Hands On Container Networking with Contiv


Vipin Jain Balaji Sivasubramanian

Vipin Jain and Balaji Sivasubramanian, Cisco Systems


Containers hold the promise of agile and efficient application delivery. Networking for container workloads would need to be as flexible and agile, yet interoperate/co-exist with non-container workloads. In this tutorial, we cover how a pluggable networking (Contiv, as an example) works for container applications. Specifically, look at the details of networking using CNM (container network model) or CNI (Container Network Interface) in a variety of container schedulers, for example Docker Swarm, Kubernetes, Mesos and/or Nomad.

Attendee Experience Level

Beginner to Intermediate

Student Requirements for Hands-On Portion

A laptop (MAC) installed with Git, Virtualbox 5.0 and Vagrant 7.1; Windows might work as long as Virtualbox VMs can come up on it via Vagrant.


  • Containers & Networking, what is different? – In attempt to answer the question we explore the significant challenges ahead for networking faces in advent of application delivery using containers.
  • Introduction to Container Networking – The basics will help understand the terminology and fundamental concepts used in CNM (Container Network Model by Docker), and CNI (Container Network Interface by CoreOS/Kubernetes). We discuss the elements both network models attempt to address and explore some available options.
  • Multi-Host Container Networking – Here we dig a bit more in container networking and do some hands-on exercise by spinning up some containers with a pluggable Contiv network. Subsequently, we get better understanding of creating multiple networks and use-cases thereof. We conclude this section by trying out container networking in a multi-host scenario integrated with container scheduler.
  • Connecting Containers to the External Networks – We dive a bit deeper to understand the options to connect container workloads to physical/external network in a private and public cloud. This section would be focused on the discussion around private cloud (i.e. on-premise data-center use case)
  • Providing Secure and Automatable Container Infrastructure – Next, we go into specifics of how network security policies could be applied between container application workloads, and as an example look at how Contiv Network can be sued to achieve this.
  • Explore Upcoming advances in Container Networking – Look at the latest in Container Networking and what Contiv attempts to solve in coming days. Time, permitting we explore the extensibility of various systems.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objective 1

Understand the fundamentals and challenges in networking, when deploying containers. Grasp various alternatives out there and consider the trade-offs.

Learning Objective 2

Get a good foundational understanding of container networking terminology and features. Learn and industry-wide open source efforts that industry is attempting to solve.

Learning Objective 3

Learn how to deploy and connect network to external network using Contiv.

Who Should Attend

Network Operations, DevOps, SecOps, Virtualization/Server Adminstrators, and Developers who plan to hack on to customize container networking