Scott Lowe

Who’s Who in Virtual Networking: Scott Lowe

Scott Lowe

Scott Lowe

Who is he?

A longtime IT hand, Scott has filled just about any role you’d expect in IT — instructor, systems engineer, consultant, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and more. Today, he’s one of the most respected thinkers in the VMware community.

Where can you find him?

By day, Scott’s an engineering architect for VMware, focusing on network virtualization and software-defined networking (SDN), but by night Lowe is… well… not much of a crime-fighter. He is, though, fighting IT ignorance over at his blog and on Twitter @scott_lowe.  He speaks frequently and is credited with authoring or co-authoring six books: Mastering VMware vSphere 4, VMware vSphere 4 Administration Instant Reference, VMware vSphere Design, Mastering VMware vSphere 5, VMware vSphere Design, 2nd Edition, and Mastering VMware vSphere 5.5.

Why we like him?

Scott is one of the most prolific and followed virtualization thinkers around. He reaches nearly 16,000 followers on Twitter and is widely retweeted and cited. Read him to find out practical, unique insight into VMware. (See below for his awesome NSX series.)

His take on virtual network services:

“Just about every time I do a speaking engagement somewhere, I ask the attendees, “Who is being asked to do more with less?” (Sometimes I switch it around — do less with more — just to see if they are paying attention. Occasionally they aren’t.)

“Invariably, the majority of the audience responds in the affirmative. In my opinion, the only way to satisfy that demand is to create (or provide) greater levels of automation in the data center. Virtual network services, which I define as being able to instantiate network services that are decoupled from the physical network, generally on-demand and programmatically,  are therefore critically important moving forward. In fact, I would even say that if you’re not including network virtualization and virtual network services in your cloud design, you’re not really building a cloud. “Cloud” is all about the operational model, in my view: an operational model where you operate on pools of resources in a highly-automated way. How can you implement that model if all the major aspects of your data center — compute, storage, and networking — aren’t able to be automated and programmatically controlled?”

What’s he thinking about?

“I’m somewhat of a geek, so I don’t think I could pick just one technology! I’m a big fan of VMware NSX, although it’s not because I work for VMware. It’s actually the other way around: I work at VMware because I’m a fan of NSX. That being said, I’m also a big fan of Open vSwitch (OVS), which is used in a lot of software-defined networking (SDN) solutions from a variety of companies. OpenStack is also quite interesting, although I think there’s a lot of change ahead for OpenStack and the OpenStack community. I know a lot of people like to compare OpenStack to Linux, but I really disagree; I think they’ll follow very different paths. That’s not to say OpenStack won’t play a role moving forward, just that its role—and the path it takes to get there—will be very different than Linux. I’m an OS X user, but not an Apple bigot; I’d probably switch to Linux if I could find the apps I needed. Likewise, I have both an Apple iPhone and an Android phone, and see value in both solutions.”

What’s he writing about?

Learning NSX, Part 10: Adding a Service Node

Welcome to part 10 of the Learning NSX blog series, in which I will walk through adding an NSX service node to your NSX configuration.
In the event you’ve joined this series mid-way, here’s what I’ve covered thus far:

  • In part 1, I provided a high-level overview of NVP/NSX and its core components.
  • In part 2, I showed you how to build NVP/NSX controllers and configure them into a controller cluster.
  • In part 3, you saw how to install and configure NVP/NSX Manager, a web-based GUI that you can use to configure certain aspects of NVP/NSX.
  • In part 4, I walked you through the process of adding hypervisors to NVP/NSX.
  • In part 5, I showed you how to create a logical network that could be used to connect VMs to each other independent of the underlying physical network topology.
  • In part 6, I took you through adding an NVP/NSX gateway appliance to your environment, setting the stage for you to later add L2/L3 connectivity in and out of your logical networks.
  • Part 7 and part 8 focused on the transition of this blog series from NVP to NSX; no substantially new information was shared.
  • In part 9, we leveraged the gateway appliance from part 6 to add a layer 3 gateway service that can provide L3 (routed) connectivity into or out of your logical networks.

In this installation of the series, I’ll walk you through setting up an NSX service node and adding it to the NSX domain. Before I do that, though, it’s probably useful to set some context around the role a service node plays in an NSX environment…

Managing Open vSwitch with Puppet

In this post, I’m going to show you how to manage Open vSwitch (OVS) using the popular open source configuration management tool Puppet. This is not the first time I’ve written about this topic; in the past I showed you how to automate OVS configuration with Puppet via a hack utilizing some RHEL-OVS integrations. This post, however, focuses on the use of an actual Puppet module that will manage the configuration of OVS, a much cleaner solution—in my view, at least—than leveraging the file-based integrations I discussed earlier…

Installing Ubuntu Packages from a Specific Repository

In this article, I’ll show you how to install Ubuntu packages from a specific repository. It’s not that this is a terribly difficult process, but it also isn’t necessarily intuitive for those who haven’t had to do it before. I ran into this while trying to install an alpha release of LXC 1.0.0 for my recent post on automatically connecting LXC to Open vSwitch (OVS)…

And outside of work?

“I do have a couple of projects in the works, but that’s not how I unwind. When I need to unwind, it’s spending time with my family or hitting the mountains in my Jeep — preferably hitting the mountains in my Jeep with my family! Unlike a lot of people, I actually like writing, so sometimes doing a bit of writing — even though it’s typically technical in nature — can help me unwind and make sense of the information swirling around in my head. Ultimately, though, it’s my family and my faith that keep me sane day after day.”


Watch this space for more entries in this series on the shapers and engagers in the world of virtual network services.