ on the Host. Cumulus NetQ, coupled with NetQ on the Host, unifies visibility of the entire network, including the hosts and containers within one system.

Host Pack visibility is provided through NetQ on the Host

Running the NetQ on the Host provides unprecedented visibility into the server side of the data center network, giving the network operator a complete view of the entire infrastructure's network connectivity. The NetQ Agent monitors the following services on Linux hosts:

  • FRRouting: BGP, OSPF
  • Kernel netlink events
  • Layer 2: LLDP and VLAN-aware bridges
  • Layer 3: IPv4, IPv6
  • systemctl for services

NetQ on the Host monitors containers through host-based telemetry including:

  • Identity: NetQ on the Host tracks every container's IP and MAC address, name, image and more. NetQ on the Host can locate containers across the fabric based on a container's name, image, IP or MAC address, and protocol and port pair.
  • Port mapping on a network: NetQ on the Host tracks protocol and ports exposed by a container. NetQ on the Host can identify containers exposing a specific protocol and port pair on a network.
  • Connectivity: NetQ on the Host can provide information on network connectivity for a container, including adjacency, and can identify containers that can be affected by a top of rack switch.

Supported Environments

Host Pack requires Cumulus Linux 3.3 and later and is supported on the following hosts and systems:

Host Pack FeatureUbuntuRed HatContainer
Connectivity
FRRouting on the HostUbuntu 16.04, 14.04

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

CentOS 7

Docker Engine

Docker Swarm

FRRouting in a containerUbuntu 16.04

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

CentOS 7

Docker Engine

Mesos Universal Container Runtime

Container AdvertiserUbuntu 16.04

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

CentOS 7

Docker Engine

Mesos Universal Container Runtime

Visibility
NetQ on the HostUbuntu 16.04

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

CentOS 7

Docker Engine

Docker Swarm

Getting Started

Where you get started with Host Pack depends upon which features you intend to use. 

  • If you want to use routing on your servers, or with the containers on a host, you need to install and configure FRRouting on the Host.
  • If you are using containers on your host servers, make sure Docker is installed.
  • If you want to use Container Advertiser, you need to install and configure it.
  • If you plan on using NetQ on the Host to monitor the hosts and containers, you need to install and configure it. 
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