The VMware vCloud NFV OpenStack Edition platform includes NSX-T Data Center as the virtualized networking component. NSX-T Data Center leverages DPDK techniques to support data plane intensive VNFs efficiently. The NSX-T Data Center networking stack increases the CPU efficiency while preserving the existing functionality of the VMware NFV infrastructure. The new high-performance switching and enhanced platform awareness delivers the VMware advanced networking architecture that will be transparent to VNF providers and delivers kernel-based security, deterministic resource allocation, and linear scalability.

vSphere introduces support for a high-performance networking mode that is called N-VDS Enhanced Data Path, which works together with NSX-T Data Center. NSX-T Data Center N-VDS provides logical switching fabric that works in two modes, a Standard NSX-controlled Virtual Distributed Switch (N-VDS Standard) and Enhanced NSX-controlled Virtual Distributed Switch (N-VDS Enhanced). N-VDS Enhanced implements key DPDK features such as, Poll Mode Driver, Flow Cache, optimized packet copy, and provides better performance for both small and large packet sizes applicable for NFV workloads. N-VDS Enhanced mode provides three to five times faster performance compared to the vSphere Distributed Switch. VNF vendors can now use a high-performance virtual switch without sacrificing any of the operational benefits of virtualization such as vMotion and DRS.

Both modes of the N-VDS switch use dedicated physical NICs that are not shared with other switches. Because of this, they can exist on the same host and carry different traffic types.

Table 1. NSX-T Data Center Logical Switch Mode Options
Switch Mode Use
N-VDS Enhanced
  • Recommended for data plane intensive workloads.
  • High transactional control plane VNFs.
  • Connectivity towards external networks is VLAN backed.
N-VDS Standard
  • Suitable for control and management plane workloads.
  • VNFs that require overlay and VLAN backed connectivity.
  • VNFs that require stateful and stateless Edge services such as load balancer, firewall, and NAT