As far as virtualization goes, you might typically picture virtual machines and things like VMware, Hyper-V, VPS’, and even OpenStack or containers. There is a lot more to virtualization than just that, as evidenced by a recent research expedition into OpenVSwitch and SDN (software defined networking). What started out as a way of automating the blocking of certain troublesome ports by default turned into this whole thing where you can provision a server and have it unblock particular ports by default, then you can have a user submit specific pieces of information and have that trigger another unlock system for other ports and so on.

Virtualization is much more than just the basic “take a hardware node and split it up into a bunch of virtual environments” anymore because you can virtualize so many other things. Virtual switches have been around for a long time in my view inside of VMware, but I never really had any use for them. All the networks I worked on were pretty simple and didn’t require extensive segregation or routing changes.

Then I started working at a VPS host and the complication of networks increased, so I started trying to learn more about it. I’ve done some fairly basic switching and routing stuff at my house, at least equivalent to what a small VPS provider might need to do, but in some of these things it gets pretty hairy. Way beyond my understanding.

I know that I am probably searching for the wrong stuff, but finding info on OpenVSwitch and how it integrates with hardware has been difficult. It’s pretty easy to figure out on a base-virtualization level, as you can just interact with the vSwitch as though it was a physical switch. You have your VMs “plugged” into specific ports on the switch and you can do whatever with it.

Anyway, virtualization applies to much more than just VMs anymore. I like how most of these posts devolve into some weird incoherent rant that vaguely borders on the subject in the original title.