Performance and Reliability on the Horizon for Neutron L2/L3 Agents

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The Cloud-A team attended the OpenStack Summit 12:05PM Track on “Neutron L2 and L3 agents: How They Work and How Kilo Improves Them” by Carl Baldwin of HP and Rossella Sblendido of SUSE. We wanted to arm ourselves with knowledge to help us make informed decisions about our networking upgrade paths and also about the additional value that upgrading to OpenStack Kilo will bring to our customers. The track provided an overview of the L2 and L3 deficiencies before Kilo and the enhancements and performance gains that will be possible in future releases of OpenStack.

Rossella Sblendido discussed the changes in the L2 agent for OpenStack Kilo. In a nutshell, the L2 agents in Kilo will do a better job of listening to changes in OpenvSwitch, the virtual switch used by OpenStack Neutron. This will allow for a smarter Neutron, giving it the ability to respond to networks changes faster, and with less disruptions.

Carl Baldwin, of HP, outlined the changes to the L3 agent for Kilo – and this is where we at Cloud-A are excited! The OpenStack Neutron team have completely rewritten the L3 agent for Kilo. The problem with the L3 agent in the past is it was one massive agent that had to handle all three OpenStack router types – legacy routing, HA routing and distributed virtual routing (DVR). This meant that the agent was clunky and slow because it did all of the work for all three router types. In Kilo, they have written one core, generic routing class and subclasses for all of the specific routing types. Baldwin compared the former L3 agent as the handyman, or the “jack of all trades” who had to know a little about everything and was stretched thin, and the new L3 agent as the “general contractor” who knows which sub-agent to “hire” for the right job. This new architecture should allow for higher performance and reliability in Neutron.

We are excited about these changes at Cloud-A. We are always evaluating new ideas and concepts in our upgrade paths to ensure that we bring the most value possible to our customers. Reliability and performance is key in any networking scenario. We will continue to evaluate these changes in the OpenStack Kilo and take them into consideration in our upgrade paths.

Stay tuned for more inside information from the team attending the conference as we will be posting our thoughts from Vancouver all week long!

Here is a link to the talk:

Carl Baldwin OpenStack Summit Schedule

Rossella Sblendido OpenStack Summit Schedule

UPDATE: Check out the Neutron Agent talk for yourself!