Networking (neutron) concepts

OpenStack Networking (neutron) manages all networking facets for the Virtual Networking Infrastructure (VNI) and the access layer aspects of the Physical Networking Infrastructure (PNI) in your OpenStack environment. OpenStack Networking enables projects to create advanced virtual network topologies which may include services such as a firewall, a load balancer, and a virtual private network (VPN).

Networking provides networks, subnets, and routers as object abstractions. Each abstraction has functionality that mimics its physical counterpart: networks contain subnets, and routers route traffic between different subnets and networks.

Any given Networking set up has at least one external network. Unlike the other networks, the external network is not merely a virtually defined network. Instead, it represents a view into a slice of the physical, external network accessible outside the OpenStack installation. IP addresses on the external network are accessible by anybody physically on the outside network.

In addition to external networks, any Networking set up has one or more internal networks. These software-defined networks connect directly to the VMs. Only the VMs on any given internal network, or those on subnets connected through interfaces to a similar router, can access VMs connected to that network directly.

For the outside network to access VMs, and vice versa, routers between the networks are needed. Each router has one gateway that is connected to an external network and one or more interfaces connected to internal networks. Like a physical router, subnets can access machines on other subnets that are connected to the same router, and machines can access the outside network through the gateway for the router.

Additionally, you can allocate IP addresses on external networks to ports on the internal network. Whenever something is connected to a subnet, that connection is called a port. You can associate external network IP addresses with ports to VMs. This way, entities on the outside network can access VMs.

Networking also supports security groups. Security groups enable administrators to define firewall rules in groups. A VM can belong to one or more security groups, and Networking applies the rules in those security groups to block or unblock ports, port ranges, or traffic types for that VM.

Each plug-in that Networking uses has its own concepts. While not vital to operating the VNI and OpenStack environment, understanding these concepts can help you set up Networking. All Networking installations use a core plug-in and a security group plug-in (or just the No-Op security group plug-in). Additionally, Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS) and Load-Balancer-as-a-Service (LBaaS) plug-ins are available.