Lippis Report 167: Alcatel-Lucent Jumps into the Data Center Switching Market with Its OmniSwitch 10K

February 28th, 2011

nicklippis.jpgThe data center switching market is heating up. To address the scale issues posed by mobile and cloud computing nearly every network vendor is launching its own version of a 10/40/100 GbE fabric to connect servers and storage to the internet. At the heart of this fabric is a two-tier (Fat-Tree) network made up of leaf/ToR and spine/Core switches. Here leafs connect servers and spines connect leafs while also being interconnected in a logical mesh. The protocols to create this logical mesh are based upon IS-IS link state routing, but each vendor is taking a unique approach with Cisco using its FastPath, Alcatel-Lucent and Avaya using SPB (802.1aq Shortest Path Bridging) while Brocade VDX is based upon TRILL (Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links). Juniper recently announced QFabric but has not detailed what it’s using for logical meshing. At the center of new data center design are leaf and spine switches. In Lippis Report Research Note 166, we detailed the latest ToR switches. In this Lippis Report Research Note 167, we dive into performance and power consumption measurements plus the use of SPB of Alcatel-Lucent’s OmniSwitch 10K, a new entry into spine/core data center switching market.

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Cisco Unified Network Services: Overcome Obstacles to Cloud-Ready Deployments

February 28th, 2011

By Cisco Systems

Deploying network services in virtual data centers is extremely challenging. Traditionally, such Layer 4 through 7 services relied on intrusive, inline deployment and static network topologies. They were thus completely at odds with highly scalable virtual data center designs with mobile workloads, on-demand virtual machine (VM) provisioning, and strict service-level agreements (SLAs).

Cisco® Unified Network Services (UNS) addresses all of these problems by creating a framework for multiple services that can be configured and provisioned on demand, dynamically, to suit the service needs of enterprise applications and cloud users. This dramatically reduces network management overhead, allowing for a much more agile data center and business while providing improved application performance and a secure infrastructure. Cisco UNS comprises Cisco’s industry-leading solutions for virtual data centers that deliver.

● Load balancing and application controllers
● WAN acceleration
● Network security
● Network analysis and monitoring

Announcing New 10/40GbE DC Industry Evaluation: Spring 2011

February 22nd, 2011

I am happy to announce the availability of our second round of industry data center switching performance and power consumption test evaluating 10/40GbE fabrics. 

Test week is scheduled for April 4-8, 2011. Equipment suppliers have until end of day PT March 11, 2011 to signup, but don’t wait until then, as test slots will be gone. There are only a few test spots available as we have received a number of commitments already. 

The test prospectus can be downloaded HERE detailing logistics, test methodology, schedule, test result promotion and FAQs. 

The Spring 2011 test report license agreement is available too. Please request a copy by sending email to with “license agreement” in the subject.

Lippis Report 166: A New Generation of Top-of-Rack Data Center 10GbE Switching Is Here

February 14th, 2011

nicklippis.jpgDuring December 6-10, 2010, the Lippis Report and Ixia conducted the industry’s first 10GbE data center switching evaluation of Top-of-Rack and Core Ethernet switches at the modern iSimCity lab in Santa Clara, CA. We evaluated Alcatel-Lucent’s OmniSwitch 10K, Arista’s 7504 Series Data Center Switch, BLADE Network Technologies’, an IBM Company, IBM BNT RackSwitch G8124 and IBM BNT RackSwitch G8264, Force10 Network’s S-Series S4810, Hitachi Cable’s Apresia 15000-64XL-PSR, Juniper Network’s EX Series EX8216 Ethernet Switch and Voltaire®’s Vantage™ 6048. We are conducting a second round of test scheduled for the week of April 4-8 at iSimCity, and it is open to all suppliers of 10GbE data center switching. We learned a lot about these products, both in the lab and out. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we dive into the Top-of-Rack 10GbE switches we tested as they represent a new generation of products that exhibit low power consumption, low latency, high performance and are all based upon new single chip designs from Broadcom, Marvell or Fulcrum Micro.

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It’s Not Your Father’s Network

February 14th, 2011

By Ken Won, Director of Product Marketing at Force10 Networks

Server and storage environments have seen a lot of changes in the past ten years, while developments in networking have remained fairly static. Now, the demands of virtualization and network convergence are driving significant changes in the data center network. Networks have always been considered as plumbing that connect servers and storage, but new, dynamic switches are changing the network’s role in the overall data center. It’s not your father’s network anymore, and savvy data center managers need to understand and plan for the changes that are coming.

This white paper discusses new network technologies, explains what they are, and suggests how to plan for them in future data center architectures.

Cisco Integrated Services Routers Generation 2

February 14th, 2011

by Cisco Systems

Cisco® Borderless Networks is a next-generation architecture that helps IT evolve its infrastructure to deliver seamless, secure and reliable access in a world with many new and shifting borders. The Cisco Integrated Services Routers Generation 2 (ISR G2) constitute a critical component of the Cisco Borderless Network Architecture and deliver performance requirements for the next generation of WAN and network services, enabling the cost-effective delivery of high-definition collaboration at the branch office, and providing a secure transition to the next generation of cloud and virtualized network services. This white paper discusses the concept of integrated services as they apply to the branch-office router, and how they help to enable the borderless branch office for small- to medium-sized business, large enterprises and service providers offering managed services.

Arista Zero Touch Provisioning “From Zero to Hero, in 20 Minutes”

February 14th, 2011

By Arista Networks

While servers and applications have fully embraced the concepts of automation, sadly the network infrastructure, on which they all rely, is still mired in legacy technologies. Current methodology, such as CLI, requires extensive hands-on provisioning and configuration by knowledgeable personnel. In modern cloud infrastructure, network managers must be able to centralize provisioning and configuration roles to improve reliability, minimize bring-up costs, and contain the expenses of creating a cloud data center service. Whether you are looking to maximize the efficiency and reliability of your existing operations, or you are looking to take advantage of a cloud-based infrastructure, fully automated provisioning is an essential capability, and Arista’s Zero Touch provisioning offers the first approach to automated network configuration.

Scaling-out Ethernet for the Data Center

February 14th, 2011

By Voltaire

The Data Center Bridging Group of the IEEE worked to enhance Ethernet to support class isolation, low latency, I/O and switch virtualization, lossless traffic flows, congestion control, multi-path L2 routing, and L2 discovery and capability exchange. These new technologies are referred to as Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) or Data Center Ethernet (DCE). Voltaire’s CEE switches and software offer performance requirements thanks to its scalable Ethernet fabric that lowers overall fabric costs, lowers power consumption, has greater efficiencies, and simplifies management.

This document describes the challenges inherent in traditional Ethernet solutions and how Voltaire’s scale-out Ethernet architecture effectively addresses those challenges.

IBM iDataplex and BLADE Network Technologies RackSwitch Fill Kings College London, Need for Speed

February 14th, 2011

By BLADE Network Technologies, an IBM Company

King’s College London medical researchers, who specialize in the field of genetics, strive to better understand the causes of a range of serious health issues, including skin disease, diabetes and cancer. Such research depends heavily on its new IBM iDataplex HPC system with IBM BNT RackSwitch G8124 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches for maximizing compute processing power to deliver data analysis in the fastest possible time. This white paper details the design and outcome of the Biomedical Research Centre’s (BRC) High Performance Computing (HPC) and storage solution.

Fall 2012 Open Industry Cloud Network Evaluation of 10/40Gbps Ethernet Fabric

February 14th, 2011

The Lippis Report is happy to announce the availability of the Fall 2012 round of industry data center switching performance, virtualization and power consumption test evaluating 10/40Gbps Ethernet fabrics. Lippis Enterprises has teamed with Ixia for the execution of this important cloud networking industry test. If your company produces 10GbE and/or 40GbE data center switches, then it is invited to participate free of charge.

Test week is scheduled First Week of September, October and November, 2012. Equipment suppliers have until end of day PT August 1, 2012 to signup for a test slot, but don’t wait until then, as test slots will be gone. There are only a few test spots available as we have received a number of commitments already. The test prospectus can be downloaded HERE detailing logistics, test methodology, schedule, test result promotion and FAQs. 

CLICK HERE to download the Test Prospectus.