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 Provider networks

Networks can be categorized as either tenant networks or provider networks. Tenant networks are created by normal users. Details about how these networks are physically realized remain hidden from those users. Provider networks are created with administrative credentials, specifying the details of how the network is physically realized. Provider networks usually match an existing network in the data center.

Provider networks enable cloud administrators to create virtual networks that map directly to the physical networks in the data center. This is commonly used to give tenants direct access to a public network, which can be used to reach the Internet. It might also be used to integrate with VLANs in the network that already have a defined meaning (for example, enable a VM from the "marketing" department to be placed on the same VLAN as bare-metal marketing hosts in the same data center).

The provider extension allows administrators to explicitly manage the relationship between virtual networks and underlying physical mechanisms such as VLANs and tunnels. When this extension is supported, client users with administrative privileges see additional provider attributes on all virtual networks and are able to specify these attributes in order to create provider networks.

The provider extension is supported by the Open vSwitch and Linux Bridge plug-ins. Configuration of these plug-ins requires familiarity with this extension.

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