Software-defined networking (SDN) provides a way to centrally configure and manage networks and network services such as switching, routing, and load balancing in your data center. In this post, I will introduce a new SDN deployment wizard in Windows Admin Center (WAC), and share our plans to make it even better! To learn more about SDN and what you can do with it in Azure Stack HCI, go to our public documentation and also check out our previous blog posts: Microsegmentation with Azure Stack HCI, Quality of Service policies for your workloads hosted on Azure Stack HCI, and Software Load Balancer in Azure Stack HCI.
To take advantage of SDN, users can deploy SDN through SCVMM, SDNExpress, or Windows Admin Center (WAC). Today, we’ll go through the SDN deployment experience in WAC. WAC is a browser-based, remote management toolset for managing Windows servers, clusters, hyper-converged infrastructure, as well as Windows 10 PCs. Earlier this year, the Azure Stack HCI cluster deployment wizard in WAC was released that enabled users to deploy their clusters, storage, and SDN!
However, this experience has a limitation… what if you already have a cluster and just want to deploy SDN at a later point of time?! Up until now, you would have to use the SDNExpress scripts, but today we are introducing a new simple experience through WAC that will enable you to deploy SDN after creating your cluster! Let’s take a look at the wizard in action.
With the Network Controller deployed, you can now deploy overlay virtual networks and configure User-Defined Routing (UDR) with these overlay virtual networks as well as take advantage of Microsegmentation and Quality of Service (QoS) policies with your traditional VLAN networks and your overlay virtual networks. For detailed instructions on using this wizard, go to Deploy SDN using Windows Admin Center.
As you might have already noticed, even this new experience has limitations; it still doesn't provide a way to deploy Software Load Balancers (SLB) or Gateways, both of which cannot be done through WAC at all. However, we are working to add both wizards in the same extension soon. With SLB, you will be able to configure load balancing and Network Address Translation (NAT) rules for virtual and traditional VLAN networks; load balancing will provide high availability and scale for your applications, and NAT will provide inbound and outbound internet access for your applications. With Gateways, you will be able to connect your virtual networks to external networks through IPSEC, GRE, and L3 gateway connections. For now, you can still use the SDNExpress scripts to deploy SLB and Gateways after deploying NC through WAC or run a full SDN deployment using just the scripts.
To sum up, we are introducing a new SDN deployment wizard in the SDN infrastructure extension in WAC. As you can see in the demo, this experience is streamlined and simple. Most of the parameters in the wizard are already prepopulated for you. By providing just a couple of basic parameters, you will be all done in just 2 clicks! Soon, we will also announce the Software Load Balancer (SLB) and Gateway deployment wizards.