Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Lori MacVittie, Greg Ness, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: SDN Journal, Java, Linux, Virtualization, Cloud Expo, Security

SDN Journal: Blog Post

What SDN Can Do for Multicast Topologies

IP Multicast is one of those technologies that most everyone loves to hate

IP Multicast is one of those technologies that most everyone loves to hate. It’s almost the perfect example of how complicated we have made networking. Getting IP Multicast to run depends on several protocols that are all somewhat intertwined or dependent on each, their relationship sometimes explicit, sometimes implicit.

Even trying to describe the basic operation is complicated.

When an application or service provides information using IP multicast, it simply starts sending it onto a specific multicast group. The multicast router for the subnet of the sender sees the incoming multicast packet and will initially have no forwarding information for that stream in its forwarding hardware. The packet is passed onto the CPU of that router, which will encapsulate this packet and send it towards a special multicast router designated the Rendez-vous Point (RP). When the RP has installed the multicast routes for this group, it will tell the multicast router on the sender’s segment to stop sending. When it does, this router installs its own multicast routes for the source tree (the tree specific to this sender) and the shared tree (the one towards the RP) without any outgoing interfaces, and the traffic is dropped at this first router. But, the network (well at least the part between the sender and the RP) is now aware of this multicast stream. And who is sending.

Now when we want to join this IP Multicast group, the first action is send an IGMP join out on the subnet you are attached to. The IP Multicast router that serves this subnet sees the join and determines where RP can be found. It takes the client join, and sends it towards the RP, using the unicast routing table as its guide. Every multicast router along the way registers that there is a listener on the interface this join came in on and passes it along towards the IP. All along this path, the unicast routing entry for the RP is used to create the tree towards the listener.

Once received by the RP, the shared tree and the source tree towards the sender have been joined. We have an end to end path between sender and receiver, with the RP in the middle of it all. All that is left is to send a join from the RP towards the router on the sender’s subnet to essentially tell it to start passing the actual multicast along the path towards the RP (the source tree), where the RP will then push it out onto the shared tree towards the destination. Voila, it’s as simple as that.

But wait, we are not done. Once the packets start to flow from source to destination, the multicast router closest to the destination will send another join message for this group, but this time towards the sender. It is only now that it can do this because those first few data packets actually indicate who the sender is. That join is passed router to router to router towards the router on the sender’s subnet, and once arrived, that router will now also start sending the multicast data along that path towards the receiver. The receiving subnet router sees that stream appearing and will now send a prune message onto the shared tree towards the RP, indicating it no longer needs the multicast stream through the RP.

If you are not familiar with IP Multicast and after reading the above are not confused, congratulations, your brain is very well wired for complex networking.

If you step away from how IGMP and PIM implement this today as above, the most fundamental of IP multicast topologies is that you need to build a forwarding tree that is rooted in the source, with the destinations as its leaves. At each intermediate node in the tree, the packets are replicated to its branches, therefore creating the least amount of duplication. And by using a tree, it is loop free, packets won’t swirl around the network bringing it to its knees.

The challenging part though is that the tree is based on the unicast forwarding topology. From a leaf on this tree towards the sender, each step is identical to how a unicast IP packet would be forwarded. The forwarding topologies are connected and dependent on each other. IP Multicast is built on top of a unicast routed infrastructure, and unicast routing changes can have dramatic impacts to the multicast forwarding topologies.

I mentioned here before that I once spent a wonderful 2 weeks in Delhi working on a network where surveillance cameras created an aggregate 8Gbit/sec worth of multicast data, with a requirement that any unicast change would have limited impact to these streams. Believe me, it is extremely hard to engineer and tune, and we had the luxury of hijacking a really large network night after night to simulate failures.

SDN based architectures have the opportunity to change all this. Multicast forwarding was designed the way it was designed to work on arbitrary network topologies, with random senders and receivers coming and going. It builds trees on the fly and on demand. For many networks, topologies are not arbitrary, and those applications that consume/produce lots of multicast do not have randomly placed senders and receivers that come and go as they please.  Many of them are well known or placed in fairly static and fixed topologies.

A controller with a global view of the network can create multicast topologies ahead of time. It knows all possible replication points and can create distribution trees among them. It can create different distribution trees for different multicast groups. It can create them independent of the unicast forwarding. It can calculate backup topologies in case portions of the tree fail. And it can do all of that guaranteeing there are no loops and optimal replication. When applications indicate their participation in specific multicast streams as senders or listeners to this controller, it can optimize very specifically based on those participants. The possibilities are endless.

We had a customer visit us yesterday that has very significant multicast needs and we walked him through some of these possibilities. He left with a huge smile on his face. And that smile on his face was not because he really liked what we built (even though he did), but it was because we showed him that if you remove legacy network thinking and constraints, networking can yet again be extremely exciting and creates solutions that he did not think were possible, in a fairly simple and straightforward way. And that, in turn, is truly exciting to us.

The post What SDN can do for Multicast Topologies appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Marten Terpstra

Marten Terpstra is a Product Management Director at Plexxi Inc. Marten has extensive knowledge of the architecture, design, deployment and management of enterprise and carrier networks.

@CloudExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that SOA Software, an API management leader, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SOA Software is a leading provider of API Management and SOA Governance products that equip business to deliver APIs and SOA together to drive their company to meet its business strategy quickly and effectively. SOA Software’s technology helps businesses to accel...
As cloud gives an opportunity to businesses to buy services externally - how is cloud impacting your customers? In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Fabio Gori, Director of Worldwide Cloud Marketing at Cisco, will provide answers to big questions: Do you see hybrid cloud as where the world is going? What benefits does it bring? And how does Cisco connect all of these clouds? He will also tell us everything about Intercloud and Cisco investment on it.
Can we look to the paradigm of cloud computing from a completely different perspective? In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Gundars Kulups, Sales Director at DEAC, will discuss what we can learn from our dining habits when choosing a cloud solution. Gundars Kulups is Sales Director at DEAC, full service data center operator. An IT expert, he specializes in European countries and has worked in the IT industry since 1992. He graduated from Riga Technical University (RTU) in Latvia and com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TMCnet has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) is the world's leading business to business and integrated marketing media company, servicing niche markets within the communications and technology industries.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue bu...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Parasoft will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 27 years, Parasoft has researched and developed software solutions that help organizations deliver defect-free software efficiently. By integrating Development Testing, API/cloud/SOA/composite app testing, and service virtualization, we reduce the time, effort, and cost of delivering secur...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., will show what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customiz...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, will describe an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-devic...
Until recently, many organizations required specialized departments to perform mapping and geospatial analysis, and they used Esri on-premise solutions for that work. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Dave Peters, author of the Esri Press book Building a GIS, System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers, will discuss how Esri has successfully included the cloud as a fully integrated SaaS expansion of the ArcGIS mapping platform. Organizations that have incorporated Esri cloud-based appl...
Once the decision has been made to move part or all of a workload to the cloud, a methodology for selecting that workload needs to be established. How do you move to the cloud? What does the discovery, assessment and planning look like? What workloads make sense? Which cloud model makes sense for each workload? What are the considerations for how to select the right cloud model? And how does that fit in with the overall IT tranformation? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, John Hatem, head of V...
Dyn solutions are at the core of Internet Performance. Through traffic management, message management and performance assurance, Dyn is connecting people through the Internet and ensuring information gets where it needs to go, faster and more reliably than ever before. Founded in 2001 at WPI, Dyn’s global presence services more than four million enterprise, small business and personal customers.
IBM and Tencent Cloud signed a business cooperation memorandum to collaborate on providing public cloud with Software-as-a-Service solutions for industries. Both parties agreed to focus on emerging small and medium enterprises in the smarter cities and smarter healthcare industries as well as other fields. This will enable these industries to utilize mobile, cloud computing and big data tools to transform internal processes and operations, thus achieving cloud transformation in the era of mobili...
SimpleECM is the only platform to offer a powerful combination of enterprise content management (ECM) services, capture solutions, and third-party business services providing simplified integrations and workflow development for solution providers. SimpleECM is opening the market to businesses of all sizes by reinventing the delivery of ECM services. Our APIs make the development of ECM services simple with the use of familiar technologies for a frictionless integration directly into web applicat...
European data center operator DEAC is the largest in the Baltics. The activities are orientated to provide data center services and IT outsourcing on Eurasia and America scale in order to create the primary or backup or additional data center for customer in the EU, to protect its business and, most importantly, reduce costs up to 40% within 3-5 years. DEAC is an IT outsourcing services and solutions company whose highly experienced and qualified employees offer various groups of services and...
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Ashar Baig, Research ...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: ...
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: S...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
When an enterprise builds a hybrid IaaS cloud connecting its data center to one or more public clouds, security is often a major topic along with the other challenges involved. Security is closely intertwined with the networking choices made for the hybrid cloud. Traditional networking approaches for building a hybrid cloud try to kludge together the enterprise infrastructure with the public cloud. Consequently this approach requires risky, deep "surgery" including changes to firewalls, subnets...