Kubernetes ensures that pods are able to network with each other, and allocates each pod an IP address from an internal network. This ensures all containers within the pod behave as if they were on the same host. Giving each pod its own IP address means that pods can be treated like physical hosts or virtual machines in terms of port allocation, networking, naming, service discovery, load balancing, application configuration, and migration.

Creating links between pods is unnecessary. However, it is not recommended that you have a pod talk to another directly by using the IP address. Instead, we recommend that you create a service, then interact with the service.

OpenShift Origin DNS

If you are running multiple services, such as frontend and backend services for use with multiple pods, in order for the frontend pods to communicate with the backend services, environment variables are created for user names, service IP, and more. If the service is deleted and recreated, a new IP address can be assigned to the service, and requires the frontend pods to be recreated in order to pick up the updated values for the service IP environment variable. Additionally, the backend service has to be created before any of the frontend pods to ensure that the service IP is generated properly and that it can be provided to the frontend pods as an environment variable.

For this reason, OpenShift Origin has a built-in DNS so that the services can be reached by the service DNS as well as the service IP/port. OpenShift Origin supports split DNS by running SkyDNS on the master that answers DNS queries for services. The master listens to port 53 by default.

When the node starts, the following message indicates the Kubelet is correctly resolved to the master:

0308 19:51:03.118430    4484 node.go:197] Started Kubelet for node
openshiftdev.local, server at
I0308 19:51:03.118459    4484 node.go:199]   Kubelet is setting as a
DNS nameserver for domain "local"

If the second message does not appear, the Kubernetes service may not be available.

On a node host, each container’s nameserver has the master name added to the front, and the default search domain for the container will be .<pod_namespace>.cluster.local. The container will then direct any nameserver queries to the master before any other nameservers on the node, which is the default behavior for Docker-formatted containers. The master will answer queries on the .cluster.local domain that have the following form:

Table 1. DNS Example Names
Object Type Example







This prevents having to restart frontend pods in order to pick up new services, which creates a new IP for the service. This also removes the need to use environment variables, as pods can use the service DNS. Also, as the DNS does not change, you can reference database services as db.local in config files. Wildcard lookups are also supported, as any lookups resolve to the service IP, and removes the need to create the backend service before any of the frontend pods, since the service name (and hence DNS) is established upfront.

This DNS structure also covers headless services, where a portal IP is not assigned to the service and the kube-proxy does not load-balance or provide routing for its endpoints. Service DNS can still be used and responds with multiple A records, one for each pod of the service, allowing the client to round-robin between each pod.

Network Plug-ins

OpenShift Origin supports the Kubernetes Container Network Interface (CNI) as the interface between the OpenShift Origin and Kubernetes. Software defined network (SDN) plug-ins are a powerful and flexible way to match network capabilities to your networking needs. There are several OpenShift SDN plugins available, as well as third party plug-ins. Additional plug-ins that support the CNI interface can be added as needed.

The following network plug-ins are currently supported by OpenShift Origin:

OpenShift SDN

OpenShift Origin deploys a software-defined networking (SDN) approach for connecting pods in an OpenShift Origin cluster. The OpenShift SDN connects all pods across all node hosts, providing a unified cluster network.

OpenShift SDN is automatically installed and configured as part of the Ansible-based installation procedure. See the OpenShift SDN section for more information.

Flannel SDN

Flannel is an alternative SDN. See the Flannel SDN topic for more information.

Contiv SDN

Contiv is an alternative SDN. See Contiv SDN for more information.

Nuage SDN for OpenShift Origin

Nuage Networks' SDN solution delivers highly scalable, policy-based overlay networking for pods in an OpenShift Origin cluster. Nuage SDN can be installed and configured as a part of the Ansible-based installation procedure. See the Advanced Installation section for information on how to install and deploy OpenShift Origin with Nuage SDN.

Nuage Networks provides a highly scalable, policy-based SDN platform called Virtualized Services Platform (VSP). Nuage VSP uses an SDN Controller, along with the open source Open vSwitch for the data plane.

Nuage uses overlays to provide policy-based networking between OpenShift Origin and other environments consisting of VMs and bare metal servers. The platform’s real-time analytics engine enables visibility and security monitoring for OpenShift Origin applications.

Nuage VSP integrates with OpenShift Origin to allows business applications to be quickly turned up and updated by removing the network lag faced by DevOps teams.

Nuage VSP Integration with OpenShift Origin
Figure 1. Nuage VSP Integration with OpenShift Origin

There are two specific components responsible for the integration.

  1. The nuage-openshift-monitor service, which runs as a separate service on the OpenShift Origin master node.

  2. The vsp-openshift plug-in, which is invoked by the OpenShift Origin runtime on each of the nodes of the cluster.

Nuage Virtual Routing and Switching software (VRS) is based on open source Open vSwitch and is responsible for the datapath forwarding. The VRS runs on each node and gets policy configuration from the controller.

Nuage VSP Terminology

Nuage VSP Building Blocks
Figure 2. Nuage VSP Building Blocks
  1. Domains: An organization contains one or more domains. A domain is a single "Layer 3" space. In standard networking terminology, a domain maps to a VRF instance.

  2. Zones: Zones are defined under a domain. A zone does not map to anything on the network directly, but instead acts as an object with which policies are associated such that all endpoints in the zone adhere to the same set of policies.

  3. Subnets: Subnets are defined under a zone. A subnet is a specific Layer 2 subnet within the domain instance. A subnet is unique and distinct within a domain, that is, subnets within a Domain are not allowed to overlap or to contain other subnets in accordance with the standard IP subnet definitions.

  4. VPorts: A VPort is a new level in the domain hierarchy, intended to provide more granular configuration. In addition to containers and VMs, VPorts are also used to attach Host and Bridge Interfaces, which provide connectivity to Bare Metal servers, Appliances, and Legacy VLANs.

  5. Policy Group: Policy Groups are collections of VPorts.

Mapping of Constructs

Many OpenShift Origin concepts have a direct mapping to Nuage VSP constructs:

Nuage VSP and OpenShift Origin mapping
Figure 3. Nuage VSP and OpenShift Origin mapping

A Nuage subnet is not mapped to an OpenShift Origin node, but a subnet for a particular project can span multiple nodes in OpenShift Origin.

A pod spawning in OpenShift Origin translates to a virtual port being created in VSP. The vsp-openshift plug-in interacts with the VRS and gets a policy for that virtual port from the VSD via the VSC. Policy Groups are supported to group multiple pods together that must have the same set of policies applied to them. Currently, pods can only be assigned to policy groups using the operations workflow where a policy group is created by the administrative user in VSD. The pod being a part of the policy group is specified by means of nuage.io/policy-group label in the specification of the pod.

Integration Components

Nuage VSP integrates with OpenShift Origin using two main components:

  1. nuage-openshift-monitor

  2. vsp-openshift plugin


nuage-openshift-monitor is a service that monitors the OpenShift Origin API server for creation of projects, services, users, user-groups, etc.

In case of a Highly Available (HA) OpenShift Origin cluster with multiple masters, nuage-openshift-monitor process runs on all the masters independently without any change in functionality.

For the developer workflow, nuage-openshift-monitor also auto-creates VSD objects by exercising the VSD REST API to map OpenShift Origin constructs to VSP constructs. Each cluster instance maps to a single domain in Nuage VSP. This allows a given enterprise to potentially have multiple cluster installations - one per domain instance for that Enterprise in Nuage. Each OpenShift Origin project is mapped to a zone in the domain of the cluster on the Nuage VSP. Whenever nuage-openshift-monitor sees an addition or deletion of the project, it instantiates a zone using the VSDK APIs corresponding to that project and allocates a block of subnet for that zone. Additionally, the nuage-openshift-monitor also creates a network macro group for this project. Likewise, whenever nuage-openshift-monitor sees an addition ordeletion of a service, it creates a network macro corresponding to the service IP and assigns that network macro to the network macro group for that project (user provided network macro group using labels is also supported) to enable communication to that service.

For the developer workflow, all pods that are created within the zone get IPs from that subnet pool. The subnet pool allocation and management is done by nuage-openshift-monitor based on a couple of plug-in specific parameters in the master-config file. However the actual IP address resolution and vport policy resolution is still done by VSD based on the domain/zone that gets instantiated when the project is created. If the initial subnet pool is exhausted, nuage-openshift-monitor carves out an additional subnet from the cluster CIDR to assign to a given project.

For the operations workflow, the users specify Nuage recognized labels on their application or pod specification to resolve the pods into specific user-defined zones and subnets. However, this cannot be used to resolve pods in the zones or subnets created via the developer workflow by nuage-openshift-monitor.

In the operations workflow, the administrator is responsible for pre-creating the VSD constructs to map the pods into a specific zone/subnet as well as allow communication between OpenShift entities (ACL rules, policy groups, network macros, and network macro groups). Detailed description of how to use Nuage labels is provided in the Nuage VSP Openshift Integration Guide.

vsp-openshift Plug-in

The vsp-openshift networking plug-in is called by the OpenShift Origin runtime on each OpenShift Origin node. It implements the network plug-in init and pod setup, teardown, and status hooks. The vsp-openshift plug-in is also responsible for allocating the IP address for the pods. In particular, it communicates with the VRS (the forwarding engine) and configures the IP information onto the pod.