Weave Net 1.5 Embraces CNI for SDN

Weaveworks is now embracing the new Container Networking Interface (CNI) standard used by Kubernetes.

With Weave Net 1.5, officially released today, Weave Net goes beyond its Docker container roots. That said, Docker and CNI are not exactly polar opposites either. Weaveworks COO Mathew Lodge explained to Enterprise Networking Planet that CNI and Docker Networking (libnetwork) have similar aims.

“Libnetwork enables Docker Networking for the Docker platform, including the entire Docker toolchain such as Swarm, UCP and others,” Lodge said.

The libnetwork component in Docker first became available as a technology preview in the Docker 1.7 release in June 2015 and became generally available with Docker 1.9 in November 2015. The technology in part was based on and developed from engineers and assets that Docker Inc gained by way the company’s acquisition of SocketPlane.

Lodge noted that in many respects, libnetwork is simpler than CNI for container networking.

“CNI doesn’t assume Docker Network; it allows the plug-in to determine what the network capabilities are,” Lodge explained. “So there’s more scope for the network to define what the capabilities are.”

That said, Lodge noted that overall, Weave lets applications use the same network approach on both Docker and Kubernetes, regardless of what interface is used.

Lodge explained that Weave Net emulates a Layer 2 network. On each Docker host, it looks like a virtual Ethernet bridge. Between Docker hosts, it’s Layer 2 over VXLAN (Ethernet over IP tunnel), which is layer 2 over layer 3.

Beyond CNI support, with Weave Net 1.5, Lodge said that the main improvements are around performance under adverse conditions, such as Docker Daemon restart, host re-start and other failures.

“Weave Net now persists information between reboots that help it start up faster,” Lodge said.

Looking forward, Lodge noted that Weaveworks will be announcing new software and services to help customers accelerate the journey to microservices with containers at DockerCon 2016 in June.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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