Lippis Report 153: Why Ethernet will be the dominant Two Tier High End Data Center Network Fabric

July 27th, 2010

nicklippis.jpgIn Lippis Report 151: A Two or Three Tier High-End Data Center Ethernet Fabric Architecture? we detailed the new two tier data center Ethernet fabric that is becoming conventional wisdom amongst business leaders of high end data centers and cloud computing service providers. The networking industry is headed for a major innovation and competitive cycle fueled by a multi-billion dollar addressable market for data center network fabrics. Over the last eighteen months, every major Ethernet infrastructure provider has announced or taken a position on two tier network fabrics for high-end data centers. Companies such as Cisco, Arista Networks, Force10, Voltaire, HP/3Com, Juniper, Extreme, Brocade, BLADE Network Technology, et al have announced network fabrics for data centers with two thousand and more servers that either support storage enablement or not. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we review why it is Ethernet that will be the network fabric of high performance computing or HPC and cloud computing deployments.

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Cloud Networking Platform

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July 27th, 2010

Servers, storage and networks form the anchors of today’s IT infrastructure. Companies around the world are constantly seeking to enhance this infrastructure. With 10GbE connectivity the new infrastructure requirements are distinctive and differ in many ways from the needs of traditional enterprise IT needs. The new environments often require unique compute density, power density and ultra low latency. Such hyper-scale computing environments – where deployments are measured by up to millions of servers, storage and networking equipment – are changing the way they approach IT to drive growth and decrease operational expenses.

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STP MiTM Attack and L2 Mitigation Techniques on the Cisco Catalyst 6500

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July 27th, 2010

By Cisco Systems

Spanning-Tree Protocol (STP) can be easily compromised by eavesdropping in a switched corporate environment, but this vulnerability can be mitigated using L2 security features that are available on the Cisco® Catalyst® 6500. STP Man in The Middle (MiTM) attack compromises the STP “Root Bridge” election process and allows a hacker to use their PC to masquerade as a “Root Bridge,” thus controlling the flow of L2 traffic. To understand the attack, the reader must have a basic understanding of the “Root Bridge” Election process and the initial STP operations that build the loop free topology. This paper provides an overview of the STP Root Bridge Election Process, STP MiTM Attack Guide and Mitigation Techniques for STP attacks.

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Lippis Report 152: How Microsoft Killed The Unified Communications Interoperability Forum Before It Started

July 13th, 2010

nicklippis.jpgIn the Lippis Report Research Note 150, we discussed the new industry group called Unified Communications Interoperability Forum or UNIF and compared it to other industry consortium charted to deliver interoperable solutions. While interoperability is sorely needed in the UC industry, it looks like Microsoft killed its changes of broad industry success before it started. What I hear from both UCIF members and non-members is that UCIF is controlled by Microsoft, and thus, lacks a large cross section of industry players as well as major UC providers. With its current structure, UCIF will make limited headway on its charter. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we review UCIF and its’ opportunities.
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Moving to IP Saves Costs, Boosts Productivity

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July 13th, 2010

By Cisco Systems

The Cisco® Unified Communications Manager Session Management Edition integrates multivendor private branch exchanges into one network and centralizes applications. The Cisco Unified Border Element works with it to route traffic on secure cost-saving Session Initiation Protocol trunks. Together they help workers around the world achieve higher productivity through high-performance collaboration tools.

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Nick’s Take on Tier 2 vs Tier 3 Data Center Network Fabric

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July 1st, 2010

This vidcast is a short video presentation on two and three tier network fabrics for high end data centers. Cisco’s FabricPath Switching System and F-Series module for the Nexus 7000 are reviewed along with a case study

A Simpler Data Center Fabric Emerges For The Age of Massively Scalable Data Centers

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July 1st, 2010

By Nick Lippis, the Lippis Report

A number of independent trends are driving a new age of massively scalable data centers. One of these trends include a new IT delivery model based upon cloud computing, where large hosting facilities provide a range of IT services to corporations and governments. Further, high performance computing (HPC) facilities built via server clusters on the order of thousands to tens of thousands of servers and more has ushered in new favorable economics, thanks to its use of x86 commodity hardware. The growth of public hosting and HPC facilities will only continue as efficient data center economics point to a fewer number of highly dense sites. It is this data center market segment, where the number of servers per facility is greater than 5,000, that we focus this white paper from a perspective of fabric, connecting servers and storage to internet/intranet via high performance Ethernet networking. For IT architects and designers of high-end data centers, this is the most important network design paper you will read this year.

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Cisco Launches FabricPath Switching System For Scalable Data Center Ethernet Fabrics

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July 1st, 2010

Craig GriffinMassively scalable data centers have unique requirements such as low latency, high performance, non-stop operation, simplicity of design, workload mobility and storage transport support. To address these requirements Cisco launched FabricPath, which is a scalable multi-link and multipath technology allowing 2 to 48 Nexus 7000s to be configured in a large, non-blocking Ethernet switch fabric. This fabric, called a FabricPath Switching System or FSS, eliminates oversubscription and creates a two-tier fabric. In addition to FabricPath, Cisco launched its’ F-Series 10GbE module for the Nexus 7000, which offers 32 ports of auto-sensing 1/10GbE targeted at server access, aggregation and FCoE implementations solutions. Craig Griffin, Senior Director of Product Management for Cisco’s Nexus 7000 discusses new Ethernet innovations for the age of massively scalable data centers.

A white paper on the topic is available here: